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swapping madness, 2.6.8-1.521smp

Since I upgraded from RH9 to FC2, I've been having this problem, 
roughly twice daily: I'll come home, and my machine is swapping 
madly.  Logging in from another machine shows something like:

    top - 11:07:41 up 11:58,  3 users,  load average: 9.64, 9.01, 7.60
    Tasks: 134 total,   2 running, 129 sleeping,   0 stopped,   3 zombie
    Cpu(s): 20.1% us,  5.6% sy,  3.6% ni, 36.7% id, 33.8% wa,  0.0% hi,  0.2% si
    Mem:   1034404k total,  1029672k used,     4732k free,      744k buffers
    Swap:  1028152k total,   267844k used,   760308k free,     8456k cached

Now here's the weird thing: I can't tell which process is holding
on to nearly 1GB of memory.

If I kill X, everything settles down and goes back to normal; so
that suggests that the culprit is the X server or some client of
it.  But I can't tell which.

Top (and ps, and /dev/*/map) says that the X server, in times like
this, is only around 150MB.  It is the largest process.  Number two
is Mozilla, at a svelte 89MB.  

Killing Mozilla alone does not fix matters.  I spent some time 
killing off other X clients one at a time, but I wasn't totally
methodical about it, so I didn't find a culprit that way either.

So, clearly some program is going nuts on me here, but the really
weird thing is that I can't tell who all the memory belongs to.

Someone suggested trying "echo 100 > /proc/sys/vm/swappiness" to
see what happens, but that didn't cause any change that I could see.

Any suggestions for what I should look for the next time this 
happens?  Pretty much guarenteed that it will recur within 12 
or 14 hours.

FC2; I've seen this on both kernel-smp-2.6.7-1.494.2.2 and 
kernel-smp-2.6.8-1.521.  Two "AMD Athlon(tm) MP 2800+" on a
GA-7DPXDW-P mobo.


Jamie Zawinski
jwz jwz org             http://www.jwz.org/
jwz dnalounge com       http://www.dnalounge.com/

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