admin question: howto-unresponsive server under extreme load

Jeff Schroeder jeff at
Mon Dec 11 15:39:21 MST 2006

Nicholas asked:

> Is there some way to lock a root shell such that it is always
> responsive so that we could at least kill the webserver and have a
> chance of the log files being fully written to find the problem?

I don't know for sure, but perhaps you could "nice" the process running 
the shell?

# nice -n -20 bash

A nice-value of -20 is the absolute highest priority (+19 is lowest).  I 
have no idea if this will cause problems with other things on the 
system; perhaps a value of -10 or something would be more appropriate.  
By default, processes are launched with a nice-value of zero.

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