I wasn’t being technical when I implore people to mentally “reframe” the question / concern in their minds.
Old paradigms don’t always fit well into modern times. In the past it was all about squeezing down every last bit of RAM “usage” due to the smaller breathing room our systems had; lower hardware resources and capacities.
Now it’s different. As the performance-to-price ratio continues to rise, it’s a matter of using your hardware, RAM included.
“More sophisticated applications? More complex themes? Greater modularity? Caching data for near-instant access? Lessening the burden on non-volatile storage? Let’s use everything we’ve got!”
Otherwise, what’s the point in having 32GB of RAM on your personal computer, if it’s not even being used?
What’s the point of using a top-tier CPU with the highest benchmarks, if all you do is browse the web and check email, and constantly monitor your CPU temps to keep it as low as possible?
Look at games, web browsers, operating systems, and software in general. They require more disk space since they are larger in size than their predecessors. Hence, more to load up into RAM.
You’re sure this trend doesn’t have more to do with cheap/lazy development (not that I’m calling the XFCE devs lazy, but more big tech and the games industry) because there is an expectation for a fast SSD, fast and lots of empty RAM and a new generation fast CPU and to use those resources frivolously?
It’s all well and good if you have a new computer but my 8GB 1333Mhz DDR2 RAM is really starting to be come nowhere near suitable for running exactly the same stuff it ran 7 years ago.
If I play Dota 2 and open Firefox or Signal (or any other electron app) my system has to aggressively swap from ram and if I’m not careful my whole system can become quickly unusable.
Hello, no it’s not just you, thanks for posting I was wondering where to post then found this thread. I have been religiously running HTOP after every reboot for about a year now then keeping it open to monitor, my ram usage jumped exactly after the last stable update. No other changes. Previously it would always start fresh around 600MB (or I now gather it’s actually MiB,
it now starts at 1000+. This is my long-running messed with home XFCE system, I have a barely touched backup/road XFCE system that went from 500+ to 700+, again right after the last stable update.
I too am a beginner and will be studying this thread, from reading I understand that this may not be a ‘problem’ (I have 32MB of ram as well, 8MB on my backup) but just wanted to post because it definitely presented itself right after the last stable update (2021-09-24)
output from my barely tweaked XFCE road machine, I will add my long time home XFCE later after I reboot, thanks
After I read your post, I’ve checked what is going on my rig and looks like RAM usage is higher than it should be. I’ve switched kernels and on 5.14 the result is something around 632 and on 5.10 is 596 (I’ve trimmed my setup to something around 300-320 MiB).
Never paid attention to this, but for example, xfce4-power-manager have 3 outputs on 5.14 and 2 on 5.10 kernel in htop.
gnome-keyring-deamon have 4, xfce4-session have 3 and so on.
Thanks I’ll give 5.14 a shot later just to see what happens, as others mentioned the RAM usage itself might not be an issue in itself overall. I’ve stuck with LTS kernels only for some time now after some troubles I had way back. Can’t remember what, but I’m running 10-14 year old laptops… once the top models in their class, but now long in the tooth and bought cheap
I don’t have the knowledge to understand the repercussions of this off the top of my head, but thanks for the tip!
heh, I misread this and your earlier post, I thought 5.14 was lowest. As I have plenty of RAM and saw a few glitches with 5.14 mentioned in the stable update thread I think I’ll just leave everything as is for now. 5.10 LTS. thanks again!
Based on the comments here and my own experimentation, it is clear that tools like htop/task manager understand “ram usage” differently compared to free
After making this post, I downloaded the ISO and did a clean reinstall so that I can compare the differences before and after the latest update. Here is a summary of what I discovered:
After the reinstall, htop reported 680MB initial RAM usage before I ran a system update.
After running the system update, htop reported 1.1GB RAM usage.
The results of the free command were consistent both before and after the system update. free -h reported around 590MiB RAM usage for both cases.
I think the best way to resolve this is to find out what htop considers as “ram usage.” Since free returned the same result before and after the latest stable update, it’s likely that the new update doesn’t use more RAM, just that somehow htop is reporting that it is using more.
I think this is the best possible answer based on limited data available
To get a more specific answer would require a lot of testing
User would have to start with an old ISO running v5.10 kernel, as already suggested
system would have to be cold-booted about 10 times to get an average of values from inxi and free
(values for RAM used can vary even when no changes are made to system)
Then system can be updated and repeat tests to get new data values
And for a thorough job the kernel should be updated to v5.14 and repeat tests for the later kernel
But considering that none of the comments here mention the usual consequences of having additional processes loaded and more RAM used (increase in time taken to boot or less responsive desktop) this seems like a lot of effort for not much gain
@omano Yes, that appears to be the case. Before this, I assumed that the memory reported in htop is the same as the one in free. But I was clearly mistaken. I am still rather curious about the difference though, even though that knowledge might not have any practical value other than to save beginners some unnecessary confusion about RAM usage.
Different tools, different results, most of them not making sense (especially the KDE tools, my conclusion was that they are garbage, and opening tickets on KDE seems to be useless, based on my short experience where they ‘fixed’ another bug I reported regarding the hard drive space used, but it didn’t fix anything, and they got silenced when I tried to have this looked at again so I don’t bother I count on people more motivated than me to get things fixed).
free seems to be reliable, other tools are approximative.
Some interesting reading ahead, thanks, I’ll be looking into this… first I’d heard of ‘free’. As a beginner, speaking anecdotally, I started habitually loading HTOP immediately after any reboot for about a year now. I run humongous Firefox sessions and had to keep an eye on resources lest my system freeze up before properly saving a session. No longer much of a problem now that I’ve jumped from 8 to 16, now 32GB of ram.
Anyway, that htop “mem” figure was what I was keeping an eye on. Lets say at least 40 reboots over a year, whatever it actually means mem has always been around 600 at boot. After the last update, immediately after booting and loading htop, it went to 1000+. Just rebooted for the sake of science