If I run a Python program with a memory leak, I would normally expect the program to eventually die with
MemoryError. But instead, what happens is that all the virtual memory is used until my disk runs out of space. I am running Mac OS X 10.8 on a retina MacBook Pro. My computer generally has between 10GB to 20GB free. Mac OS X is smart enough to not die completely when the disk runs out of space (rather, it gives me a dialog letting me force quit my GUI programs).
Is there a way to make Python just die when it runs out of real memory, or some reasonable amount of virtual memory? This is what happens on Linux, as far as I can tell. I guess Mac OS X is more generous than Linux with virtual memory (the fact that I have an SSD might be part of this; I don't know just how smart OS X is with this stuff). Maybe there's a way to tell the Mac OS X kernel to never use so much virtual memory that leaves less than, say, 5 GB free on the hard drive?