Linux Kernel 2.2.19 Available Memory Bug

From: John L. Males (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 03:47:43 EST

Hash: SHA1


Please note I am not on the Kernel Mailing List so do try to copy me
in with any reply, questions, clarifications, confirmations, et al on
this bug report.

Before I forget I am using SuSE 6.4 with most of the updates from the
base applied, most meaning I generally lag a bit behind at times. I
am NOT using the SuSE kernel due to bugs introduced into the SuSE
kernel with the SuSE patches/enhancements. I am using the Linus
2.2.19 Kernel with the OpenWall patches. System is AMD K6-2 500
based system. The version of gcc was 2.95.2 to compile the kernel.

The bug I am reporting is that when one sets the amount of memory,
i.e. 128M, 256M; at the time of booting the 2.2.19 kernel the "Total
Memory" as reported by KDE, "free", etc is short by a important
amount. To be more specific I will detail the results of "free"
below against the "mem" value passed to the kernel. Please note for
the purposes of this test I always had 256MB or ram (2x128MB)
installed in my system. The BIOS reports total system memory as


KDE reports 251.09 Total System memory, or 263290880 bytes.

"free -m" indicates "Total Memory" as 251
"free -k" indicates "Total Memory" as 257120
"free -k" indicates "Total Memory" as 263290880

The exact same vaules as noted above are indicated for "mem=262144k",
and "mem=268435546" (256 X 1024 x 1024).


"free -m" indicates "Total Memory" as 124
"free -k" indicates "Total Memory" as 127344
"free -k" indicates "Total Memory" as 130400256


John L. Males
Software I.Q. Consulting
Toronto, Ontario
20 July 2001 03:47

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 23 2001 - 21:00:13 EST