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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
How much of RAM is free?
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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 5216
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 15:17    Post subject:  

gcmartin wrote:
We must understand that Puppy is a special kind of LInux. And, because of its expected RAM based environment, it would be prudent to have a tool (either available as a PET, or built-in to the system) that actively monitors and reports RAM usage.

This is NOT going to stop the opportunity to freeze the system thru an overzealous application's(s) operation which impacts storage quickly, but, it "could" in certain situations alert and maybe avert a RAM saturation which is eminent.

Puppy is RAM based, thus Puppy's tool need is a little different than other Linuxes which are NOT operating in a RAM-centric mode. Further there are times when Puppy user might be operating on PCs that do not have SWAP partitions/file, as well as those when SWAP is available.

That's why this thread is leading all who read this to think about whether RAM based Puppy would benefit from a tool which focuses on RAM.

Not just a graph, but, to address system stability, it must ALSO product alerts!

Since persons here understand the need, who among us, can produce such a tool. And how do we work together to contribute to its requirements.

There are several things at play in Puppy when its running as a RAM basis. We have:
  1. Puppy filesystem
  2. System resident programs
  3. staging/buffers/caches/spools/etc space requirements for normal system operations
  4. Space requirements for time-slicing active programs carrying out user needs.
We don't necessarily need a report on each of these, but, it should be able to sum up all these parts to alert as the Puppy system approaches saturation.

Saturation would mean something a little different when SWAP is available on a RAM-centric distro. So, the tool may also need to take into account the "total" elements, similar to something like what is reported in the Free Linux command.

Beware that there are those among us who might not see the need, for they process skills to avoid a system freeze. But, for newbies and novices whose Linux skills are lacking, a tool like this would help them and help those of us who are trying to help them when there are problems.

So, my question, how do we get a useful helpful tool? Can/should we collaborate on it?

Hope this helps.
This thread is very interesting and does highlight the lack of a useful visual tool to alert Puppy users to how little free RAM may be left - especially in situations where there are puppy sfs files (incl adrv, zdrv etc) and expanded tempfs files in RAM due to puppy's use of layering.

GCMartins reply still deserves attention I feel.

Beem mentioned using Pup-SysInfo (not Sysinfo) to find the information and I am surprised at what that shows:

Menus, System, Pup-SysInfo, devices, memory:

Code:
Memory Allocation:
 Total RAM: 1984 MB
 Used RAM: 1408 MB
 Free RAM: 576 MB
 Buffers: 85 MB
 Total Swap: 10604 MB
 Free Swap: 10604 MB


Looks as if I am much closer to running out of RAM than I realised. Luckily I have a large swap partition - but as Hoven pointed out in the thread - there are times where a user does not want a swap partition (or swapfile).

Does anyone know if a useful visual (coloured bargraph maybe??) exists to adequately display RAM fill in Puppy's specific environment?

EDIT : Jaspers other thread discussing this matter is also worth a read, particularly Beem's post here

EDIT 2 : Food for thought: what effect does it have on your reported RAM free figures if you load up the devx.sfs for your puppy? Should it consume exactly as much free RAM as the devx itself uses on disk? (eg approx 140MB for my Slacko 5.6 devx). I don't see the whole devx.sfs size reflected in reduction of free RAM.

Hmmmm....

EDIT 3 : see also http://blog.scoutapp.com/articles/2010/01/11/free-memory-on-linux-free-m-vs-proc-meminfo
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 11123
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr 2018, 21:57    Post subject:  

Quote:
Memory Allocation:
Total RAM: 1984 MB
Used RAM: 1408 MB
Free RAM: 576 MB
Buffers: 85 MB
Total Swap: 10604 MB
Free Swap: 10604 MB

First, your swap is not being used.

There is one piece of info missing from this report and that is the memory cache.
Not sure why it is not being shown, or did you forget to include it?
How are you running Puppy??????

Example:
Here is my memory report for a frugal install with a save file.
16GB of memory.
Code:
Memory Allocation:
 Total RAM: 15974 MB
 Used RAM: 5451 MB
 Free RAM: 10523 MB
 Buffers: 141 MB
 Cached: 4953 MB


The memory buffer and cache are set aside memory for that use, but they may not have anything in them, until something is done that uses them. They can self adjust as memory needs change.
That memory is released for other uses, as needed. Say to run a newly started program.

