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I installed debian 5 + LXDE and I was surprised that without an application running it used less than 50 MB of RAM and with Firefox and OpenOffice running it still used less than 100 MB of RAM. Ubuntu + LXDE with Firefox and OpenOffice running uses much more RAM. Why is that?

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closed as not constructive by Jorge Castro, Chris Wilson, Eric Carvalho, Seth, gertvdijk Feb 5 '13 at 9:32

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Can you please provide a bit more information. What processes are running in each case? What versions are you using? – Nathan Osman Dec 4 '10 at 8:49
@user142 When adding new information add it to your question please! – Jorge Castro Dec 4 '10 at 16:52
"I haven't tested but I know..." How do you know? If you have some particular reason for knowing, then it seems that you know the answer to your question. If not, then it seems pointless to answer the question without testing to see if the phenomenon in question is true in the first place. In my experience, Ubuntu is on the lower end of distributions in terms of default RAM consumption. – Michael Ekstrand Dec 4 '10 at 17:35
That's weird, I haven't tested either, but I know that debian definitely uses more RAM than Ubuntu. Hmm. Looks like one of us will have to actually test, rather than randomly assuming. I would, but I'm afraid that I don't actually care about how much RAM one system uses over another - only how it performs and how functional it is. – Scaine Dec 4 '10 at 18:22
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'm not sure if it's really twice as much, but it's all about settings and running application/services -- Ubuntu is more "user friendly" and that also means more applications, tools etc.

For example: Compiz is default in Ubuntu (app. + 35MB), UbuntuOne (app. + 20MB), indicator applets in the panel, accessibility...

You can go to System→Administration→System Monitor to find applications that are using more RAM.

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You can't compare "Ubuntu" vs "Debian" RAM usage ; for both, a base install uses a different set of services/applications with different RAM requirements.

Also please make sure you read, most people have the wrong understanding of Linux memory usage.

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If you're that low on RAM, either get more RAM or switch to a less-RAM-hungry distro (I recommend LMDE if you want to use GNOME too). If you have enough (1GB should do), don't worry about it. You paid for that RAM after all, so why not use it?

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1GB is sufficient for Ubuntu too, unless you are like me and never bother to close tabs or windows, in which case you need 2GB. – dv3500ea Dec 4 '10 at 23:19

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