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Old 05-10-2004, 05:11 PM   #1
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Sweden
Distribution: Gentoo, Debian, CentOS
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15
Memory behviour - it just increases

When system is fired up and X is running, about 15% of my RAM memory is used. Launching a couple of applications extends the amount of used memory, but when closing the apps the amount of used memory remains. So, after a few days all 512 MBs is used according to top and/or wmmemmon. The system never slows down och starts swapping though.

A friend of mine told me linux works that way, and that the memory used by the closed apps is actually available - it just doesn't appear that way. Can anyone confirm this and perhaps tell be the profit of this behaviour?
Old 05-10-2004, 05:24 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Distribution: Debian 'sid'
Posts: 250

Rep: Reputation: 30
Linux uses unused memory to cache things so that they can be accessed quickly if they are needed again, and that cache can immediately be freed if some application needs more memory.

It is perfectly normal for the free memory reading to go to zero after a while, as all the unused memory is eventually filled with cached stuff.

Example: My current memory usage
tim@phobos:~$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          1009        799        210          0         51        475
-/+ buffers/cache:        271        737
Swap:         4439          0       4439
Absolutely speaking there is only 210 MiB truly free memory, but when the cached memory is disregarded, I have 737 MiB free memory.


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