I was investigating today an issue with a Joomla installation, were everyone (including the customer) though that this was related to the well known “white screen of death“. After a small investigation I noticed that each time when that page was accessed the global error log file of Apache (error_log) was reporting this:
[Sun Oct 31 08:43:40 2010] [notice] child pid 5984 exit signal File size limit exceeded (25)
[Sun Oct 31 08:43:40 2010] [notice] child pid 5985 exit signal File size limit exceeded (25)
[Sun Oct 31 08:43:44 2010] [notice] child pid 5998 exit signal File size limit exceeded (25)
Apache (<2.1) is not being able to server files higher then 2G and this has been fixed in versions of apache 2.1 and apache 2.2, both handle files using 64-bit file offsets. This could also be caused by anyone using an EXT2 file system, as it doesn’t support files over 2G in size.
Solution: clear all log files that reached the maximum value of 2G and restart the web server (in this case it was the error_log file):
# cp error_log error_log.old
# cat /dev/null > error_log