[GRLUG] memory leak?

Nathan Phillip Brink binki at gentoo.org
Thu Nov 19 10:14:38 EST 2015

On Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 09:57:44PM -0500, Eric Beversluis wrote:
> I recently am experiencing my Fedora 22 installation slowing 
> considerably as it remains up for several days. I've got 4GB of RAM. It 
> will start with using maybe 1.5 or GB but eventually will be up around 
> 2.5GB with 216MB or so in Swap.
> The curious thing is that as I close programs, the swap doesn't seem to 
> go down and it's not clear whether the computer runs any faster. I see 
> most of the slowness in Thunderbird, I think. Is this what we used to 
> call 'memory leak' and accuse Windows of?
> I recently swapped my HDD for a Solid State Drive. I would have expected 
> this to give me more speed, but the slowing down seems to have happened 
> after that swap.
> Closing apps has this result:
> RAM            Swap
> 2.5 GB        217MB
> Close Firefox
> 2.3             217
> Close Thunderbird
> 1.8             217
> Close Document Reader
> 1.7             217
> Close Calc
> 1.5            217
> Open Thunderbird
> 1.7            217

Have you tried listing programs by memory usage? I don’t know if this
is the best way, but if I run top and then type “M” (capital M), it
will sort the running processes by resident memory usage. Other
process/task manager utilities should be able to display what program
or group of programs is hogging memory. Knowing what processes are at
the top of this list and their memory usage stats would likely be a
first step in debugging this.

Having swap usage stay the same after programs is not necessarily a
bad thing, as I understand it. It means that some programs have
allocated and dirtied chunks of memory so that when there was memory
pressure, they had to be saved to swap instead of just purged
outright. But those programs have not tried accessing the area of
their memory space which has been swapped out. Thus, there has been no
reason to pull them from swap. If those programs suddenly started
running and using that part of their memory space, the swap will be
loaded back into RAM. But if those programs never activate the part of
their code which would need that area of their memory space, then that
data will never need to be loaded from swap, effectively giving you
back the memory that those programs thought they needed but never
actually used.


Look out for missing or extraneous apostrophes!
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