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My PC has 8 Gb of ram. Is there any way to make ubuntu use most of it? I mean rarely drop caches and keep once opened programms in ram longer, preload apps on boot, etc.

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Does Ubuntu drop caches or moves open programs to swap? – mikewhatever Oct 4 '12 at 15:36
Do you have 64-bit or 32-bit version? – Addison Montgomery Oct 4 '12 at 16:02

You could make a ramdisk for certain directories using tmpfs

For example for the ~/.cache/ directory, which google chrome and chromium use to cache data, the entry in /etc/fstab would be:

tmpfs /home/your_username/.cache tmpfs defaults,size=1024M 0 0

However, it should be noted that the contents get lost with each reboot.

Anther suitable directoriy might be /tmp. Note that you can specify the size of the tmpfs in absolute or relative (to your RAM) values:

Use 1G of your RAM:

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs nosuid,size=1G 0 0

or, use 10% of your available RAM:

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs nosuid,size=10% 0 0
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Preloading should be easy enough -- since linux caches/buffers as much as possible, simply cat the libs/binaries you want to "preload" to /dev/null -- that should warm up the cache. Start a script like the following at boot:

PROGS=("/usr/bin/jiha" "/usr/bin/doho")
for i in "${PROGS[@]}"; do 
    cat $i > /dev/null
    for j in $(ldd "$i"); do  # this does not work -- need to filter ldd output (awk)
        cat $j > /dev/null

This will waste a lot of time by cat'ing some libraries again and again, it is a bit more complicated to preload the needed libraries only once - but the impact depends on the length of the PROGS-array.

The rest (rarely drop caches, ...) is pretty much taken care of by the system by default -- it takes what it can use and let it go only if need be.


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Will this negatively impact disk i/o? Also, is it significantly different from just installing preload? Interesting question & answer though, I'm in the same situation as OP and I've just never seen >50% RAM usage. – Tom Brossman Oct 4 '12 at 16:18
preload AFAIU will preload during operation based on programs/files opened by the user; this simple approach will prolong boot time, but speed up load-time of just the wanted apps, nothing more. – Tom Regner Oct 4 '12 at 19:23
buffered/cached portions of the ram are shown as free in most tools -- as they will be freed if needed; but linux will cache every file you access as long as it can. If the total amount of memory used in your machine, including buffers/caches, never reaches 50% -- you have too much RAM for what you do :-) – Tom Regner Oct 4 '12 at 19:28
Good to know, thanks. Ram is so cheap any more I just get extra. Nice for running the occasional VM, but probably not necessary. – Tom Brossman Oct 4 '12 at 19:32
Yes, it's nice not to run out of memory - absolutely worth it. Jumped to 8G on both machines (work/home) - just nice. – Tom Regner Oct 4 '12 at 19:43
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I've found the solution how to use RAM. Create the script with the following content:

find /home/user/.config/ /home/user/.gconf/ /home/user/.mozilla/ /usr/share/icons/current_icon_theme/ /usr/share/nautilus/ /usr/bin/nau* /usr/share/gnome* /usr/bin/gno* /usr/lib/ -xdev -type f -exec cat '{}' \; > /dev/null

I run this script after login. To do this just add the autostart application with this content:

sh -c "sleep 8; /path/to/the/" &

It takes about 40 seconds to complete. The programms load much faster.

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0 explanation? What does that line mean? I thought /dev/null was a sort of trash. Please elaborate :D – sinekonata May 24 '13 at 1:48

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