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    SubjectMy memory is rusty

    Some time recently (I can't remember exactly when :), I think it was
    P. J. Plauger who observed that modern operating systems rust. I
    other words after using the things for months it is often necessary to
    re-install the things to get the performance back to a satisfactory
    level. This seems to be a complaint against MicroSoft operating
    systems and their ilk.

    Somewhere in the 2.1.xx series (maybe 2.1.4x, but I'm not sure) of
    Linux kernels I noticed that rapid rusting was setting in. After
    using the system for a time, which could be less than an hour, the
    performance would become very sluggish due to swapping and only
    rebooting seems to restore system performance.

    Of course there were a few disastrous kernels around 2.1.90, but we'll
    forget about those...

    I have a feeling that the rusting problem has become worse as the
    kernel versions have progressed but it's only recently that I've
    started trying to get some measure of the effect so I can't be sure.

    I've recently tried a few things to see if the cause of the rusting
    might become apparent but before I really roll my sleeves up it seems
    like a good idea to ask here. It's likely that someone already knows
    the answer and/or can point out something silly I am doing...

    Don't laugh, but my system is currently and 80486 with 8 Mbyte of RAM.
    My observation of most messages which mention configuration is that
    most people have much more RAM than this and might not be seeing the

    To rule out hardware problems, I compiled and installed 2.0.33 and
    observe that the rusting is either much slower or doesn't exist with
    that kernel.


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