[maemo-users] Sluggish performance on my N800

From: Marius Gedminas marius at pov.lt
Date: Mon Jun 9 19:07:33 EEST 2008
On Mon, Jun 09, 2008 at 06:16:11PM +0300, Eero Tamminen wrote:
> ext Mike Wright wrote:
> > Ok - received many suggestions now - thanks for them.
> > 
> > Lets see what I have got then.
> > 
> > 1) Memory cards
> > Yep - got those! 4G internal, 2G eternal - both FAT32 on no-name cards.
> > Internal has or rather HAD) 128M swap file on it. I can remove them later
> > and try that.
> I would recommend against using swap except in situations where you
> really need it and just not keep many applications open at the same
> (number depends on what applications, browser content alone can easily
> eat all memory if you visit sites with lots of Flash and Javascript).
> Swap can make the device sluggish also.

In my experience, when the tablet runs out of memory and you have no
swap, you're completely out of luck.  CPU at 100%, kernel is paging in
and out executable pages all the times, user interface is nonresponsive.
You'll end up pulling the battery in a few minutes, if the watchdog
doesn't reboot the tablet for you.

When the tablet runs out of memory and you have swap, things slow down a
bit (noticeably), but the user interface remains responsive, and you get
a chance to close some of the apps you currently have, then continue
working normally.  (But if you ignore the warning sign and use up all the
memory and all the swap, you'll end up in the same thrashing hell.)

I haven't done any scientific double-blind experiments, so take the
above with a grain of salt.  My previous experiences with desktop Linux
may have contaminated my observations too, because that's where I first
noticed this: running out of RAM is often nonrecoverable (or just plain
too slow for me to tolerate) unless you have a lifeboat in the form of
a swap partition.

Marius Gedminas
Science is to computer science as hydrodynamics is to plumbing.
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