For some reason our open files ulimit (-n) is getting changes to 256 when it should be 1024. I tried searching for limit in /var/log/{system.log,secure.log} but didn't see anything useful. Any idea how to find out what changed the ulimit? Mac OS X (essentially FreeBSD Unix)


It's not logged if it was done via a program or install script. To my knowledge it is only logged if it was done by elevating permissions.

Some common ways to set ulimit are in:

  • /etc/sysctl.conf
  • /etc/launchd.conf
  • /etc/profile

These methods would not really create log entries though, and would only take effect on reboot (or re-log for /etc/profile)

  • I realized the problem was I didnt know ulimits were now managed by launchctl and was using the ulimit command instead of launchctl to change them which is not persistent or effective. – Gregg Leventhal Dec 30 '13 at 17:03
  • It's kind of a hierarchy. If sysctl is set to 500 then launchd can only go up to 500, and so on. – coteyr Dec 30 '13 at 23:36

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