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Linux TOP, how come totaling the RES column exceeds available physical memory/RAM?

Posted on 2011-03-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Technically, the RES column shown when using the TOP utility is supposed be the total amount of physical memory a process is using.  So how come when I add all the RES used by my processes it seems to exceeds the total amount of RAM installed on the system?

http://linux.die.net/man/1/top

 TOP output
q: RES -- Resident size (kb)
    The non-swapped physical memory a task has used.

    RES = CODE + DATA. 
r: CODE -- Code size (kb)
    The amount of physical memory devoted to executable code, also known as the 'text resident set' size or TRS. 
s: DATA -- Data+Stack size (kb)
    The amount of physical memory devoted to other than executable code, also known as the 'data resident set' size or DRS.

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Question by:Geoff Millikan
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by:BasementCat
BasementCat earned 800 total points
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Someone else may be able to clarify this more (as I'm not 100% sure) but it's possible that the RES column also includes memory shared between processes - shared libraries and such.  If that's the case then all of that shared memory could be counted  multiple times.
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silvanx earned 1200 total points
ID: 35025678
http://www.unix.com/unix-dummies-questions-answers/6386-res-column-top-command.html
seems that BasementCat is right - RES is counted by adding up code size, data size and all shared elements - shared memory fragments (and other synchronization mechanisms), shared libraries etc.
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