I'm toying with a 75-MHz Pentium with 32MB RAM and Red Hat Linux 7.1. I
would admit outright that my machine is underpowered, but I also work with a
very similar machine that works just darned fine, and the performance
difference is great enough that I think I may have a problem.
The issue appears to be with memory usage. Whenever I try to do something
big and slow and memory-intensive (such as start up Mozilla or compile the
Glasgow Haskell Compiler, to recall from recent memory), the poor thing
starts thrashing very badly. From another shell, I then check what "free"
and it reports that, indeed, the system is very short on memory - but, in
fact, well over half the available memory is taken up by buffers and cache
Is this typical? It seems awful wasteful to me, not to mention futile - a
disk cache large enough to induce thrashing would seem to defeat its own
purpose. Do I just have too darned little RAM, or is there something I can
tweak? (I swear, on that other machine I can surf the Web and compile the
kernel while an MP3 plays at good quality without skipping; on my box, just
surfing the Web brings everything down.)
jyrinx_list at mindspring dot com
P.S. This newsgroup is rather busy ... is there a more specific group for
this question? Perhaps someone (with more time/expertise/equipment than me)
should start a comp.os.linux.kernel ...