Cinnamon memory issues

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Cinnamon memory issues

Postby Crispy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:38 am

Hi all,

I am running Linux mint 14 (Nadia), with a Cinnamon desktop. However, I have noticed that the longer I leave my machine on the more memory cinnamon seems to use. I don't turn my desktop off over night so in general it is left on for several weeks or months before I do a restart. I am pretty sure this isn't supposed to happen but I have no idea where to start in finding a possible cause and so I was wondering if anyone else has experienced the same issue or had any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
Chris
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Postby nelz » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:46 am

It is supposed to happen. Linux uses free memory for caches, both data and filesystem, so the longer you leave it on, the more memory is in use. If the memory is needed by an application, the caches are released. Free memory is wasted memory, if its there is should be used and this is a way of improving the performance of your machine without taking resources from anything else that needs them. You can see how much memory is actually in use and ho much s used by caches by running free in a terminal.
Code: Select all
free -h
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Postby Crispy » Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:39 pm

Thanks for your reply Nelz.

Sorry, I don't think I explained it very well in my first post. By cinnamon I meant the cinnamon process shown in top. A few weeks ago (the last time I did a restart) top said that the cinnamon process was using about 70% of my memory (I have 8Gb in total) and steadily increased over a few days which prompted me to do an update and restart. The percentage memory usage dropped down to about 3%!

Incidentally running free -h now shows that I have 3.2Gb of cached memory which is about 40% of my memory yet the cinnamon process in top says it is using 5% (so has increased since I last restarted). So the amount of cached memory doesn't seem to be contained in the amount of memory used by the cinnamon process which is why I felt that there was something wrong.

Sorry I didn't explain that very well in my first post.

Thanks,
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Postby ajgreeny » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:15 pm

Code: Select all
user@Xubuntu:~$ free
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          7683       7498        185          0         69       6472
-/+ buffers/cache:        955       6728
Swap:         8198          0       8198

The important figure is the +/- buffers/cache, which in my case after a long uptime is showing 955MB in use but 6728MB full of cached data.

Why have 8GB ram and leave it empty when it can be full of cached data; it's a complete waste!
Xubuntu 12.04 user, and loving it!
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Postby Rhakios » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:41 pm

Well yes, I've noticed the same thing, after running Cinnamon for a few days I noticed it was using 4.5% of my RAM, if I log out and log in again, it only shows as using 2.3%.
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Postby Crispy » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:57 pm

ajgreeny: thanks for your reply, as I said earlier I don't think I explained it very well at first. I don't believe that it is related to cached memory as it's the cinnamon process (shown in top or ps -A) that uses more memory the longer it is running. Also I don't believe the percentage memory usage of the cinnamon process is related to the amount of cached memory as currently the amount of cached memory on my machine is 960Mb and the -/+ buffers/cache is showing 1.4Gb being used. Yet the cinnamon process is using 2% of my memory (I did a restart today) which is approximately 160Mb. I would also find it strange if cinnamon was the one controlling the cached memory rather than the kernel although I'm not certain about this.

Rhakios: thanks for your reply as well, the behaviour you are seeing is exactly the same as what I see. Have you had any success in discovering the reason? I've had a google around and not found anything remotely helpful.

Thanks,
Chris
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Postby Rhakios » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:52 pm

Crispy wrote:Rhakios: thanks for your reply as well, the behaviour you are seeing is exactly the same as what I see. Have you had any success in discovering the reason? I've had a google around and not found anything remotely helpful.

Thanks,
Chris


Not a clue. It could be a memory leak, I recall X doing this some years ago, it was fixed eventually, until then one just had to log out then in again for a while. People who shut down their computers every night probably wouldn't even notice the problem.
Perhaps the problem will disappear with Cinnamon 2, out now and due to be stable for Mint 16.
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:58 pm

Hmm, memory usage still increases with Cinnamon 2.0. Actually, what I notice is that Cinnamon's memory usage is greater on two systems with Nvidia cards (and drivers installed), but noticeably less on a system with an AMD card using the open drivers (which are recommended anyway).
Screen size isn't the whole story either as one of the desktops has a screen with the same resolution as the laptop that has the AMD card.
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Postby nelz » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:41 pm

Are you using the Nvidia or Nouveau drivers?
Does it make a difference if you switch?
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Postby Rhakios » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:59 pm

Nvidia drivers. I haven't really run with the Nouveau drivers for long enough to notice if that's where the difference lies. OTOH, from previous experience with XFCE and the Nvidia drivers I don't see a problem. So that leads me to think it is some combination of Cinnamon and the Nvidia drivers at least.
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