A few questions about FreeBSD

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Fri Sep 29 17:42:26 UTC 2017

On Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:37:10 +0000, Manish Jain wrote:
> Hi,
> I am writing a doc about FreeBSD/Unix.
> There are a few questions I wish to be get the answers for.
> 1) As a desktop system, is it needed to have a swap partition at all ? 

The question is malformed. :-)

You (probably) need a swap partition for two typical reasons:

1. RAM is full -> system needs to swap to disk

2. kernel crash -> system needs to write a dump file

Now you might say: Desktop users aren't interested in kernel dumps,
so you could remove reason 2. There are configuration options to
prevent the system from trying dumps. But for reason 1, you can
only hope that there is sufficient RAM _and_ no program you're
running has a memory leak filling up the RAM. This depends on
the (application) software you're using, or the libraries the
programs are incorporating, nothing you have real control over.

On my desktop systems, I usually have a swap partition. Many years
(or maybe decades?) ago, the suggestion was to make it 2 x max. RAM
in size, so when your system could be enhanced up to 8 GB RAM; you'd
create a swap partition of 16 GB. However, disk space is cheap, so
there is no need to fear the swap partition.

On the other hand, as today's PCs have lots of RAM, it's also
possible to assign swap to RAM. Of course, in case 2, a stored
kernel dump will be gone, and case 1 is a totally stupid
consideration. :-)

> My system is AMD Athlon X2 270 with 8 GB DDR3 RAM and no swap, running 
> KDE4. The box works wonderfully for me.
> Is swap advisable for 8 GB ? 4 GB ? 2GB RAM ?

Depends. As often, it depends on what applications you're running
and how they consume RAM. You can use tools like xosview or htop
to see if the RAM can be fully occupied.

For example, on my home system, I needed to open more than 70 tabs
with "Flash" in Opera to get the 2 GB RAM filled, and the system
started swapping.

> Less than that much is essentially unheard of nowadays.

It is no problem to simply add a swap partition. If you don't
need it - no problem, it doesn't harm. :-)

> 2) Since I do not use video-chat, I needed some tips about video-chat 
> software that works well under FreeBSD. Would that be Jitsi ? Skype ?

As far as I know, "Skype" (now owned by MICROS~1) is not
supported. A Linux version might work. Many years ago, I
did once try the Linux version, and it worked with video
and audio. But that was on FreeBSD 7, if I remember correctly,
so I'm totally out of touch with videophone reality. ;-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list