Friday, 6 May 2016

KDE Plasma 4 Memory Problems

Yesterday I wrote that after using Elementary OS Freya for quite a long time I finally decided to move back to Mint.  Now, my desktop of choice is obviously KDE.  And as I mentioned I installed KDE on top of the Mint 17.3 iso I had burned.  And all seemed to work beautifully, long enough to write my blog entry.

Later in the day though I felt the system loading up and checked resources.  This computer only has 4GB of RAM, and Mint with KDE installed was chewing up over 3.5GB!

To top that off, plasma-desktop was hogging around 900MB of that even after all open programs were closed.  A quick restart of plasma without actually logging out brought plasma's memory use back to a bit over 130MB.

Over the next few hours plasma-desktop kept creeping up and up and the system got slower and slower.  A quick restart of plasma and it all began again.

A bit of Googling showed this has been an on-going problem with plasma for years and it is still an issue with the new Plasma 5.  So I did a little thinking on it.  I had this problem in the past with Kubuntu.  And I had it previously when I installed KDE on top of Mint MATE or Cinnamon.

I tried all sorts of tweaks and settings and config file mods.  I even played with proprietary drivers and turned off all desktop effects and killed things like Docky.  Installed lighter weight browsers, because the thing that trigger the freezing was saving a web page as a PDF from any of the browsers.  But nothing worked.

Anyway, this morning I decided to download and install Mint 17.3 KDE version and try it.

The results are startling so far.  The memory leak is still there to some extent and RAM still creeps up, but over a whole day and with everything running, including two monitors with multiple desktops with separate wallpaper on every desktop on both monitors (that's 8 separate wallpapers) some of which are images, some are slideshows and one is a video wallpaper showing through an oval port hole on the secondary screen.

And as well as normal programs I had Openshot rendering a video.  Plasma-desktop RAM use got way up to 167MB for a while and is now back to 148MB.

And on the next day...
I added an Activity (that's like adding an extra computer within my computer, complete with all the virtual desktops etc). and now there are two screens with two activities, each with 4 virtual desktops per activity.  So KDE is coping nicely with 16 virtual desktops across two monitors.

plasma-desktop is averaging 150MB to 180MB of RAM use and total memory use is staying around 1.1GB to 1.6GB.

Seems that if you install a KDE desktop, you should NOT install any other desktops (Don;t install Mate, Cinnamon, XFCE ets and switch between them at login).

And if you install any GNOME based distro and add other desktops, DON'T add KDE.

You can add most, but not all, GNOME programs to KDE, but even then, if there's a KDE version of the program that will do the job, it is better to use it.
If for example you install Nautilus or NEMO in KDE, you run the risk of breaking KDE.

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