Ubuntu Server installation with 128M ram hangs

Bug #1050595 reported by Paul Larson on 2012-09-13
18
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
lowmem (Ubuntu)
High
Unassigned
Quantal
High
Unassigned
ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu)
High
James Page
Quantal
High
James Page

Bug Description

Installing quantal 20120913 server image hangs at detecting disks and all other hardware with 128M. Our currently stated minimum system requirements include 128M ram for -server installs, so I'm using a KVM session with 128M to test this.

Bumping this to 256 will allow it to make it through the install, but still get's lots of OOMs throughout the installation process.

Related branches

Paul Larson (pwlars) wrote :
Paul Larson (pwlars) wrote :

Here's a log from an install with 256M that finished, but had lots of OOMs throughout. As another datapoint, with 512M I am able to complete the install without OOM.

tags: added: rls-q-incoming
Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2012-09-14
affects: debian-installer (Ubuntu) → lowmem (Ubuntu)
Paul Larson (pwlars) on 2012-09-17
tags: added: iso-testing qa-manual-testing
Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

Where did you find these minimum requirements stated?

Paul Larson (pwlars) wrote :

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements and from discussions with the release team about past requirements.

tags: added: quantal
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

The 256MB case is failing because no swap is configured, which isn't surprising; but I'll see what we can do about the 128MB case.

Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Colin Watson (cjwatson)
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → Triaged
tags: removed: rls-q-incoming
Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2012-09-26
Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu Quantal):
status: Triaged → In Progress
Robbie Williamson (robbiew) wrote :

Maybe the "fix" is upping the memory requirements. Are there any useful cases where a server has this little amount of RAM?

Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

Robbie, the reason I took this bug was that the increase in base memory requirements surprised me and I wanted to investigate it. I have no problem with the ultimate solution being to increase those requirements, but I would like to have the freedom to investigate it first.

Robbie Williamson (robbiew) wrote :

Colin, sure thing. I just wanted it known that we weren't necessarily tied to having the 128mb limit, if that became a huge issue for Foundations, specifically you...but if you want to take a look, more power to you ;).

Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2012-10-03
Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu Quantal):
milestone: none → ubuntu-12.10
James Page (james-page) on 2012-10-09
Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu Quantal):
importance: Undecided → High
assignee: nobody → James Page (james-page)
James Page (james-page) on 2012-10-10
Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu Quantal):
status: New → In Progress
James Page (james-page) wrote :

See attached branch for details of proposed documentation updates for this bug and the install size problem as well.

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

Having received and e-mail on both the docs and server lists about serverguide minimum memory requirements changes, I found this bug report.

I have a 200 Mhz computer with only 128 Mbytes of memory.
The computer was used throughout the 12.04 release cycle as a minimum requirements test case. Until today I have not been involved with any 12.10 testing.

Todays 12.10 i386 ISO was downloaded and put to CD-ROM.
Installation went fine, except the install-grub stage was incredibly slow. Now the server is running fine.

The only time this computer has run out of memory is with 11.10 when I tried to compile the kernel. It took 33 hours 4 minutes and 57.6 seconds before it gave up with an out of memory error.

Myself, I don't think the minimum memory requirements needed to be increased, at least for real hardware. I don't really care if they are, I'm just saying is all.

James Page (james-page) on 2012-10-16
Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu Quantal):
status: In Progress → Fix Committed
Steve Langasek (vorlon) wrote :

As this is an installer issue, since it didn't get done for release there doesn't seem to be any sense in keeping it open for quantal.

Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu Quantal):
milestone: ubuntu-12.10 → none
status: In Progress → Won't Fix
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) wrote :

I believe the 12.10 serverguide has been updated with this info:
https://help.ubuntu.com/12.10/serverguide/preparing-to-install.html

Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu Quantal):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Changed in ubuntu-docs (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Fix Released
Oibaf (oibaf) wrote :

bug 381059 may definitively help with this problem.

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

In post #10 above, I said I didn't care if the hardware requirements were changed. However, it turns out I do care.
The 32 bit 13.04 server edition installs and works fine on my pathetic old 200Mhz computer with 128 Megabytes of memory.
I don't know if the memory problems experienced in this bug report were because of a virtual machine installation or if it was a 64 bit installation or both. Someone on Ubuntu forums, had troubles with a virtual 64 bit install with 128 megabytes yesterday.
My suggestion is to figure it out and detail such in the documentation. I.E. I wonder if a 32 bit virtual installation would work with only 128 Megabytes of memory? (Maybe that is what the OP tried?)
I am willing to to the work, but I would have to learn how to build vitrual machines first.
I think the probability of finding a real 64 bit computer with only 128 or even 256 megabytes of memory is 0%.

The changes to the 12.10 serverguide also introduced a "Standard" and a "Minimal" Server but didn't define what they are.

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

"I.E. I wonder if a 32 bit virtual installation would work with only 128 Megabytes of memory? (Maybe that is what the OP tried?)"

It does not work.

Doug Smythies (dsmythies) wrote :

However, after allocating more memory for installation phase, the virtual machine works fine with 128 megabytes thereafter.

codeslinger (codeslinger) wrote :

for what it's worth...

yes, there are real-world cases where there is only 128 megs available.

Quite a few hosting companies that offer VPS packages, have low end virtual hosts with as little as 64 megs of memory, with 128 megs being a common entry point.

I know that OpenVZ is not exactly the same as a hardware install, but I've got a VPS that runs 12.04 in 64 megs. It's only used for backups, so it would be a waste of resources to give it any more memory.

there are lots of these hosting companies out there. doubleing the memory requirements would have a substantial effect on their profitability.

Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2014-12-18
Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu Quantal):
assignee: Colin Watson (cjwatson) → nobody
Changed in lowmem (Ubuntu):
assignee: Colin Watson (cjwatson) → nobody
milestone: ubuntu-12.10 → none
status: In Progress → Triaged
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