[buug] Using swap on an SSD...or not.

Pewter Bot pewterbot9 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 30 15:54:13 PDT 2009

On Sept. 28 Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> posted:

{{ Easier still is to just make sure you have enough RAM to not need
swap on flash media.  ;-> }}

Not an option in my situation. It is *not* easier to upgrade ram on my
Asus EeePC 701SD netbook.  Nor do I care to, nor see any need to. If I
must resort to swap, so be it.

On Sept. 30 Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> posted:

{{ Suggest you get to be buddies with ps, top, vmstat, etc., to see
how much RAM you really use. }}

Very good, thanks!

> Tomorrow, I'll run my little Eee PC 701SD
> w/Firefox and a few other programs while
> wifi connected...and see just how much
> memory is used.

{{ No offence intended, but do you know how to do that? }}

I already know about TOP, and...

There is a nice gnome GUI equivalent for TOP, called "System Monitor".
It will show you how much swap, if any, you're using in a very clear
graph and pie chart...same for actual RAM used. Of course, you can
also see a list of all processes, with their memory and CPU usage.

{{ "vmstat 1" will do a report on swap activity every second, until
you Ctrl-C out of it. }}

Very nice!

{{ Even a system that's not actually needing swap will touch it a
_little_ from time to time, if it's available and switched on. }}

I have already noticed that sometimes a small piece of swap being
used, even when plenty of RAM was still avialable. And yesterday,
after having removed swap, Firefox wouldn't load, nor would Synaptic
Package Manager or Update Manager. So I created a swap partition on
the SDHC card...and will test it out tomorrow. (I have two netbooks,
and I'm not running the one in question today. This one doesn't use an
SSD for the hard drive.)

I assume--and perhaps wrongly--that Linux will automatically find the
swap partition. (If not, I haven't located any references yet that
explain how to point the OS to the swap location...my hunch is fstab.)

{{ I like my process table (ps auxw | more) to be clean and not
chewing up RAM and other system resources running junk that _I_ didn't
decide to run, which is why I tend to eschew "desktop environment"
suites that spawn off a forest of obscure processes, and instead run a
simple minimalist window manager. }}

I am slowly working towards that...have already eliminated certain
daemons I know I don't need...such as the one for bluetooth. As I
learned what each  of these running processes are, I can continue to
eliminate more...as well as uninstall what applications I don't need.
Sort of a reverse engineering method.

There is also the matter of turning on more people to Linux...for
which a generic (and  large) package is unavoidable. That is, if one
takes seriously the desire to assist Windoze users to become former
Windoze users. Even so, a Linux package such as Ubuntu's is far more
preferable than a Micro$oft package, for pretty much the same reasons
as your preference to start minimally.

And should a convert decide to scale down his OS, and have more
control over it, Linux is superb for precisely that use. Not to
mention the extraordinary community of support that is both global and
ubiquitous. I'd say that's a win-win situation for newbies and wizards

At this point in my learning curve,  I certainly appreciate the good
sense of the minimalist approach, and building from there. Which
preference shall some day be my own.

{{ I'll give that a try, next time I restart Iceweasel (Firefox). }}

--Of course I had to look up "Iceweasel" on Wikepedia:

"Iceweasel" redirects here. For the GNU browser formerly known as
IceWeasel, see GNU IceCat.

In 2006, a branding issue developed when Mike Connor, representing the
Mozilla Corporation, requested that the Debian Project comply with
Mozilla standards for use of the Thunderbird trademark when
redistributing the Thunderbird software.[1][2] At issue were
modifications not approved by the Mozilla Foundation, when the name
for the software remained the same.

In 2006 the Debian Project subsequently rebranded the Mozilla Firefox
program,[3] and other software released by Mozilla, so that Debian
could continue to distribute the software with modifications
permitted, without being bound by the use of trademark requirements
that the Mozilla Foundation had required. The new names established by
Debian were Iceweasel for Mozilla Firefox, Icedove for Mozilla
Thunderbird, and Iceape for SeaMonkey. These changes were implemented
in the subsequent version of Debian (Etch). In July 2007, Iceowl, a
rebranded version of Mozilla Sunbird, was added to the unstable branch
of Debian.[4]...

Mozilla Foundation owns the trademark "Firefox"[5] and claims the
right to deny the use of the name and other trademarks to unofficial
builds.[6] Unless distributions use the binaries supplied by Mozilla
or else have special permission, they must compile the Firefox source
with an option enabled which gives Firefox the codename of the release
version of Firefox on which it is based, and which doesn't use the
official logo or other artwork.[6] The Debian Free Software Guidelines
are used by the Debian project to determine whether a license is a
free license, which in turn is used to determine whether something can
be included in Debian. As the logo does not meet these requirements,
it could not be used by software which was to be included in Debian.
This effect of the Mozilla trademark policy led to a long debate
within the Debian Project in 2004 and 2005. During this debate, the
name "Iceweasel" was coined to refer to rebranded versions of Firefox.
The first known use of the name in this context is by Nathanael
Nerode[7], in reply to Eric Dorland's suggestion of "Icerabbit".[8] It
was intended as a parody of "Firefox".[9] "Iceweasel" was subsequently
used as the example name for a rebranded Firefox in the Mozilla
Trademark Policy[6], and became the most commonly used name for a
hypothetical rebranded version of Firefox. By January 1, 2005,
rebranding was being referred to as the "Iceweasel route".[10]

--end excerpt

And it goes on. Interesting to note that IceWeasel, IceCat, IceDove
and IceApe do not appear in the Package Manager (though SeaMonkey
does). But here is the home page for Gnuzilla and IceCat:


The "kewlness" factor of Linux keeps growing as I learn! Thanks, Rick,
once more. I'll play a bit with my SSD netbook tonight...but I can
only do so much w/dialup. Tomorrow, with public wifi, will be the Big

Think Google's kewl? Think again:

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