Your Linux Data Center Experts

Earlier today I ran into an issue where a software package was failing with “too many open files”. I made several attempts at changing this using various settings in “/etc/security/limits.conf”, but they just weren't taking hold.

After some digging, I found a Debian and Ubuntu set of bugs such as “'nofile' limit set in limits.conf not applied”. However, those reports indicated that they could decrease the limit just not increase it. I couldn't change it up or down, despite verifying that PAM was configured to pull in the limits module for ssh, su, and cron.

I ended up doing a work-around, which was to start the process from a root shell after doing “ulimit -Sn 10240; ulimit -Hn 10240”, and calling the process as “su -c 'bash -c script' username”. This caused it to inherit the root shell limits. Since the end goal is to start up the process via an init script, this should work out fine.

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