Re: [forum] bloatware

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> Remember folks, please, that we developed X11 on Vax 11/750's with 2 meg 
> of RAM.

Which only proves you know!  ;)

By "from the beginning", I guess I meant when X became public and 
workstation vendors got involved; i.e., the beginning of the X we have 
to deal with now.


> We run the kdrive X server on iPAQ PDA's and others, which, depending
> on the model, have 16, 32, or 64 meg of RAM.  The X server is well under
> 1 megabyte in size, including Render and a number of other extensions;
> when running it takes maybe 2 megabytes RAM.  We could go much further
> in reducing the footprint if we needed to, but it doesn't seem worthwhile
> right now as the big offenders are toolkit and applications, not X itself.

It kind of underlines my point, though, that it took handheld devices to get
kdrive started.  While from what I can see, the interest in kdrive is as
least as much for *desktop* use.  And certainly not because desktop hardware
is constrained, but simply because it makes sense and appeals to people.

Meanwhile....why would it not be worthwhile to reduce the footprint further 
in *anticipation* of libraries and applications?


> The one thing we're expermenting with right now is using mallopt to
> allow the X server to return more VM to the operating system from pixmap
> use: better yet would be to probably separate pixmap storage in the server
> from the general heap and do a compacting GC on pixmap storage.

Hmm, last I looked, both the X server and glibc had mallocs that use mmap()
for allocations larger than a certain threshold, rather than the heap.  Of 
course, pixmaps vary greatly in size....

I think you mention offscreen VRAM in another post.

Pixmaps aren't shared between apps the way fonts are, despite the fact that 
lately many apps use XPM and what amounts to "pixmaps from files".  Then
again, apps tend not to use the same pixmaps, so it probably wouldn't help
much even if they could share them.


> Various stuff has bloated over the years, but it is generally on the
> applications side.  Sometimes you think the X server is bloating, when it
> is really that applications have a pixmap leak, for example.  If your
> application asks the X server to store a 4 megabyte image in it, it
> obediently does so.  This isn't X's fault, but the application's request;
> fix the busted application....

Or the busted kernel, in the case of the old Mach VM in BSD.

I went to fetch KDE and GNOME, and changed my mind.  But you *must* run some
form of Mozilla in order to access all the crazy Web sites, and that baby is, 
well, dunno what to say.  Netscape 6 seems to have a memory leak of *some* 
kind; it develops progressive thrash, irrespective of cache.  (After this, I
have an aversion to hassling for anything more recent.)

Sigh.  For a while there, before the Windows 95 crowd, I could mostly run 
Chimera.  And I thought Netscape at 1.2M on Windows 3.1 was bloated.


> Jim Gettys


-- Jim Howard  <jiho@c-zone.net>


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