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resource limits

Occasionally I've had an application lock up my system, apparently by
eating up all the virtual memory.  Just now I have a rogue MSWord
document that makes Abiword go haywire.

I thought to save the system by setting resource limits.  I tried the
bash builtin ulimit.  Calling it with the -v flag, to set virtual
memory, does the trick.  But paradoxically, when I using the -m flag,
which is supposed to set the resident set size, the application's rss
still grows without bound until it swamps the physical memory.

Is this a bash bug, or am I misunderstanding something?

More generally, what is the best way to prevent applications from
swamping the system like this?



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