How to increase the number of files allowed to be opened on Linux?

On my system:

$ ulimit -n
1024

Some tools like GATK are aggressive in creating temporary files by creating more than 1000 files under /tmp/. This will cause the program to fail.

How to increase the number of files allowed to be opened on Linux?

To increase the max number of open files to 10240, add these 2 lines to /etc/security/limits.conf:

*                hard   nofile           10240
*                soft   nofile           10240

The users may need to re-login to see the limits changed by:

ulimit -n

You can also set more limits:

#Each line describes a limit for a user in the form:
#
#<domain>        <type>  <item>  <value>
#
#Where:
#<domain> can be:
#        - an user name
#        - a group name, with @group syntax
#        - the wildcard *, for default entry
#        - the wildcard %, can be also used with %group syntax,
#                 for maxlogin limit
#
#<type> can have the two values:
#        - "soft" for enforcing the soft limits
#        - "hard" for enforcing hard limits
#
#<item> can be one of the following:
#        - core - limits the core file size (KB)
#        - data - max data size (KB)
#        - fsize - maximum filesize (KB)
#        - memlock - max locked-in-memory address space (KB)
#        - nofile - max number of open files
#        - rss - max resident set size (KB)
#        - stack - max stack size (KB)
#        - cpu - max CPU time (MIN)
#        - nproc - max number of processes
#        - as - address space limit (KB)
#        - maxlogins - max number of logins for this user
#        - maxsyslogins - max number of logins on the system
#        - priority - the priority to run user process with
#        - locks - max number of file locks the user can hold
#        - sigpending - max number of pending signals
#        - msgqueue - max memory used by POSIX message queues (bytes)
#        - nice - max nice priority allowed to raise to values: [-20, 19]
#        - rtprio - max realtime priority
Answered by Eric Z Ma.

Eric Z Ma

Eric is a father and systems guy. Eric is interested in building high-performance and scalable distributed systems and related technologies. The views or opinions expressed here are solely Eric's own and do not necessarily represent those of any third parties.

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