40.2. Memory Usage

The free command displays the total amount of physical memory and swap space for the system as well as the amount of memory that is used, free, shared, in kernel buffers, and cached.

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:        645712     549720      95992          0     176248     224452
-/+ buffers/cache:     149020     496692
Swap:      1310712          0    1310712

The command free -m shows the same information in megabytes, which are easier to read.

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           630        536         93          0        172        219
-/+ buffers/cache:        145        485
Swap:         1279          0       1279

If prefer a graphical interface for free, you can use the GNOME System Monitor. To start it from the desktop, go to Applications (the main menu on the panel) => System Tools => System Monitor or type gnome-system-monitor at a shell prompt (such as an XTerm). Choose the System Monitor tab.

Figure 40-2. GNOME System Monitor