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Unable to commit 150MB text design file (out of memory)

From: Bulgrien, Kevin
Subject: Unable to commit 150MB text design file (out of memory)
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2008 14:35:11 -0600

I apologize in advance if this is a redux of something already discussed on
list.  After looking around, I see there is a 2GB limit imposed on 32-bit
OS's with respect to the amount of memory that can be allocated by a single

Using a 1.11 cvs client under MSYS to a 1.11.19 server on Mandriva Corporate
Server 4.0, I am getting the following errors when trying to commit a ~150M
text, design file (-ko) to CVS, or when I try cvs update on a directory that
has this file in it.  I `cvs add`ed the file already.

  cvs [remove aborted]: out of memory
  cvs [commit aborted]: out of memory
  cvs [update aborted]: out of memory

The (admittedly wimpy) dual processor (Pentium II 400MHz) server has 1GB of
RAM and 1GB of swap configured. top shows that the whole RAM is in use (as
is typical for Linux), but the entire swap is free.  Nevertheless, I did
try boosting swap to 3GB with no improvement.

The problem first occurred in a repository that was about 1.4GB in size, so
I tried the operations on a totally new repository with nothing in it but
this file.  The failure persists.

/tmp and /var/tmp both have 2GB free space.

Having googled around, it seems that a 150MB file should not be a problem
unless the ,v file grows too large over time.  What bothers me though is
the reference to 10x file size memory needs for diff operations.  150Mb
file size equates roughly to 1.5GB memory requirement (which is less than
2GB).  Is it possible that this is a real memory requirement and that
virtual memory does not qualify?

Thoughts?  I'm in process of setting up a system with more RAM, but thought
I'd float the question in the mean time.

On a side note, and considering the possibility of being up against a hard
limit, I am open to suggestions on a better (yet simple) configuration
management process for a large file like this, though the file diffs well
so CVS "compresses" multiple versions well (a smaller design of about ~50MB
has been working to some extent though accessing old versions is really slow
on this platform).  It is not literal source code, but it is a design file
and it is text.  Do other CVS users find themselves in a similar situation?
Any quick (even if slightly OT) pointers?

Kevin R. Bulgrien
Design and Development Engineer

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