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Re: SEUL: RAM and Swap Space

Greg Bell wrote:
> Any way when linux was being developed it was rare to find a 'user' with
> more then 8 megs of memory and a system was devised to swap pages into
> and out of memory onto a hard drive.
> With that out of the way here is my question, when is a swap disk not
> needed, or perhaps how much memory is required before the benifits of a
> swap disk are negated.  In it's native bootup linux can only recognize
> 64 megs of memory so is the break even point 64 megs or 32megs or what
> or is it at a much lower level, say 16 megs???

Well, IIRC, LINUX has the option of using either a file or a partition
swap space. Therefore, there is no real need to allocate swap space as a
separate partition. Further, I didn't think that LINUX had a limit on
amount of memory it could deal with, (I have a 150 MB swap partition on
box) but most Intel PC's have serious problems with more than 64 MB of
or so. (due to the design of the cache controller, I believe) Also, most
Intel motherboards can't address more that 64 MB or so.

As far as how much memory is enough, that depends entirely on what you
want to DO with the machine. I use my LINUX box mainly as a file server
and I don't get ANY swapping with 32 MB installed. I could probably get
away with as little as 8 MB without any degradation in performance. If,
however, you were doing something more demanding with you machine, you
would need a lot more memory or else you would see A LOT of swapping.

Depending on your application you could easily run through 64 MB and
be RAM hungry. Big compiles could do it. Minipulating large scanned
with GIMP could do it. Netscape could do it (but only because it's a RAM
hog and never releases what it allocates). If you ran one of the
languages (LISP, ML) you could easily require several hundred meg of
space to avoid kernel panics. X Windows is famous for it's high RAM

If LINUX can use a swap file in the normal file system instead of a
swap partition I think that would be a good solution. The user wouldn't
to worry about divying up the hard drive and it wouldn't be too
different an
experience to running Windows or MacOS. (both of which can use fixed
swap files allocated within the regular file system)

- Jeff Dutky
Simple End User Linux Mailing list
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