X server memory footprint growing continuously and monotonically over time

Remy Bosch remybosch at zonnet.nl
Sun Nov 11 13:33:06 PST 2007

Omari Stephens wrote:
> Joel Feiner wrote:
>> There is a memory leak in X and it's bad.
> Make no mistake: in my original pair of emails, I've been arguing 
> exactly that such a beast _does_ exist.  My response to Remy was just to 
> make sure that his instance of "X is getting bigger" isn't just a result 
> of routine X pixmap storage -- there's a big difference between 20 megs 
> and 500.  And you'll note that I tried to offer suggestions for how he 
> could identify if this is normal behavior, or if something is going 
> wrong in his case as well.  Saying that "this evidence isn't quite 
> convincing" is not the same as denying that there is a problem.

No, 20MB is not exactly convincing, though it's remarkable that the use
of ram doubles after a few ours of use, and isn't freed after programs
are closed. I noticed - like I'm sure you did as well - that the usage
rises with use.
Just brouwse trough a directory with a lot of pictures, open up a few
and presto! Again a few megs added the millstone named X ;)
When all programs are closed (within xfce) and while keeping some small
programs running xrestop sees X using around 7MB while the two scripts
tell me that X uses 37MB.
There was a peak while using ristretto image viewer to 40MB.
That is for one day.

> Sorry to be so long-winded with this response, but I think a big reason 
> that problems like this may have survived for so long is that a 
> considerable number of folks have historically argued that "top says X 
> is taking memory, so there must be a leak" without looking for 
> sufficient, hard evidence that such a leak exists.  As a result, the 
> real signal gets lost in the noise.

Well, the problem is received loud en clear now :)
As far as the symptom goes... Now the source.


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