All memory being consumed by only a few processes
This question may be hardware or software related (or both), I'm not sure. I recently built a new server, running 64 bit Slackware 13.0 with the following specs:
AMD Phenom II X2 550
Onboard video from AMD 785G chipset
2x 80GB IDE system drives using software RAID with 2GB swap partition
I only include these because I'm not convinced my problem is not hardware related at some level. Basically, when I first start up the system, the memory usage is anywhere from 60 to 200MB. Then it starts to gradually climb until there is only 12-15MB free. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
The only thing I really use this for is to serve Samba shares and the occasional SSH login. I've set up Samba shares to be accessed by my Windows machines as well as a Mac. Initially I just explored the network if I wanted to see the share from these machines, but that was too slow and unreliable (the server would not always show up in Windows), so now I automatically mount the share as a network drive at startup (from Windows). So I don't know if this would have anything to do with the steadily increasing memory usage. These systems are not on/connected all the time, but the memory usage seems to rise anyway.
When I run top, it reports that nearly all of the physical memory has been consumed (after a while of uptime), but none of the swap space has even been touched. This is a typical output of the first several lines, sorted by swap size:
After a while, maybe a few hours, maybe a few days, the server will crash, spewing a buch of module and register information to the console. As far as I can tell they've all been slightly different, I can't be sure because there's no way to capture it. But I did type out one of the errors by hand:
I'm out of ideas as to what's causing all this. Am I even looking in the right places? I was going to try installing another distro or maybe just reinstalling Slackware (this time without the RAID) to see if that cleared anything up, especially considering Windows will run without issue. My hardware isn't anything outrageous, but does anyone see any possible compatibility issues with Linux?
It is normal that all your ram is used even with few process after a while.
Perhpas you can add cpufrequtils on your pc to see if it is an overheating problem.
Or if you have many ram modules you can try to remove something.
Why have "extra" RAM, if it is not used ?
The ideal situation is that all RAM is used all the time.
Probably the only OS's that can't do it are all the ones
made by MSFT.
Just Google .. unix memory management ..
Example : http://www.dataexpedition.com/~sbnoble/Tips/memory.html
I have no clue about your crash.
Others already explained why it is perfectly normal and correct for almost all your memory to be "used".
I'll just explain one more detail:
The SWAP column of top is useless information that has almost no relationship to the amount of swap space used. Whoever named that column SWAP has caused massive confusion.
The SWAP column just gives the difference between virtual size and resident size.
In some of the earliest and crudest virtual memory OS's, the difference between virtual memory size and resident memory was the amount of swap space used. But those designs were obsolete before Linux was invented. People who still describe virtual memory that way are just confused.
Most of virtual memory is neither resident in physical ram nor in swap space. The difference (virtual minus resident) is a generally meaningless quantity.
Well, I had written a lengthy response to all your replies, thank you by the way, but the tab timed out when I tried to submit it and it didn't save what I'd written. Basically, I think it must have been a loose DIMM or something because memtest86 seems to run fine now but it did flag a few things a while back. I may consider replacing the DIMMs anyway, but definitely will if any more problems occur.
And in reply to AleLinuxBSD, I think the core temperature is not a problem. Under Windows it held steady at 36C during a torture test. I'm inclined to think the problem was the RAM all along.
And thanks for the info on Linux memory usage. It makes perfect sense, I'd just never thought of it like that.
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