[Novalug] running out of memory

Bob Copeland bcopeland@gmail.com
Tue Aug 23 11:00:05 EDT 2011


On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 1:17 PM, Walt Smith <waltechmail@yahoo.com> wrote:
> There are times when my imagination believes the box did some overnite
> database update ( perhaps for "locate" ), used up the ram,
> and by morning hasn't released the memory pool yet.
> But thats my imagination since closing Firefox is the ONLY way to
> a responsive system.

This is a real phenomenon -- all of the metadata crawled by the
filesystem gets cached in the pagecache, creating memory pressure
which can cause the OS to swap other memory out to disk (say,
anonymous pages used by Firefox).  See for example:

http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0707.3/1166.html

> There was recent;y a news report that a FF team is going to
> specialize in reducing memory leakage.  I'll believe it AFTER
> I see it.   Not the marketing, not the hype, but blogs saying
> it's really working better.

In Firefox 7+ there is about:memory, and mozilla are filing
bugs with developers of plugins that have memory leaks, so I am
hopeful that the picture is getting better.

As for X using up lots of memory, I'm not sure if it's still true
but in the old days all pixmaps (i.e. any graphics that you see)
belong to the X server, and any video memory would show up in its
virtual memory map.  So it would often show much more memory in use
than you would expect.

On my machine at least - F15 with Gnome 3 Shell, i915 using KMS,
Xorg has 135 megs mapped, and only 9 megs resident, which is
quite good.

-- 
Bob Copeland %% www.bobcopeland.com



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