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Why does gnome-terminal use so much memory?

I almost never turn my development machine off. Only time it gets turned off really is during power outages. I am almost always either having something build in a gnome-terminal or using VIM in a gnome terminal. I have set the scrolling to something like 65535 lines. I periodically close tabs and clear the buffer but my gnome-terminal process shows in top as having something like 670MB of virt mem and 160MB of res mem. Is this normal? Is there some way of launching more gnome-terminals so that when I close terminals I free the memory instead of it getting eaten by one big process? I know that on occasion, the gnome-terminal will crash and it closes ALL my gnome-terminal windows. (This is when I usually start throwing things.) Anyway to prevent that as well would be awesome, but primority one is how to manage the memory issue.

... This also is happening with Xorg, but a bit less extreme... something like 403MB virt and 32MB res mem.

Thanks, Chenz

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if all you are doing is CLI, do you really need a gui? – Jimsmithkka Aug 26 '09 at 13:50

I have set the scrolling to something like 65535 lines.

Have you tried setting this to something more ... sane? Like 5000 lines. Experiment. Correlation may be causation, in this case.

FWIW, my gnome-terminal is 38MB VIRT 15MB RES (while running htop), everything is default, and no compositing.

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Sane... is relative. I do agree that lowering the count would be a positive thing, but once I open 30 terminals fill the buffers and close 25 terminals, how do I recover the memory? – Crazy Chenz Aug 26 '09 at 13:23
I hate to say this ... restart gnome? I am not too sure how gnome caches memory, it may not "release it" in the way you want it to. Gnome may permanently cache (a per-pre-cache, if you will) the memory space. This question might be better addressed to the gnome developers. – Joseph Kern Aug 26 '09 at 15:11

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