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linux command "free" says i'm broke! help?  RSS feed

 
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hi folks,
my computer's got 192MB (about 196000kB) of memory.
when i type
free
at the prompt, the shell tells me i'm using about
180000 of it. (!)
this is just straight from logging in, opening up
a shell, and typing free.
i've got mandrake 7.2 installed w/ KDE running.
can anyone tell me if something is drastically wrong
and if there's anything i can do about it?
thank you.
 
Sheriff
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What you are seeing is the process caching mechanism. When Linux finshes a process it has a choice: it could go though and "empty" the space used by the process which has just finished, or it could leave it in case a similar process starts again. It chooses the second option as it is less work, and thus quicker.
When you booted up your system, did it do a full fsck disk check? This is the usual reason for memory stats like this, as fsck uses as much memory as it can for performance.
You can usualy ignore this. I have yet to find a tool which will show me how much memory is really in use, but "top" which is available on most distributions will at least show you which processes are running, and how much memory they are using. If you reboot cleanly (using "init 0" or "reboot") so that no fsck is performed, you should see a lot less memory used, at least until you start running stuff...
 
John M. Gabriele
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thanks for the reply frank. you're really on top of this board.
whew. i won't sweat the memory usage thing. thanks for the "top"
tip. it looks like there's a bunch of processes running but the
big memory user seems to be X (41%). since 41% of 192MB is about
77MB, i'm guessing the usage situation is just as you suspect.
i don't know what mandrake does at startup---seems like it runs
a ton of different things.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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