[solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or locks

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Smiff2
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Re: open 2 web browsers - system unresponsive or locks hard

Post by Smiff2 »

riiight.. not exactly sure why, but system running a lot better today. currently firefox using 1GB RAM /2.2GB virtual (plus plugin-container using 500MB), 1.5GB of 2GB used total, 800MB of 2.4GB swap in use, and system not pausing, or pausing very little. nice!

this is what's added to my /etc/sysctl.conf

vm.min_free_kbytes=100000
vm.swappiness=60
vm.vfs_cache_pressure=50


i think that last one may be what helped..

strangely it contradicts what's posted here though http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 03&start=0

min_free_kbytes can probably come down a bit to 64MB, i'm probably wasting some RAM there..
Smiff2
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Re: open 2 web browsers - system unresponsive or locks hard

Post by Smiff2 »

issue definitely resolved here, there have been no further major system hangs despite continued high firefox memory usage.
sorry bit scared to try setting things back to confirm exact cause of fix, in case i can't re-fix it!

but i believe the most important part of the solution to be this:
vm.vfs_cache_pressure=50

Swap partition is still at 2.4GB and on same hard drive, default swappiness value of 60.

marking Solved yay!
glad i stuck with Mint as trying other linux distros most likely would have just wasted time.


update:

got firefox up to 1GB physical, 2.8GB virtual, and longest i've ever had it running without restarting it. got memory use to the point where the gnome theme failed, went back to that default blocky non-theme. mouse and keyboard stayed responsive apart from a few seconds of mouse stutter. printing still worked (unlike winxp where printing would have failed long before this point). I call this success :) restarted firefox and just need to switch themes to reapply the theme :p
Smiff2
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by Smiff2 »

one more thing.. i was next going to look at ZRAM (ram compression, previously known as CompCache) but this doesn't seem to be necessary for me now! might be later though.

good articles on arch site:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Ma ... erformance

and for firefox
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Fi ... and_Tweaks

some of this is good general stuff that should probably be made default in Mint.

are does someone want to write a tweak tool to apply some of the tweaks discussed here? would be worth it for newbies.. these things make a huge difference to speed and perception of Mint.
AlbertP
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by AlbertP »

Smiff2, I think that decreasing the vm.swappiness a bit makes performance even better, now that you've got rid of the unresponsive system - you are using quite some swap. But the best solution is still to upgrade to some more memory - however, some (mainly older and/or cheaper) chipsets don't support more than 2GB so this may not help.
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Smiff2
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by Smiff2 »

the other thing i've been lately doing is to "nice" most big apps like firefox

'which firefox'
sudo nano (path to firefox)
find the exec line, copy it and # comment out as a backup, add "nice -nX" between the exec and rest of line, i use a number from 2 to 5 normally. when firefox grows, doesn't cause rest of system to stutter so much ,especially audio..
itoffshore
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by itoffshore »

Resurrecting the thread for Smiff2 - some notes for running ZRAM on Wheezy here Running swap compressed in RAM will be interesting for anyone using an SSD.
Smiff2
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by Smiff2 »

thanks.. i've actually been getting some freezes again recently when running out of ram. not good. may try ram compression.

modprobe -nv zram
insmod /lib/modules/2.6.38-8-generic/kernel/drivers/staging/zram/zram.ko
itoffshore
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by itoffshore »

It does make a difference - with 2 gig of RAM + ZRAM I no longer have Virtualbox crashing if I have lots of applications open. Perhaps also consider a lighter desktop than GNOME - XFCE or Fluxbox (or both)
Smiff2
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by Smiff2 »

i finally broke down and added another 2GB RAM (for 4GB total) because i needed to get things done. however there is a real problem here, an OS needing reset is never good. it's quite hard to replicate with 2GB and firefox (lots of tabs needed) but should be easy to reproduce on a system with 1GB RAM.
AlbertP
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by AlbertP »

If your system has a swap which is big enough, it should run well.
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Smiff2
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Re: [solved] open 2 web browsers system unresponsive or lock

Post by Smiff2 »

it had enough swap (tried sizes from 1GB to 3GB, larger didn't help).
the problem, in a nutshell, I think was that oom_killer wasn't always working. when it killed firefox, system recovered. when it didn't, system would hard lock (no CTRL_ALT_BACKSPACE etc.). i don't know enough about the kernel to understand how OOM_killer triggers.

it's kind of academic though because of another issue with firefox - it doesn't play well over NFS (something to do with sqlite databases?) so i'm probably going to disable firefox anyway! (chromium and opera seem much better coded in regard to both memory management and storage).
regardless, this was an OS failure, though it seems rare or specific to my system..
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