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SubjectRe: need help interpreting 'free' output.

On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, Hugh Dickins wrote:
>
> However, unlike 2.4.13, 2.4.14-pre (you tried pre4, I just tried pre5)
> seems much too unwilling to shrink_dcache and shrink_icache: your
> memory hog should shrink them, but it seems not to. Linus?

Yes. It's next on my list.

My _preferred_ approach would actually be to move the slab pages to the
LRU list too, and have a special "slab" address space (we don't need to
actually hash them, we just make page->mapping point to it), and have the
cache shrink be done naturally as part of writepage().

That way "shrink_cache()" reacts very naturally to slab pressure, while
right now it's more of a random behaviour. That's what the "anonymous
pages in the LRU" approach fixes - the VM scanning reacts very naturally
(instead of with subtle tweaking and almost random behaviour) to mapped
page pressure.

The "slab address space" is a longer-range plan, though. It migth be
really simple (the writepage would just move the page to the active list
and try to shrink the slab that was hit), but I think the current stuff is
"good enough".

So in the short range, I haven't come up with any really good approaches,
but I suspect I'll just have to move the shrink_[di]cache() back to the
caller, which will at least shrink them on swapouts (a bit too much, I
think, but on the other hand maybe not).

Patch attached,

Linus
diff -u --recursive pre5/linux/mm/vmscan.c linux/mm/vmscan.c
--- pre5/linux/mm/vmscan.c Tue Oct 30 08:51:13 2001
+++ linux/mm/vmscan.c Tue Oct 30 08:46:08 2001
@@ -515,20 +515,6 @@
}
spin_unlock(&pagemap_lru_lock);

- if (nr_pages <= 0)
- return 0;
-
- /*
- * If swapping out isn't appropriate, and
- * we still fail, try the other (usually smaller)
- * caches instead.
- */
- shrink_dcache_memory(priority, gfp_mask);
- shrink_icache_memory(priority, gfp_mask);
-#ifdef CONFIG_QUOTA
- shrink_dqcache_memory(DEF_PRIORITY, gfp_mask);
-#endif
-
return nr_pages;
}

@@ -577,7 +563,17 @@
ratio = (unsigned long) nr_pages * nr_active_pages / ((nr_inactive_pages + 1) * 2);
refill_inactive(ratio);

- return shrink_cache(nr_pages, classzone, gfp_mask, priority);
+ nr_pages = shrink_cache(nr_pages, classzone, gfp_mask, priority);
+ if (nr_pages <= 0)
+ return 0;
+
+ shrink_dcache_memory(priority, gfp_mask);
+ shrink_icache_memory(priority, gfp_mask);
+#ifdef CONFIG_QUOTA
+ shrink_dqcache_memory(DEF_PRIORITY, gfp_mask);
+#endif
+
+ return nr_pages;
}

int try_to_free_pages(zone_t *classzone, unsigned int gfp_mask, unsigned int order)
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