Subject: Re: Bad response...
To: Johnny Billquist <bqt@Update.UU.SE>
From: Thor Lancelot Simon <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/30/2004 10:10:00
On Mon, Aug 30, 2004 at 09:40:17AM +0200, Johnny Billquist wrote:
> On Sun, 29 Aug 2004, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> >
> >I find it a bit strange that you'd expect to be able to run binaries 100
> >times as large as the average program was 10 years ago, while building the
> >operating system, whose sources are 10 times as large as they were, with
> >an optimizing compiler that works 10 times as hard to compile the same 
> >code,
> >while serving up files -- data files and binaries *both* often 100 times
> >as large as they were a decade ago -- to various other machines, with only
> >twice or perhaps four times the RAM a decent desktop *or* engineering
> >workstation *or* fileserver would have had then, and yet blame *the 
> >operating
> >system* when you experience the obvious symptoms of having a working set 
> >far,
> >far larger than the amount of physical RAM on the machine.
> Whoa! Hold on to your horses here.
> Are you claiming that I'm doing something unnormal or not?
> And are you claiming that my hw is unusual or not?

I'm claiming that your expectations are way out of line.  You're trying to
work with data and executables that are somewhere between one and two orders
of magnitude as large as they were when the amount of memory on your system
was appropriate for its job -- yet expecting performance to be good with
default system tuning.  I think that's absurd, and I think that changing the
default system tuning to accomodate this use would probably break more than
it fixes.

As I pointed out, the working set of your system vastly exceeds the size of
its physical memory.  You're not going to see good performance in that case,
no matter what you do; all you can really do is choose which applications on
the system will get hit the worst with lousy performance.

Really, in an era in which common desktop applications approach 50MB in
size (I just double checked my running copy of Netscape -- it's 40MB!) and
the data those applications work with is also far larger than one might
naively expect, your best solution is probably just to reach in your wallet
and buy some more RAM -- which also happens to cost about two orders of
magnitude less than it used to.