Virtual memory issues in Jaunty

Marius Gedminas marius at
Mon Apr 27 12:47:55 UTC 2009

It seems that Compiz in Jaunty has a memory leak and fills up all my
system memory (2 GB RAM + 3 GB swap) in under five days.  What is more
surprising to me (and the reason I didn't realize I was running out of
memory), was that the kernel did not free the 1 GB of memory used by the
page cache.  Why?

After I killed Compiz (to free up 1.6 gigs of VM) and Firefox (to free
up another .6 gigs), the system became responsive again, but the swap
usage stayed at 99.9%.  (I understand that once swap is allocated to an
app, it stays allocated until the app exits, even if the data is paged
into RAM.)

I tried to force all the apps back into memory (better get it all out of
the way at once instead of suffer swapin delays when you need to switch
between apps), but swapoff -a failed:

  swapoff: /dev/sda5: Cannot allocate memory

I'm heading over to Launchpad to look for Compiz memory leak bugs.

Marius Gedminas
When I die I want to go peacefully
in my sleep like my ol' Grand
Dad...not screaming in terror like
his passengers.
		-- seen in a sig of Branden Robinson
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