ASU - out of memory?

Tilman Baumann tilman at
Thu Aug 21 18:49:33 CEST 2008

Sander van Grieken wrote:
>> Tilman Baumann <tilman at> writes:
>>> all the linux memory overcommit behaviour more or less depends on
>>> the fact that it can allways save it's ass by using swap. (Instead
>>> of helplessley crashing)
>> Yes, or killing the application. Not having swap is nonsense;). If you
>> are using swap something is wrong, right, but then you fix it. I find
>> it strange that the debian install didn't make a little swap
>> partition.
> How is having 256MB RAM without swap any different from 128MB RAM with 128MB swap? It's
> still 256MB (virtual) memeory in total.

You have 128Mb of good healthy RAM and 128MB of safety-net and trash dump.
> In other words, even WITH swap you dont solve the problem, you only postpone any
> problems until later, AND you lose some flash/sd storage room for swap permanently.

You have 128Mb of memory to wait for the problem to solve itself or 
better to do something about it.
> It only makes sense to allocate swap if you know beforehand you'll need more than the
> available RAM.
No one plans to use swap. Using swap is bad. (for most cases)
But not having swap is far worse.

And come on. Software is not perfect. Sometimes we have to live with a 
dreamteam like (old) firefox and x11. I had times when they had both 
hundreds of megs virtual mem. But everything was fine because it all was 
just harmlessly been swaped away. I restarted them every weekend to not 
let it become worse.
Not ideal, but should the system rather be unusable in this condition?

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