Thin Clients freezing in Firefox

Jim Kronebusch jim at
Sat Sep 1 06:19:01 BST 2007

On Fri, 31 Aug 2007 23:24:43 -0500, Jim Kronebusch wrote
> The client has 128MB RAM which must be shared with video.  It looks like by 
> default the client is allocating 32MB to video (as seen when running free at a 
> shell on the client). It is only leaving 2MB free out of 128MB.  I assume this 
> explains the crashes.  I tried running xrestop but it appears to freeze almost 
> immediately when I hit the page in question, the last update says firefox is 
> using just over 2MB.  Is there any way I can put in a setting to force the 
> client to not use so much?  I can't find any place to change the settings in 
> the bios.
> I just added X_COLOR_DEPTH = 16 to lts.conf, we'll see if that helps.
> Thanks for your help.  Things are not looking good for the school year if I 
> can't get this solved.

Well the client is definitely running out of memory.  I swapped the 128MB stick for a
512MB stick, and now the first of the two sites loads fine pulling a whopping 78MB for
firefox according to xrestop.  The second still freezes, but after pulling 427MB for
firefox.  The websites I was trying are extremes posted by users who don't know how to
shrink a photo for the web, but made for great testing.  At least now I know why the
client is crashing.

I was reading some stuff on this website:
about limiting the Video RAM for X.  I am wondering if I can call on a custom xorg.conf
using parameters such as this:

Xorg forced size via the following configuration to force the size to 8MB:
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8623 [Apollo CLE266] integrated
CastleRock graphics"
        Driver          "via"
        BusID           "PCI:1:0:0"
        VideoRam        8192
------------------end xorg.conf------------------

However I am not sure if this will work.  They also mention stuff here and other places
about using X_VIDEORAM = 8192 in xorg.conf to accomplish the same thing.....should that
work?  I tried it with no luck.

Any other ideas besides ordering more RAM, I would have thought that 128MB was enough. 
I did increase the NBD Swap size to 132MB as Scott suggested, with no changes at all
from the default 32MB.  The correct size file is created in /tmp, but it does not appear
to be used by firefox...thoughts?

Any suggestions would be appreciated, at least I feel I know what the cause is now.


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