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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 5216
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr 2018, 02:11    Post subject:  

bigpup wrote:
There is one piece of info missing from this report and that is the memory cache.
Not sure why it is not being shown, or did you forget to include it?
How are you running Puppy??????.
Interesting observation. I run puppy without savefile. I have a personal sfs as my main sfs (top layer) and have changed my previous main puppy sfs to be the zdrv (bottom layer).

I wondered if the lack of caching was due to swap availability but no cache appeared after turning swap off:
Code:
Memory Allocation:
 Total RAM: 1984 MB
 Used RAM: 1097 MB
 Free RAM: 887 MB
 Buffers: 83 MB
 Total Swap: 0 MB
 Free Swap: 0 MB


Maybe my system load is too light at present.

My pup-sysinfo version is 2.3
Is that the same as yours?
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8Geee


Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 1696
Location: N.E. USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr 2018, 03:31    Post subject:  

Slacko5.7 updated security-wise to 2018 PSI version 2.4

Memory Allocation:
Total RAM: 2016 MB
Used RAM: 818 MB
Free RAM: 1198 MB
Buffers: 22 MB
Total Swap: 0 MB
Free Swap: 0 MB

Memory Stats (/proc/meminfo):
MemTotal: 2064456 kB
MemFree: 1228408 kB
Buffers: 23172 kB
Cached: 542932 kB <---- CACHE
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 273632 kB
Inactive: 534416 kB
Active(anon): 248880 kB
Inactive(anon): 174940 kB
Active(file): 24752 kB
Inactive(file): 359476 kB
Unevictable: 0 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
HighTotal: 1179272 kB
HighFree: 390508 kB
LowTotal: 885184 kB
LowFree: 837900 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 242048 kB
Mapped: 42732 kB
Shmem: 181876 kB
Slab: 18984 kB
SReclaimable: 10288 kB
SUnreclaim: 8696 kB
KernelStack: 760 kB
PageTables: 1128 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 1032228 kB
Committed_AS: 681896 kB
VmallocTotal: 122880 kB
VmallocUsed: 5332 kB
VmallocChunk: 115556 kB
DirectMap4k: 909304 kB
DirectMap4M: 0 kB

Basically a full report.

Regards
8Geee

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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 5216
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr 2018, 03:47    Post subject:  

Thanks 8geee. When I first saw the meminfo output i felt a tad overwhelmed. Smile
What are the chances of summarising all that info in one icon in order to alert the user that they are running low on RAM and their system is going to grind to a halt?

Somewhat daunting!

I am still confused about one thing - some websites that discuss Linux memory management say "don't worry if your free RAM is getting low - that just means that the Linux kernel is using RAM efficiently"

However - there must be a point where the memory management simply has too little resource left to manage - so how do we represent that with an icon or conky output?

How could a user know that it is time to add a swap partition or swap file - or to kill some running processes?

It would be nice to have some (possibly preprogrammable) red flags pop up as an alert.
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8Geee


Joined: 12 May 2008
Posts: 1696
Location: N.E. USA

PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr 2018, 03:15    Post subject:  

Running PSI --> Devices --> Memory is what we have. A stacked bagel mem-indicator would be nice in the tray (in my case the tooltip would show '818/2048 used'). I will opine that mem-usage can be temporary, such as using the (ahem) browser.

Note that my post included the browser being opened. At rest, htop indicates 0nly 46Mb of processes. Open that browser and it jumps to 250Mb. I presume, this takes a toll on the mem-usage.

Regards
8Geee

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Some people need to reimagine their thinking.
Je kunt een houten lucifer uitblazen,
maar je kunt geen bosbrand uitblazen!
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wiak

Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 951
Location: not Bulgaria

PostPosted: Fri 13 Apr 2018, 22:56    Post subject:  

greengeek wrote:

However - there must be a point where the memory management simply has too little resource left to manage


Absolutely correct! Your system will freeze if available memory runs out. Linux automatically frees up cache/buffers as and when required, so in that sense you don't have to worry about 'free' memory values. But... if there are no cache/buffers left to free up and some program wants more (e.g. the Browser!), your system will freeze and almost certainly need a hard reboot. I'm not sure why Linux system isn't killing off large memory consuming process at that stage, but in my experience the freeze just happens usually.

What would be clever would be to have a daemon automatically monitoring mem available value such that if it became too low an additional swap file would be automatically enabled... (/proc/meminfo/MemAvailable value maybe). I should try that sometime.

A greedy webbrowser page (such as an open gmail window) consumes well over 100 MB RAM currently as far as I recall, so something of that order should be set as the time to introduce new swap.

wiak
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