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Old 12-04-2002, 10:28 PM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Gisborne, NZ
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Question Lazy-ass Swap Space

Hello. I've been having a problem with virtual memory. I have 16M of RAM and a 32M swap space mounted on /hda2. When I log on at startup most of the physical memory is in use (mostly inactive daemons and the like) and the swap space only gets used if RAM is full. Is this normal? If not, how do I change this. It's a little annoying when the active programs are forced to use virtual memory.

The swap fstab entry if that's helpful:
/dev/hda2 swap swap defaults 0 0

Any help would be appreciated.
Old 12-04-2002, 10:38 PM   #2
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Yes, absolutely it's normal. You should only be using SWAP if your RAM is truly being consumed elsewhere. There is a thread or 50 addressing RAM and it's use in linux, but here's a summary:

Linux uses your ram, it knows what to do, and it does it. If you start using swap, that's when you need to look into increasing either SWAP or memory.

You might wanna see what a search reveals on this:

That said... 16MB! Whoa, that's pretty cool. Slack3.5! That's even cooler!

Welcome to LQ btw

Old 12-04-2002, 10:39 PM   #3
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Yes it is normal, and I believe you expect RAM to fill up quickly. Unlike other chunk of unfinished software *NIX has earned a good and stable reputation in memory management area and not only there. System takes full advantage of available physical memory, which is buffered too for easy access of most recently used pages, and swap there for "rescue" if all the physical memory acquired the low speed I/O occurs on the system - pages swapping from RAM to HDD and otherwise - it takes time, but RAM is always ready to take load afterwords, and RAM is much faster than HDD, the system performance improves. But with the lack of sufficient amount of RAM you should expect HDD i/O overhead, which slows the system down - more pages are getting swapped in/out from/to RAM to/from HDD.


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