One of the problems that i face to many times a week on Linux is the inactive memory management.
Whenever i copy a a huge file or open a program like Matlab on my Ubuntu i notice that there is a huge amount of inactive memory remaining on my systems and my system slows down.
Although i can free it up by dropping caches (sysctl vm.drop_caches), But i still want to know why Linux doesn't manage it better? What are those inactave memory for after a copying process is finished?!
Is this a problem? If yes, How can it be solved?


Inactive memory is basically a cache, which makes consecutive operations faster. For example, that makes the second launch of Firefox significantly faster, than the first one.

You can be quite sure that this does not make your system slower. When there is a need of RAM, Linux (the kernel) can drop these immediately.

So actually, what you think as a deficiency, is actually a pretty amazing piece of engineering. Obligatory reference: "Linux ate my RAM!"

  • Yes, That it true for recently opened programs. But what about copied files? – n.Perception Aug 13 '15 at 12:38
  • That's disk caching. – meskobalazs Aug 13 '15 at 12:40
  • I can't see why it occupies the RAM. I can feel it slows the performance down and it makes it slower for new programs to be loaded to the ram. My friend has the same problem on Mint. – n.Perception Aug 13 '15 at 12:43

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