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Linux Ubuntu thrashing at just 300MB/512MB RAM usage - Page 2

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've decided to take on XFCE/Xubuntu (Openbox sounds interesting but I haven't much time for configuration) and it seems to have solved my problem so far. The UI is interesting and similar enough to my old one to not cause a problem for me and I can finally browse with more tabs open in Firefox v7.0
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post #12 of 20
I've become really disillusioned with Ubuntu and its remixes of late. Must have been through two dozen distros in the last month trying out lightweight ones, heavyweight ones... liked Arch (I've found myself becoming a serious fan of pacman) buts takes a lot of work (relatively) to get it to a usable desktop state.

Tried "CrunchBang" and quite liked it, then found an Arch-based equivalent imaginatively enough called "ArchBang" which does most of the hard work for you. Only issue with it that I found was that for some reason, updating it requires removal of aufs2 and forcing the update, then fixing X on the reboot, because for some reason it breaks. I probably didn't fix it the elegant way (reinstalling/updating) but it's all good now.

Am loving Openbox/Conky myself.
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post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Looks like it was Compiz eating up all my RAM. Got same problem with XFCE and Compiz enabled. Turned it off and all is well.
I'm going to dislike not having Compiz features (I used it more for features than look and enabled features minimally) at my disposal, but I guess it's a necessary sacrifice until I get a new laptop next year with a low power APU.

Thanks everyone.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Nope, it is definitely not Compiz or XFCE.
Using XFCE with Compiz off is definitely freeing up some RAM for firefox or other apps to use, but I still get thrashing whenever the RAM usage hits around 300-320MB.
When I get home I'll tweak my kernel compile to see if it helps.
Edited by xd_1771 - 7/26/11 at 12:13pm
post #15 of 20
Ubuntu/Xubuntu has a lot of stuff running underneath, and this might be the source of your frustration. For example, the preload daemon (which I believe is used in ubuntu, maybe not) preloads data into RAM used by applications at boot, thus possibly filling your RAM even before you log in. It's supposed to make your applications start faster, but if you don't have the RAM to spare, it just fills it up.

There is a lot more than just preload that runs underneath the system. You should see if you can cut out some of the things that you don't need. A lot of daemons run as root, and you might not see those on your task manager unless you run it as root, or check off the option to see root processes.

Perhaps something like Ubuntu isn't light enough, and moving on to a barebones distro like Arch or ArchBang might be worth looking into.
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post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure preloading clears those apps from memory when it is needed, rather than hogging up and memory leaking. I do not have many applications started up at boot though. I will see what happens when disabling it.
post #17 of 20
The specs on the machine are low enough that you really benefit from manually setting up everything from a minimal install, rather than using a distribution that tries to automate things. Seeking 'out-of-the-box' experience Ubuntu will make decisions for you and they won't always be doing what's best for performance, when you really need it. It also makes pinning down the location of problems very easy if you know everything about the system already, rather than it being some companies selected defaults.

All I can really suggest is that you poke around a lot when it happens. Read logs, look at the current running processes, etc... It definitely sounds like a bug rather than being an issue of your computer just not being powerful, however I and many others hear will probably also recommend you try out a distribution that handles older speced machines a little better. It will make not only performance better, but solving issues like this will be much easier.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Back from the dead!
Things have improved on my laptop. XFCE is the standard UI and Firefox 8.0a1 has vastly improved RAM usage. However, I still get the thrashing issue when my RAM usage hits 300-312MB.
At this point I am pretty sure it is NOT the UI. I will attempt to recompile the kernel later today, but for now I might ask if anyone may have some different potential explanations for this. Since my experience on this laptop is just fine even with this 312MB limit (Thanks to Firefox RAM use optimizations), I won't bother trying to find a solution for it now and making regular observations that may disrupt my regular usage. As I plan to get another 5400RPM IDE HDD soon for my laptop from FreeGeek or elsewhere, I will be reinstalling the OS soon - I hope that addresses the problem.
post #19 of 20
How about using something lighter than Ubuntu.

Try XFCE or LXDE
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post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I actually do use XFCE. I doubt it is the UI, but I am looking for a new HDD and will reinstall soon.
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