question about memory usage in linux

Corey Edwards tensai at
Tue Nov 22 10:11:03 MST 2005

On Tue, 2005-11-22 at 09:34 -0700, Gregory Hill wrote:
> I ran that script you sent and didn't notice anything out of the
> ordinary.  That site had a link to a rootkit detector as well, which
> didn't find anything.  Here's the requested output:

That's good. Trust me, you don't ever want to have a rootkit.

> Free output:
>              total       used       free     shared    buffers
> cached
> Mem:       1030956     979820      51136          0      97108
> 685876
> -/+ buffers/cache:     196836     834120
> Swap:      1052248      22664    1029584

This looks quite normal. You have 1 gig of RAM. 196836 bytes of it s
being used by processes. Another 782984 bytes of it is being used for
buffers and cache. That's the aggressive caching I referred to. So while
it looks like only 51MB is free, the kernel can easily allocate any of
that cache memory, so you really have 834120 bytes free.

Also, take note of the amount of used swap. That's another place where
Linux takes preemptive action. I doubt that you're using any of that
22664 bytes of swap but it's been allocated just in case you need to.

> Ps auxww output:

I added up all the non-duplicate processes and came up with 133976 bytes
in use. That's pretty close to what free says, 196836. There's a bit of
variation because some process memory is shared and some isn't.


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