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Just Another Tech Blog

Anything and everything having to do with technology, computers, science, and most of all... Linux! The documentation of my Linux endeavor.

Living in Swap space

Friday, June 02, 2006

You know you need more RAM when you hardly get out of using Swap space. That is what is happening to me. I have 512MB of RAM in my system, of which 16 seem to be devoted to my onboard motherboard graphics (yeah, I have no idea what good that will do me), so about 496MB usable. Then, I also have 996MB of Swap space (yes, 996MB, the default setting when a SuSE install partitions my hard drive). Anyway, since I have installed a nice a system monitor through SuperKaramba (see post Aye Karamba), I can constantly see my RAM/ Swap usage. To tell you the truth, I was quite shocked. Without Firefox running, I am usually using 300MB of RAM, with about 5MB of SWAP. I start Firefox, and those values jump to about 409MB of main RAM and around 70MB of SWAP. This RAM usage by Firefox can seemingly not be stopped. Even after initiating the "config.trim_on_minimize" hack, firefox-bin (a side process of firefox) still eats up my RAM. If I open any more programs, I can easily get up to 200MB of Swap usage. To see what was eating up my RAM, I simply entered the top command at a terminal. It turns out, the main RAM users are (to name a few, in no particular order, since they all constantly change rank in most RAM-using): PicasaMediaDetector (I am evaluating Picasa currently), firefox-bin, SuperKaramba, X, and Knotes. So, most of my plight with lack of RAM is brought on by myself (ie. SuperKaramba, Knotes, etc). Still, I like running my regular programs, and I wish I had more RAM to run them on. Yet luckily, severe effects on performance have NOT been noted. So, until I get more memory or narrow down the list of programs I constantly use, I guess I will continue living in Swap space.
posted by linnerd40, Friday, June 02, 2006


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