I'm running Ubuntu Server 20.04 fully up-to-date with a Raspberry Pi 4, 4GB of RAM (may be relevant or not, but system is running with an SSD through an USB3.0 port) as a low-power PC capable of running some Docker images. It runs xfce4 displaying a Magic Mirror, and it recollects some data through the GPIO ports (which takes only a few mA): power supply is an original 3A power adapter.

The problem I'm having is that today it lost the ethernet connection but the rpi itself kept on running just fine... until I plugged in a keyboard at which point it just kernel panicked or so. No logging at that point available to know what happened there.

When I checked out the journal, the following caught my attention: https://pastebin.com/0VNDSUyL

At the time, memory usage was about 90% according to the latest data available (I run Telegraf and log everything to an Influxdb instance running [both with Docker] on the same machine).

The process that was killed was Java, but I don't know which Docker image it was because the runtime isn't even installed on the host.

  • Is this an indicator that I am running low on RAM? What can I do to avoid this problem in the future?
  • Why did the OOM-killer kicked in while I still had about 10% of RAM left? Is this tweakable?
  • Why did it kill my ethernet connection? Did it left the system in an unstable condition?
  • Can it be something hardware related that is creating this issue?

I don't know where to look further atm, so any help here would be very much appreciated! If you need more details, just ask :)


I have no swap enabled on this system:

ubuntu@unifi:~ $ free -h
              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:          3.7Gi       2.7Gi       190Mi       203Mi       826Mi       886Mi
Swap:            0B          0B          0B
ubuntu@unifi:~ $ grep -i swap /etc/fstab 
ubuntu@unifi:~ $ 
  • 1
    Do you have a /swapfile on this computer? It looks like not. Memory is full and no place to swap. Boom. Edit your question and show me free -h and grep -i swap /etc/fstab.
    – heynnema
    Aug 24, 2020 at 0:15
  • Hi @heynnema thanks for answering! I have no swap configured so that might just be it :) Totally forgot about it!
    – unreal4u
    Aug 24, 2020 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


Let's create the missing /swapfile...

Note: Incorrect use of the dd command can cause data loss. Suggest copy/paste.

sudo swapoff -a           # turn off swap
sudo rm -i /swapfile      # remove old /swapfile

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=1M count=4096

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile  # set proper file protections
sudo mkswap /swapfile     # init /swapfile
sudo swapon /swapfile     # turn on swap
free -h                   # confirm 4G RAM and 4G swap

Confirm this line in /etc/fstab... and confirm no other “swap” lines...

/swapfile    none    swap    sw      0   0

reboot                    # reboot and verify operation

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