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I have setup a JBoss server on a Windows 2003 R2 x32, on an VMware ESXi 3.5. I have given 4 GB to the VM, yet I cannot set the VM to grab more than 512 MB of RAM; higher values (even as low as 1024 MB) will get me a "Cannot reserve enough space for object heap" error.

I investigated the issue and found this answer that seems to fit (I have enough memory, but the JVM requires it to have a contiguous address space). Unfortunately my HW does not support 64 bits so I cannot migrate to Windows 2003 R2 x64.

I would like to know if migrating to Linux x32 would allow me to setup a higher memory limit, before going through the work of installing / configuring it (I am at developer at heart, and my experience as sysadmin is mainly with Windows).

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Best idea is to just test it, linux generally has a smaller memory footprint then windows, though on 32 bit you are still going to be stuck with the 3.6 gb memory limit. a general linux machine only takes 30-40 mins to install so its really worth trying it. –  Flash Aug 16 '12 at 10:10
It is not an issue with the OS footprint but rather with its memory management, with windows I have almost 3GB free RAM but without enough contiguous addresses. –  SJuan76 Aug 16 '12 at 10:23
Also, chosing distro + downloading + burning + installing + configuring + installing JVM & JBoss is not 20 minutes. And I don't want it to work once just out of luck and find in production that it is not guaranteed... –  SJuan76 Aug 16 '12 at 10:25
Ubuntu 12.04 server is a good choice. Lots of online documentation and easy to setup / use. –  pkhamre Aug 16 '12 at 10:27
"Unfortunately my HW does not support 64 bits so I cannot migrate to Windows 2003 R2 x64." -> And no money to buy new hardware? –  Eric DANNIELOU Aug 16 '12 at 11:33
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