SUMMARY: Openwin v2 memory requirements

From: Walter F. Hartheimer (
Date: Wed Feb 26 1992 - 20:29:28 CST


Our organization is moving to Sun's Xbased OpenWindows. Our Sparc IPCs
have only 8 Megs on memory. We have experienced that OpenWindows runs poorly
with this memory capacity. Perfmeter says that swapping occurs constantly
on an IPC running nothing but the window manager (and a remote perfmeter).

1) Is there a way to get acceptable performance on a Sparc with only
8 megs running OpenWindows?

2) If not, what are the MINUMUM memory requirements for the ACCEPTABLE
operation of OpenWindows on a Sparc IPC?

Consensus is:

8 MEGS is never enough as I had discovered. MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE is 12 MEGS
which according to many is adequate. Incremental improvements are achieved
with 16 MEGS+.

Many people said that memory is cheap. Not really in my view! When we
once bought memory in 1 MB chunks at $50.00 a piece this may have been
true. But with current memory hogs abound we tend to buy memory in 4
MEG hunks at $150 a piece. Because of the limitted space in IPC system
boards this tends to orphan 1 MB SIMMS that must find a home elsewhere.

Other people recommended abandoning OpenWindows in favor of X11R5 to
lower the MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE to 8 MEGS on Sparc IPCs though this may
still not be enough.

There was more than one respondent who expressed dissapointment with
the piggyness of OpenWindows in terms of memory requirements. Some
pointed out that they experienced excessive page and swap with 32 MEGS
plus especially with the use of SPARCprinter software.

Several people recommended that as a rule buy Sparcs at the minumum memory
configuration and purchase memory after market.

Another alternative was to agressively strip all unnecessary device drivers
from the kernal even to the point of making the IPC nothing more than
an X terminal in terms of functionality.

Thanks to:

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