Memory leaks?

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at
Sun Mar 30 03:34:43 BST 2003

Michael D Green wrote:
> On Friday, 28 Mar 2003 21:38:15, James Richard Tyrer <tyrerj at acm.orgwrote:
>>Michael D Green wrote:
>>>KDE System Guard shows that over a period of an hour or so (perhaps much
>>>less) after startup the physical memory usage increases to very near the
>>>maximum available (384 MB) and swap memory starts to be used. With time
>>>the amount of swap memory being used increases, but never seems to
>>>decrease. And the physical memory stays near saturation. It will decrease
>>>a little when I shut down an application. But there seems to be some
>>>overall rachetting, which makes me think there is a memory leak
>>>What I would like to be able to do is free up the memory that is not
>>>being used (physical and swap). I suspect there is a way to do this that
>>>is easier than rebooting the machine. Perhaps there is even an
>>>application which can do it for me.
>>Don't you have KDE System Guard set up to show: Application, Buffered, and
>>Cache in different colors?  If so, you can see what is happening: the
>>amount of memory used for Cache is what keeps increasing.  If you had a
>>memory leak then the amount of Application memory would increase.
> Thanks! And thanks to all of the others who have also given helpful responses! 
> (I get the digest version, so am using this to respond to all on this 
> thread.)
> I do have KDE System Guard set up to show: Application, Buffered, and Cache in 
> different colors. And I see that it is cache that is what keeps increasing.
> Am I to understand, then, that for cache to keep increasing causes no 
> problems? 

Yes, the system will keep caching in physical memory till it fills it up to a certain percentage 
(which I don't know right off) and then start using swap for cache.  Only when it is filled up 
to a certain limit will it start discarding something.

> As you can see, I don't know enough about how things work to understand the 
> difference between application, buffered, and cache memory any more than the 
> very qualitative understanding that the three words themselves convey.

Application is the memory actually used by applications.  Buffered is the memory used for I/O 
buffers.  Cache is the system cache where the system keeps things that were previously used 
rather than just discarding them.

> My concern now is simply one of does increasing cache memory consumption drag 
> down performance and, if so, can I do anything about it?

No, you don't want to do anything about this.  It will not degrade performance, it will enhance 
performance -- that is why it does it.


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