Inactive memory

Pat Maddox pergesu at
Tue Feb 8 13:44:40 PST 2005

Alright, that lets me know that it's not an entirely bad thing.  It
does say, however, that it's fine as long as the free memory isn't
REALLY low.  It did get down to 13MB though, as I said.

So now I understand that it's alright for the free memory to be low. 
I don't understand how the inactive, cache, and buffered memory are
used though.  When a process uses up all the free memory, does it then
use some from inactive, or does it use swap?

On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 22:36:12 +0100, Erik Trulsson <ertr1013 at> wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 08, 2005 at 02:33:14PM -0700, Pat Maddox wrote:
> > I've always got a lot of inactive memory on my machine, around 520MB
> > or so.  While doing a portupgrade, the free memory dropped to around
> > 13MB.  I'm just curious what exactly the inactive memory is.  Will the
> > OS use the inactive memory before dipping into swap?  Or is that
> > memory off limits now?  If so, is there any way to free it up?  I've
> > got 1GB total on the machine.
> --
> <Insert your favourite quote here.>
> Erik Trulsson
> ertr1013 at

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