"free" doesn't account for slab cache

Bug #126329 reported by Johan Walles on 2007-07-16
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
procps (Debian)
Fix Released
procps (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: procps

Using procps 1:3.2.7-3ubuntu2 from Feisty, do "free -m":

             total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 2026 1967 59 0 629 665
-/+ buffers/cache: 672 1354
Swap: 0 0 0

Historically I've used the "-/+ buffers/cache" line as a way to determine how much memory my system is "really" using. "Really" in this case means "memory in use that won't just be freed up when I want it for something".

Since the "-/+ buffers/cache" line doesn't include the Slab cache (the "Slab:" line in /proc/meminfo), and the Slab cache can grow quite big, "free" cannot be used to determine the amount of free memory in the machine :-(.

I would like "free" to count the Slab: memory as free, at least on the "-/+ buffers/cache" line.

Or that somebody could tell me an alternative way of finding out the amount of free memory in my machine without having to manually add things up from /proc/meminfo.

Steven Harms (sharms) wrote :

Is this still an issue in Intrepid? I see free's manpage points to slabtop and a few other programs, is it still not slab aware?

Changed in procps:
status: New → Incomplete
Johan Walles (walles) wrote :

Still not slab aware in procps 1:3.2.7-9ubuntu2.1 :-(.

apt-get source procps

Slab info is read in procps-3.2.7/proc/sysinfo.c, but it's not being used by procps-3.2.7/free.c.

Changed in procps:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Phillip Susi (psusi) on 2013-05-10
summary: - "free" shows too much memory in use
+ "free" doesn't account for slab cache
Changed in procps (Debian):
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Changed in procps (Debian):
status: Confirmed → Fix Released
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