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A Memory Regression in GNOME Shell 3.6+ | #685513

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Reproduce bug

To reproduce it, you can just start your Monitor and sort your process to memory. Then just hit the Calendar ST and watch what is going on.

Starting my GNOME Shell, takes around 50MB RAM.


After playing a bit with my Shell elements, and more specifically opening Shell Calendar 22 times, the memory goes to 146MB. Every time I open an ST Element I get an average of ~2-3MB more memory consumption, which is a higher number from the rest of bug reports.


Should I avoid updating GNOME cause of it?

The Good News at least in my installation is that this memory consumption stops around in 550MB.


After this point I haven’t other memory issues with GNOME Shell and it doesn’t seem as a memory leak to me. Also I can’t even notice this bug as my total memory is 8GB. So in my very personal box, I don’t have any issues with this, at least in practice.


Milan Bouchet-Valat [developer] says:

If the Shell memory use does not grow indefinitely, then it’s not really a memory leak. There’s nothing wrong with using RAM as long as it’s freed when it’s needed, i.e. when the system is under some memory pressure. Is that the case? Does the Shell reaches e.g. 500MB of resident memory?

and Chad Rodrigue [reporter] rensponds:

It *does* grow indefinitely, yes. With opening and closing programs repeatedly throughout the day.

It does *not* grow simply from poking around in Activities, nor does it grow while idle (so that’s good).

I’ve seen it as high as ~600M.

In my case it doesn’t grow indefinitely, but is hard to say as I haven’t let my box 2-3 days on, to make it sure.

Bug #685513

This bug seems to be an issue both of nVIDIA and GNOME developers and both sides are working on it (at least nVIDIA devs are informed about it). You can track the bug #685513, add your observations and follow the rest of the reports and issues are mentioned there.

For now the only thing you can do for getting a normal RAM use,  is restarting Shell by <Alt+F2>+”r”.

Fedora 18

For Fedora 18 Release this seems to be a NTH (Nice To Have) and not a blocker bug, at least according to #888107 in Red Hat Bugzilla.

My Box

Fedora 18 Beta (GNOME 3.6.3), nVidia 460 with 304.64 drivers and i5 Ivy CPU. That bug also affect GNOME Shell 3.7.3, but the memory numbers are slightly different (smaller RAM consumption).

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  • Bruno Melo

    here (Debian Wheezy+Gnome 3.4+Nvidia drivers) i get 90MB.

    obs: after i log in gdm, take 60 seconds to load the shell. it is very unproductive. Windows is booting faster than Debian. what can i do?

  • Márcio Sousa Rocha

    That happens with radeon driver too. Above 22 clicks on calendar: 135 MB of RAM.

    • Brandon Watkins

      yeah as far as I can see it effects everyone

  • Goran

    Gnome Shell 3.4+Ubuntu 12+NVidia drivers I get the same huge memory consumption. I rarely turn off my computer, usually put it to sleep. Right now Gnome Shell uses 407.7MB. I was hoping that this might have been fixed in 3.6, but obliviously it’s not. And if they claim it’s normal, they’ll never fix it.

    • alex285

      They don’t claim is normal, the above is a verified bug. However 400MB Ram is normal. Chrome goes up to 2GB, and Eclipse/JAVA around 500MB.

      • Goran

        Chrome renders complex HTML5 web applications. What the hell is Gnome Shell doing, as it starts with 90MB? When I close tabs in Chrome the memory consumption goes down. Again why is the Chrome Shell memory consumption going only up, with rare 4-5MB down? Please don’t compare a user application and an OS that has to consume as least amount of RAM as possible. I suspected it was a memory leak due to the java script engine taken from Mozilla. Mozilla used to deny any memory leaks in Firefox and it was behaving the same, as Gnome shell is behaving right now. But after 2 years of denial, they did fix the memory leaking problem in Firefox, so Gnome devs need to work on this problem too!

        • alex285

          Yes I guess your right, bad example of mine. Shell is a bit memory hungry but that doesn’t affect my system. Since there is available RAM, Shell can use as much as it wants. I will try to fill my RAM with another process and see if Shell releases RAM. Because that is what it really matters.

          Btw I never seen my Shell over ~500MB RAM.

  • Name

    I’ve tried that on fedora 18 beta and proces gnome-shell took 1.1 GB ! then i uninstalled it

  • ht

    I just had gnome shell at %60 of 4GB of memory

  • falstaff

    Gnome Shell 3.8.4 uses 2.406GiB RAM after three days running (and daily desktop usage).