Why is Linux using all my RAM?

My Linux-running laptop seemed to be a little bit sluggish, so I had a look at the amount of free RAM available – and did a double take:

Linux free RAM confusion
A few apps eating an entire 4GB? Say it ain't so!

This is on a 4GB machine with a web browser (6 tabs) open, email client, code::blocks IDE and totem to play some music. How can that devour my entire 4GB?

Answer: It can’t. Or at least it’s not! The Linux kernel is in fact using free RAM as a disk cache to keep your most often used data in memory and thus speed up the system. As soon as that RAM is actually needed for applications, then it’s instantly made available. This is in theory like the Windows Superfetch service (which is the first thing I disable on any Windows machine I’m forced to co-exist with), only the Linux version actually works well without perpetually thrashing the pants off the hard drive.

What’s really happening is this:

Linux free RAM in reality
It ain't so =D

For the exact workings, please see the excellent (and indeed excellently named) site “Help! Linux ate my RAM!” – http://www.linuxatemyram.com/.

Bit of a PEBKAC moment, there ;-)

Big Pauper – The Simple Life (These Fears Behind Me Edit)

Was listening to some Big Pauper (Panzah Zandah) stuff the other day when I heard this on the (free) Cops Eat Flowers EP – and I really like it, it’s kinda corky and has a cool beat and some nice samples and stuff. Perfect summer trip-hop/chillout stuff, so I thought I’d share.

Big Pauper - Cops Eat Flowers EP cover

There’s lots more free/pay-what-you-want stuff at the Big Pauper siteMe & THIS Army (Radiohead remixes) is especially good, and there’s also some nice tracks on the Beck remix album Aphids on the Lettuce!