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#1 2021-10-31 21:33:23

slot
Member
Registered: 2008-09-08
Posts: 65

Back to the Future - what happened to Linux

When I started with Linux my windows computers would regularly freeze when I used all the RAM.
This did not happen on Linux - No matter how many programs I started and with RAM maxed out, the basic functions still worked, the commands in terminals and shifting between programs.
Now I find it has reversed - my linux crawls to a halt when RAM is maxed out, swapping between programs takes ages and command line in terminal slows to a halt, while I have a strong suspicion that now Windows is able to pass this test.
What happened - is it only me registering this ??
Is it a general issue or specific to my setup?
Are there any settings that can help me go forward to the past?
(I post it here since I suspect that it is not only me?)

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#2 2021-10-31 21:43:58

icar
Member
From: Catalunya
Registered: 2020-07-31
Posts: 244

Re: Back to the Future - what happened to Linux

Check out https://github.com/hakavlad/le9-patch . Also, take a look at OOM daemons for freeing up RAM when needed.

Last edited by icar (2021-10-31 21:59:05)

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#3 2021-10-31 22:36:09

Trilby
Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 25,913
Website

Re: Back to the Future - what happened to Linux

slot wrote:

Is it a general issue or specific to my setup?

How could we possibly address that when you've told us absolutely nothing about your setup?

slot wrote:

Are there any settings that can help me go forward to the past?

I'm pretty sure there are, yes.  But again, without knowing anything about what software you are running, nothing specific can really be said other than general guidelines about adjusting OOM settings which you should be perfectly able to google.

How long of a span of time are you talking about this change?  Certainly at some scales, there has been a trend (which I personally find frustrating) to make linux more like windows - slower responsiveness and vacuous error messages (e.g., "Oh No! Something Has Gone Wrong!") are signs of 'success' in that regard.  But many of these 'successes' are not general to linux itself, but to certain DEs or popular software projects that many be commonly used in linux systems.


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#4 2021-11-01 01:05:26

Morn
Member
Registered: 2012-09-02
Posts: 798

Re: Back to the Future - what happened to Linux

Swap hell on Linux has existed back the 90s too, I don't think anything has changed. Trying to get that statically-linked StarOffice binary to load took minutes with the hard disk grinding like crazy because the program did not quite fit in physical RAM. But at least you could run it thanks to swap space. But nobody really wanted swap back then either, it was simply a necessity.

But today nobody is forced to use swap anymore because the kernel no longer expects it to be there by default and RAM is much bigger in relation to program and data size. So just disable it, it's fine...

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#5 2021-11-01 07:21:29

seth
Member
Registered: 2012-09-03
Posts: 25,134

Re: Back to the Future - what happened to Linux

1. Maxed out with what? The kernels ability to deal w/ OOM greatly depnds on whether it's all (inactive) file caches that just be dropped or anon pages that must be swapped or active file caches that lead to thrashing
2. What happened to your userspace. There're enough dumb clients (predominantly browsers) and some window manager that perform sync disk I/O on focus changes… also possibly some file indexer constantly runs in the background
3.

my linux crawls to a halt when RAM is maxed out, swapping between programs takes ages and command line in terminal slows to a halt, while I have a strong suspicion that now Windows is able to pass this test.

So we're measuring perception against the faded memories of our youth and the assumption that the grass will be greener on the other side…
4. OOM is OOM, you can be more aggressive about pushing offenders off the cliff, though https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Improv … conditions

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