Re: 2.5 and lowmemory boxens

From: Andi Kleen (
Date: Fri Oct 18 2002 - 06:35:04 EST

"Samium Gromoff" <> writes:

> first: i`ve successfully ran 2.5.43 on a 386sx20/4M ram notebook.
> the one problem was the ppp over serial not working, but i suspect
> that it just needs to be recompiled with 2.5 headers (am i right?).
> the other was, well, the fact that ultra-stripped 2.5.43
> still used 200k more memory than 2.4.19, and thats despite it was
> compiled with -Os instead of -O2.
> actually it was 2000k free with 2.4 vs 1800k free with 2.5
> i know Rik had plans of some ultra bloody embedded/lowmem
> changes for such cases. i`d like to hear about things in the area :)

I would start with clamping down all the hash tables. A lot of code
does something like:

        mempages *= sizeof(struct list_head);
        for (order = 0; ((1UL << order) << PAGE_SHIFT) < mempages; order++)

        do {
                unsigned long tmp;

                nr_hash = (1UL << order) * PAGE_SIZE /
                        sizeof(struct list_head);
                d_hash_mask = (nr_hash - 1);

                tmp = nr_hash;
                d_hash_shift = 0;
                while ((tmp >>= 1UL) != 0UL)

                dentry_hashtable = (struct list_head *)
                        __get_free_pages(GFP_ATOMIC, order);
        } while (dentry_hashtable == NULL && --order >= 0);

which usually results in too big hash tables.

Unfortunately this isn't a common function that can be tuned centrally
(it *really* should be). But you could grep for hash and change them
all to only use a single page or even less.

More text size could be saved by going through the header files and
uninlining bigger functions.

When you have lots of daemons that hang around in select() or poll()
then it's possible to save 8K for each of them by applying a patch
that allocates data for small select on the stack.

Also Linux by default doesn't use the area in 640k-1MB. If you know
the exact mappings there on your box or trust your e820 table then
you can change setup.c to use the free areas in there.

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Oct 23 2002 - 22:00:40 EST