A ``runaway process'' is a process that
enters an infinite loop and spawns new processes.
This can cause an overflow in the proc table
that causes other processes to fail with the
No more processes: error message.
A runaway process
can cause an error that locks up the keyboard,
preventing anything that the user types from reaching the system.
Because of this, a runaway process cannot be stopped
from the invoking terminal.
To continue, you must identify and stop the runaway process:
The last command may leave temporary files that are usually
removed when a program terminates normally, or a non-echoing terminal.
``Restoring non-echoing terminals''
to restore the terminal to normal operation.
Log in as root
on a terminal (or console screen) that is not locked.
Enter the ps -ef command and press <Enter>.
The system displays full information on all the
current processes and their process identification
Find the PID of the runaway program.
You may see a program that is consuming
more CPU time than is reasonable,
or may find a large number of processes
with a common parent who are running the same program.
Enter the kill PID command.
The program should stop in a few seconds.
If the process does not stop, enter the
kill -9 PID command.
If the runaway process does not stop when you enter
kill with the -9 option,
the process is considered ``unkillable''.
If the unkillable process is a user's shell,
you must stop the process before that user can continue working.
To stop an unkillable process, you must reboot the system.
Use the following procedure:
The unkillable process no longer appears when you run ps.
Log in as root and send a message using
to the other system users notifying them
of the impending shutdown.
When all the users have logged out,
shut down the system by entering init 6.
The root prompt (#) is returned, but the shutdown process
begins soon afterward.
Reboot the system by pressing <Enter> at the
at command fails: cannot change mode of job
© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003