KDE-3.0.1 has horrific memory requirements just for the X server

Alan W. Irwin irwin at beluga.phys.uvic.ca
Tue Jun 18 20:33:29 BST 2002

KDE-3.0.1 has horrific memory requirements just for the X server, and
this makes it impossible to display its results reliably on an X-terminal.

On my ordinary desktop hardware, top shows that for a reasonably active
KDE-3.0.1 desktop, the memory consumed by XFree86 (the X server with version
4.1.0 on my ordinary system) is a ridiculous 40M (the SIZE column of top).
Such SIZE requirements for the X server are okay for my ordinary system
because I have plenty of memory there, but it is a problem on my X-terminal
system.  I have tried displaying KDE-3.0.1 on my X-terminal, but the XFree86
(version 4.2.0 in that case) SIZE there is similar to that of my ordinary
system.  However, that is just typical use and sometimes the SIZE gets so
large that the X-terminal runs out of its 64MB real memory and crashes.

In stark contrast, on a typically active KDE-2.2.2 desktop I just looked at
*with 7 instances of xterm, 4 instances of konqueror, and one mozilla open*,
the XFree86 SIZE is just 15M, a factor of 3 (!) lower.

My conclusion: I must stick with displaying KDE-2.2.2 on X terminals because
the X server memory consumption (critical for X-terminals) is just way too
large (typically 3 times larger, but sometimes 4 times which is enough to
run my X-terminal out of real memory) when attempting to display KDE-3.0.1.
Note, this is not a memory leak in the X server!  In both cases when I
logout from the KDE desktop displayed (either 2.2.2 or 3.0.1) on the
X-terminal and we are back at the xdm prompt, the X memory usage drops to 7M
or so.

X-terminals are a really hot topic right now with the City of Largo
experience with KDE-2 being displayed on literally hundreds of X-terminals
being an inspiration. An urgent question, therefore, is where are all the
X-terminal users who display KDE-2 comfortably on 32MB systems going to go
if they cannot use KDE-3 because of the huge X server memory requirements?

So it is really important that this XFree-4 memory consumption problem be
fixed for KDE-3.0.1 (or perhaps libqt which is version 3.0.4 on my system).
If anybody wants to follow up with me on this to get more system details or
try some SIZE tests with alternative configurations I will be happy to
oblige. I do really want to be able to display KDE-3.0.1 and its successors
rather than KDE-2.2.2 on my X-terminal!


email: irwin at beluga.phys.uvic.ca
phone: 250-727-2902	FAX: 250-721-7715
Dr. Alan W. Irwin
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3055,
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V8W 3P6

Linux-powered astrophysics

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