I understand that if a persistent / disk-based volume is full, files need to be explicitly deleted to free up space before more can be added.

Further, I understand that if memory is exhausted, the Linux kernel's OOM-killer will begin terminating processes in order to free up memory.

As tmpfs is an in-memory file-system, it occurred to me that there may or may not be some cross-over between regular volume behaviour and Linux's memory management.

Does the OOM-killer automatically start removing files based on some criteria (either by default or with configuration)?

Or is tmpfs in all respects just like other file-systems when it is full (and swap is full)?


I've read Out of Swap - What happens? but it doesn't even mention "tmpfs" which is what this question is about.


I've read What sets the size of tmpfs? What happens when its full? and this answers the question well enough that I think my question is practically a duplicate.

  • Thanks @Bichoy, but my question is specifically about tmpfs + OOM-killer. – jokeyrhyme May 26 '15 at 1:49
  • Good .. just checking :) I had a question about tmpfs earlier this week (what sets the size of tmps? what happens when its full?), and the answer I got is that it acts the same as any another application using the memory ... So out-of memory behavior should be similar, to the best of my understanding. – Bichoy May 26 '15 at 1:53
  • @Bichoy ah, okay. Your question actually does answer my question. OOM killer is not involved at all. unix.stackexchange.com/questions/205174/… – jokeyrhyme May 26 '15 at 1:56

No, the OOM-killer is not involved at all. There is no magic. tmpfs just behaves like any other file-system: What sets the size of tmpfs? What happens when its full?

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