[SATLUG] openoffice issue

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Sat May 10 11:56:15 CDT 2008

> not sure how to defrag RAM on a linux box... on my Redmond box it's fairly 
> simple using System Mechanic.

The linux kernel should handle all of this automatically - this is Linux 
mem management. You got cached, used and free memory. Cached gets cleaned
up when another program needs it - this is done automatically, not upon 
running a memory defragmenter.

> RAM tends to get fragmented, just like a hd, with use. When you reboot, it 
> automatically comes up clean again. A lot of stuff is left in RAM even after 
> the program using it is no longer running, except for the rare program written 
> by a kind programmer who has written automatic cleanup routines into the 
> program. Most however, are sloppy and leave 'artifacts' behind. If you notice 
> the problem doesn't occur until you've been running the system for a while, 
> it's probably the cause.

OK, maybe under windows, which is why you have to reboot it so often (among
other reasons). AFAIK Linux is not subject to this problem.

> Increasing virtual memory can help by giving your programs more space to trade 
> out segments of code in the swap file. This will help if you keep several 

When opening OpenOffice and requesting the format option, it uses 355 MB on
my machine. Everything works fine. With all the other stuff running (KDE, X, etc)
the total memory used is about 600 megs at this point.  That means there are over
1.3 gigs still free. When the program locks up, the CPU goes to 100%, meaning
the prog is in some infinite loop (certainly a bug). The problem I am trying
to figure out is what puts it into this loop.

> programs running at the same time. Some programs automatically latch onto a 
> given amount of vitual memory (swap file) and do not release them when 
> finished. These usually don't get wiped from virtual mem until the next 
> bootup.

In linux this is cached memory, so the program loads faster upon reloading. 
If another program requires the memory, cached memory is given back to the free

> Take note if the problem occures soon after bootup, or only after you've been 
> working for a while, or when you have multiple programs going, or after having 
> used several programs that may have left junk behind.

So right after boot up Linux has accumulated junk?? I just don't believe this
can be the issue.

> If the problem happens 
> when you use open office before any other programs, then my advice is probably 
> wrong. But I've had this sort of problem on my Window$ box with other 
> programs, and the fix is usually one of the two I suggested.

I think the two just aren't comparable in terms of memory management.

> In any case, it can't hurt to give it a shot. Find out how much virtual mem 
> open office uses, and bump your vm to accomodate. This will give it full, 
> exclusive access to as much as it needs. Every time I add a new program I 
> usually bump the vm by at least half the program's base requirement.

You shouldn't need any if 1.3+ GB of RAM are available. My graphics cache for
OO is set to 20 MB, but at the point of failure no graphics are even loaded.
I didn't find another memory setting inside of OO. I am pretty sure it is 
either a bug in Java or in OO.


> On Sat, 10 May 2008 10:34:32 -0500 (CDT)
>   Borries Demeler <demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu> wrote:
> >> 
> >> Offhand, it sounds like you need to defrag your RAM periodically.
> > 
> > How do you "defrag RAM"??
> > 
> >> Also, try increasing the size of your virtual memory.
> > 
> > I can't see how this would make a difference, since this occurs even when 
> > nothing else is running (on a 2 GB RAM machine), but I'll give it a try the 
> > next time it happens.
> > 
> > -b.
> -- 
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