Monday, August 22, 2022

[fedora-arm] Heads-up / for discussion: dnf not working with 1G of RAM or less

Hey folks! I apologize for the wide distribution, but this seemed like
a bug it'd be appropriate to get a wide range of input on.

There's a bug that was proposed as an F37 Beta blocker:

it's quite an old bug, but up until recently, the summary was
apparently accurate - dnf would run out of memory with 512M of RAM, but
was OK with 1G. However, as of quite recently, on F36 at least (not
sure if anyone's explicitly tested F37), dnf operations are commonly
failing on VMs/containers with 1G of RAM due to running out of RAM and
getting OOM-killed.

There's some discussion in the bug about what might be causing this and
potential ways to resolve it, and please do dig into/contribute to that
if you can, but the other question here I guess is: how much do we care
about this? How bad is it that you can't reliably run dnf operations on
top of a minimal Fedora environment with 1G of RAM?

This obviously has some overlap with our stated hardware requirements,
so here they are for the record:

that specifies 2GB as the minimum memory for "the default
installation", by which I think it's referring to a default Workstation
install, though this should be clarified. But then there's a "Low
memory installations" boxout, which suggests that "users with less than
768MB of system memory may have better results performing a minimal
install and adding to it afterward", which kinda is recommending that
people do exactly the thing that doesn't work (do a minimal install
then use dnf on it), and implying it'll work.

After some consideration I don't think it makes sense to take this bug
as an F37 blocker, since it already affects F36, and that's what I'll
be suggesting at the next blocker review meeting. However, it does seem
a perfect candidate for prioritized bug status, and I've nominated it
for that.

I guess if folks can chime in with thoughts here and/or in the bug
report, maybe a consensus will emerge on just how big of an issue this
is (and how likely it is to get fixed). There will presumably be a
FESCo ticket related to prioritized bug status too.

Thanks folks!
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA
IRC: adamw | Twitter: adamw_ha

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