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* Rob Kendrick:

> You can turn off this over-commit by uttering the correct rune
> into /proc somewhere, if memory serves.

vm.overcommit_memory = 2 is the magic incantation.

Some garbage collectors don't work as a result, though, because they
allocate the heap as one block at program start.  SBCL is pretty
obnoxious in this regard because it scales its heap so that you can
only start one or two instances in parallel, no matter how much
additional swap you add.

I tend to use it on most machines, though, because it makes OOM
failures somewhat more predictable.