Now that gnome-system-monitor gives useful information, I've been keeping it open quite a while. There is pretty clearly a slow memory leak. The heap grows by just keeping it open (i've been having it in the process view). You need it open over a period of a few hours to notice the leak. I first saw it after leaving it on over night.
Want an easy way to get your hands dirty with performance? This is your chance. I've filed the bug as #341175. Here is the plan of action:
- Reproduce the bug, make sure you can see it. I'm using GNOME 2.14, as it is packaged on Dapper.
- Run G-S-M under valgrind. I like to use the following flags valgrind --num-callers=20 --leak-check=yes --show-reachable=yes --leak-resolution=high gnome-system-monitor. This will generate a large dump file, because it showes stuff that's still reachable. However, this will help you if gsm retains pointers to memory, but just doesn't use it.
- Figure out who's to blame
- Patch it
If you complete any of these steps, please update your progress in the bug report. Again, this is a great chance for somebody new to performance work to get involved. If you need help, go to #performance on IRC, and one of the performance hackers will help you.
Talking of performance masters, Ubuntu users should thank Sebastien Bacher. The fair seb128 checked in a patch that puts many of the gnome-panel applets in process. This saves a good amount of ram. Thanks Sebastien!