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Old 01-19-2006, 07:02 PM   #1
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Swap/Resource Use Questions

I just installed current debian and I am having problems with high resource usage and swap never being used. Here is my uname and pc details:
Linux pc-x 2.4.27-2-386 #1 Wed Aug 17 09:33:35 UTC 2005 i686 GNU/Linux
I have 2ghz processor (celeron) 512 mb ram
Its an hp pavillion pc 533w
Ok, I have had this problem with other distros Ive had as well. When I check in sysguard I have like 70 + processe and a high memory usage. Sometimes while Im browsing and doing a few things it will get up to 503 mb usage. While its like that Ive never seen any go to swap. Ive tried doing the swapon /dev/hda5 where my swap is located but it says Device is busy.
Ok is this normal? And is there any way I can configure what processes to run on startup? Ive looked everywhere but cannot find such a setting. Yes Im new to linux but can learn pretty fast.
I hope someone can tel me how to fix this, surely it wouldnt wait until all 512 mb of ram are used before it will push to swap. And I got so many processes I know I do not need and Id like to stop those from startup. On slackwae I only had around 50 processes so it never presented a problem
Old 01-19-2006, 07:27 PM   #2
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What do you get when you run 'free'?

Old 01-19-2006, 07:27 PM   #3
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Have a look at and see if that describes what's happening on your system. Since you don't need to use your swap, it sounds like it.
Old 01-19-2006, 07:31 PM   #4
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The behavior that you are asking about is completely normal. Here is a look at my /proc/meminfo file on my Internet browsing workstation.

$ cat /proc/meminfo
MemTotal: 1035776 kB
MemFree: 111596 kB
Buffers: 118448 kB
Cached: 516620 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 361316 kB
Inactive: 372740 kB
HighTotal: 131008 kB
HighFree: 252 kB
LowTotal: 904768 kB
LowFree: 111344 kB
SwapTotal: 2093032 kB
SwapFree: 2093032 kB
Dirty: 4 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
Mapped: 136260 kB
Slab: 181236 kB
Committed_AS: 167136 kB
PageTables: 1388 kB
VmallocTotal: 114680 kB
VmallocUsed: 4460 kB
VmallocChunk: 110128 kB
HugePages_Total: 0
HugePages_Free: 0
Hugepagesize: 4096 kB

You can see that I have 1 GB of RAM and about 89% of it is allocated. I have about 11% free.

MemTotal: 1035776 kB
MemFree: 111596 kB

You can probably get rid of some of those processes but you have to learn what each one does before you know if and how to turn it off.

$ ps -e | wc -l
$ ps -U turtle | wc -l

Here you can see that I have a total of 77 processes running. Of those 32 are being run by the turtle user account, my normal user Internet access user account. That leaves 77 - 32 = 45 system processes. Of the 45 system processes about a half dozen are things that I don't really need such as the S.M.A.R.T. disk drive monitor daemon. So I could probably get the computer down to about 40 system processes, but that wouldn't free up any memory. That's because the operating system will find something else to do with the RAM such as increasing the size of the disk cache or of the soft fault cache. I forget the real name of the soft fault cache at the moment.

Last edited by stress_junkie; 01-19-2006 at 07:44 PM.
Old 01-19-2006, 07:46 PM   #5
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thanks guys here is my free
jon@pc-x:~$ free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 507744 430140 77604 0 36884 229984
-/+ buffers/cache: 163272 344472
Swap: 489940 0 489940

Now how to I keep the stuff from running on startup? Is there a gui app I can get to configure that?
Oh and xfree is using like 146 mb ram at all times, is that normal as well?

Last edited by felosi; 01-19-2006 at 07:48 PM.


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