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How much memory should SuSe Linux 9.0 with Ximian Desktop use?

Posted on 2004-08-18
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I have a notebook computer running Suse Linux and Ximian Desktop.  The computer does not run very fast and the mouse is "jerky".  I opened the System Monitor and it is using 246 of 250 MB of RAM and the CPU is running at about 28-32%.  This has me a bit concerned.  I always thought that Linux used considerably less RAM than Windows, but this is more than XP uses!  Can someone tell me what is going on?  I'm trying to learn how to use and troubleshoot Linux.  I'm obviously new to Linux, but not a helpless Linux neophyte.  Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:fhieber
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by:knollbert
ID: 11834687
Linux does use less memory than windows its applications may not.
I've never Ximian Desktop, but playing a DVD, and compiling a couple programs while in kde eats nearly 480 MB on RAM.
Try booting to text or exiting X completely then run free or top
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Mysidia earned 2000 total points
ID: 11835813
250 RAM? Shared memory?  256 I could see, but...

It depends on what you're doing with the computer.

It's not really bad or indicative of a problem or shortage for the system's stats tools to indicate it's
"using" a significant  amount of memory like 246 Mb of 250, even if you're running no applications.

What that indication means is the system's making good use of the memory for caching to speed
file access  (for example), rather than leaving the core memory idle (which would truly be a waste).
As applications need memory, memory it will go away from cache and to the applications that need it.

When apps don't use certain memory areas often, they can eventually be swapped out to disk at appropriate
times too to make even better use of main memory.

So memory used alone is not of much concern... it's the 30% CPU that is.. what tasks are you running?

Check your system load averages with the "uptime" command, are they high?

Run top and take note of the CPU states, i.e. find the line that says something like

CPU0 states: 14.4% user,  2.0% nice, 16.9% system,  0.5% interrupt, 66.2% idle

and see whether most of the CPU time is being used in user mode or in system mode, and what percentage
of the elapsed time is idle time...

How fast is that CPU?   Linux doesn't have heavy memory requirements alone, but with Ximian added on,
and perhaps the other apps you're running the system just might not have enough memory or horsepower
to run as smoothely as you want it too, with your current visual features / etc / for example
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by:fhieber
ID: 11836995
Holy $h1t!!  I ran the "top" command and it showed that the application Battstat was using 27% of my CPU.  A program that monitors the status of a Battery was killing my computer?!?  I removed it from the panel at the top of the screen and BOOM!  CPU usage drops to 3% from 30% and memory usage drops to 196MB from 240 MB, the mouse now works smoothly and all is well.  I think I may have found my first bug...thanks a bunch.  I've been trying to create a machine that is a viable replacement to Windows in my network.  Ximian Desktop is the closest that I've come, but until now I could not figure out why it was so CPU/memory intensive.  I'll have to look into that battstat application a little more.
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