Memory leak?

Robert Leftwich freebsd at
Mon Feb 13 14:13:30 PST 2006

On Mon, 13 Feb 2006 16:40:54 -0500, "David Scheidt" <dscheidt at>
> I've seen (very, very, very, very) large memory leaks on long-lived
> Python processes.  I haven't looked at it to figure out if it's
> python, some module, or the application doing something stupid.  But
> the processes will grow until they hit their limits.

What's your definition of long-lived? My scenario is that I'm processing
a particular dataset in Python which is launched by a shell script, once
finished (after 30-35mins) the Python app completes and the shell script
launches another instance on a new dataset. All memory allocated by the
finished Python app should be freed/made inactive shouldn't it?

Here's some more data:

After a reboot this is what top says:

    Mem: 45M Active, 13M Inact, 61M Wired, 4K Cache, 60M Buf, 2842M Free
    Swap: 4068M Total, 4068M Free

which totals 3021M

After 1 dataset it is:

    Mem: 107M Active, 1919M Inact, 158M Wired, 16K Cache, 214M Buf, 570M
    Swap: 4068M Total, 4068M Free

which totals 2968M

While running on the 6th dataset:

    Mem: 1032M Active, 1045M Inact, 260M Wired, 145M Cache, 214M Buf,
    4664K Free
    Swap: 4068M Total, 108K Used, 4068M Free

which totals 2700.6M

Are my assumptions incorrect, should the totals displayed by top be at
least approximately equal?


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