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F16: swap usage grows very fast

asked 2012-02-29 08:09:21 -0500

rblopes gravatar image

Hi, everyone.

I upgraded my Fedora system last November, doing a fresh installation, like always. I also was bitten by that GRUB2 bug, not setting-up correctly the bootloader and consequently fixing the problem manually. But after that, I faced another huge issue within my system and I have no idea what it is and how to solve.

To put it simple, anything seems to creep the system performance and the swap memory usage grows very quick.

I use Fedora since the "Werewolf" edition and never noticed such issue. Prior to the upgrade, the system never used more than 10~20MB of space in many hours of usage. Now, such "feat" may be achieved in mere 5 minutes, and it gets worse. It may be using between 100MB through 300MB in less than one hour. And all that for just everyday "normal users" tasks, like web browsing, watching videos, creating documents and such.

I notice many little problems when that happens too. The graphics may hang for a while, and sometimes the windows look "scrambled", and the more swap it gets, the more slow and unresponsive the system is...

I don't know where to start looking to solve this problem, as I said. I'm not an expert, just a curious user, but may take any guidance you guys may offer to solve this problem, if any.

I'm using the Verne KDE Live Edition of the system, on an old Celeron 430 with a Intel on-board chipset.

Thanks in advance, and sorry my bad grammar...

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answered 2012-02-29 14:11:48 -0500

ryran gravatar image

updated 2012-03-02 04:09:55 -0500

Check out this answer to a question about swap. Use the tools I mentioned there to look at what is using the most RAM (RSS) and post back.


Since snapshots of those stats didn't prove anything, now you need to start trying to narrow things down. Start up the system and log in, but don't open any other applications. Don't use the system. Just leave something like watch -n20 'free -m' running in a terminal and check back every few minutes. Then try the experiment over again with just one application at a time.

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answered 2012-02-29 21:30:29 -0500

rblopes gravatar image

updated 2012-03-04 17:03:26 -0500

Ok. So, I don't believe that just analyzing the RSS usage may reveal much clues about what the problem is. I've been running top at a Konsole session and keep watching it from time to time, and I'm doing this for days now. I can say that no single application is resposible for the problem. I know that Chrome browser (the one I use) is very resource greedy, and at times it really may be using too much memory, but this problem happens with other applications too, even when I restart a fresh desktop session.

Well, here I have produced three outputs from 'ps' the way ryran suggested.

First, the one I had when restarted the system, at 1 minute, and top was indicating 0MB swap usage as expected.

 1366 rafael   73244 plasma-desktop
 1404 rafael   40484 krunner
 1427 rafael   39984 python
 1352 rafael   37796 kwin
 1865 rafael   35336 kwrite
  963 mysql    34660 mysqld
 1778 rafael   29360 konsole
 1284 rafael   28020 kded4
 1410 rafael   27120 kmix

Then, I launched the browser, and left three tabs open there. Also, I launched LibreOffice Writer and opened a document too. After doing some stuff, I had this, at 5 minutes and 115MB of swap.

 2187 rafael   108268 soffice.bin
 2052 rafael   98332 chrome
 1982 rafael   90896 chrome
 2044 rafael   62668 chrome
 2073 rafael   59072 chrome
 1366 rafael   49632 plasma-desktop
 2021 rafael   46064 chrome
  980 root     30924 X
 1427 rafael   27884 python

Then I closed Writer, and opened another tab on Chrome. This time, I launched the Eclipse IDE too (I'm a IT student and need those things, so...). That's the most annoying experience I have, since I need to use the IDE while searching references in the Internet. That's the last 'ps' output, with 214MB of swap in only 10 minutes of uptime.

 2252 rafael   156684 eclipse
 2052 rafael   103960 chrome
 1982 rafael   87096 chrome
 2073 rafael   78536 chrome
 2044 rafael   59456 chrome
 2230 rafael   45904 chrome
 2021 rafael   44488 chrome
 1366 rafael   41860 plasma-desktop
  980 root     31476 X

I know that this is too much, but I'm showing here just to illustrate how the system behaves. I hope it helps.

[Edit] Seems like the system may run for hours using little to no swap space at all. And using just one application at a time means the same. The problem happens when using two or more apps at the same time, and how these apps spend the system resources.

But even when using just a single application may trigger the issue, like when undoing some edits on Writer or going to another web site using the same browser tab.

I know that these little actions may require more memory, like going to a page that have too much stupid social widgets embedded stress the scripting engines on a web browser, and when that happens, the system responses (as expected) giving more resources to these ... (more)

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Asked: 2012-02-29 08:09:21 -0500

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Last updated: Mar 04 '12