In GNOME Shell 3.6 and 3.7.3, there is a huge memory consumption that can easily reproduce by opening Shell elements. While this at begging was thought to affect only nVIDIA drivers, it seems that also affects Ivy and Sandy chips.
There isn’t any report for AMD chips, so if you are interested you can test it, and file some bugs.
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.
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”.
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.
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).