Key tools and files

swapon: enable swap.

swapoff: disable swap.

/etc/fstab: set up a permanent swap partition or swap file.

free: see system memory consumption, including swapped amount.

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness: indicates how much the linux kernel will make use of the swap space.

Understand your system

How to prevent system lock-ups: when a process eats up all the memory

A couple of days ago, I had the painful experience of having a process slowly but surely eating up all the available memory, filling up the swap memory, living me agonizing in front of a computer that wouldn't respond, too busy as it was to slowly die. If I take the trouble to relate the experience, it's because I believe a proper Linux distribution should take pro-active measures so prevent this kind of occurrence and allow the experienced user to take measures to recover from a potentially disastrous mistake.

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