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October 21 2010

sourcefrog : Is swap space obsolete?

There was a thread on the CLUG list recently about whether it was still useful to have swap space, now that it's quite affordable to have a gigabyte or more of memory on a desktop machine. I think it is.

Some people have the idea that touching swap space at all is a sign that the machine is very overloaded, and so you ought to avoid it at all costs, by adding enough memory that the machine "never needs to swap". This may have been true on Unix ten years ago, and may still be true on some systems for all I know but it's not true for Linux.
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