Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 73156
gnome-terminal leaks memory
Last modified: 2008-05-01 11:38:03 EDT
Description of Problem:
Just after installing RedHat Null, I made little user interface customizatioms,
but noticed that "gnome-terminal" is leaking memory continuously. To check on
this, I launched a "gnome-terminal" window, then ran "top" and chose to sort
listing by memory usage by pressing M. I left "top" running alone on the system
and could see that the percentage of memory being used by "gnome-terminal" was
increasing at a slow, but constant rate, without doing nothing, except showing
the output from the "top" command.
Also, using "gnome-terminal" for simple things like doing an "ls", etc. can make
"gnome-terminal" to consume up to 100MB of RAM. I thought this was caused by
using a transparent background, but using a solid background produces the same
effect. Then, I thought it could be caused by the scrollback buffer, but it has
been configured for a maximum of 318KB.
I think the problem is related to window updates on "gnome-terminal": if I leave
the "gnome-terminal" window completely idle, with no processes generating
output, "gnome-terminal" does not leak memory. However, doing a simple "ls"
several times, increases the memory usage of "gnome-terminal" several kilobytes up.
Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
gnome-terminal-2.0.1-2 and gnome-terminal-2.0.1-3 (from RawHide)
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Launch a *single* "gnome-terminal" (we don't want other terminals from
2. Run "top" inside it
3. Press M to force sort by memory usage
4. Press S 1 to refresh every second
5. On my machine, the %MEM column for my 80x24 "gnome-terminal" process
increases at 0.1% every two seconds. By substracting the SIZE column between
snapshots of "top" (every 1 second), it seems "gnome-terminal" is steadiliy
leaking 244 KBytes per second. That's too much memory for a single "top" process
running on a terminal.
On my machine, "gnome-terminal" leaks memory steadily at 0.1% rate every two
seconds. This is on a P4-2GHz with 521MB of RAM.
I expect "gnome-terminal" to not consume 244KB of memory per second when running
a simple "top" command that is refreshing its output every 1 second. Also, after
running "gnome-terminal" for 5 seconds of real CPU usage (two minutes of real
time), its size has grown up to a RSS (resident size) of 66M. That's a lot of
memory for a terminal, don't you think?
Should I bug this to bugzilla.gnome.org too?
Should be fixed in newer vte e.g. 0.8.14
(be sure to reopen this if not fixed)
I don't see this in vte-0.8.15-1.
CLOSING -> RAWHIDE
Well, it's not completely fixed... I have tested this with vte-0.8.19-1 and have
found it only occurs when running the entire desktop on a Xvnc session:
If I run X-Window locally (for example, by entering run level 5, and accessing
my session from gdm while using a standard X server), gnome-terminal does not
leak memory, although it stays stable at a whopping 11MB of memory (a lot of
memory for a terminal).
But, if I configure the Xvnc server by modifying "/etc/sysconfig/vncserver" and
adding the following line:
then invoke "/etc/init.d/vncserver start" and next use "vncviewer" from my
laptop, when I see the remote desktop and launch "gnome-terminal", it *does*
leak memory as described in the bug report.
I'm still seeing a leak myself (vte-0.8.19-1, built from SRPM). If I start
xcdroast from a gnome-terminal and create a CD, almost all of my memory is used
up in the process.
[root@gemini root]# xcdroast &
** WARNING **: The X-CD-Roast wrapper seems not to have the correct
** WARNING **: So do as root something like that:
chown root:cdwrite /usr/lib/xcdroast-0.98/bin/xcdrwrap;
chmod 2755 /usr/lib/xcdroast-0.98/bin/xcdrwrap
** WARNING **: For more information read
*** NOTE ***:
This permission warning and the following set-uid bit warnings
can be safely ignored, if you want to run X-CD-Roast as root only.
+ Done xcdroast
[root@gemini root]# free
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 1031032 837548 193484 0 20160 739176
-/+ buffers/cache: 78212 952820
Swap: 1052216 0 1052216
*** Bug 75498 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
there are a whole family of this one out there...
bug 73226: gnome-terminal has serious memory leak (even when idle)
bug 74972: Memory leak in gnome-terminal
bug 75270: Incredibly bad memory leaks in gnome-terminal, causing entir.. 
bug 76219: gnome-terminal memory leak
bug 76410: memory leak causes swap file to max and crashes system
They are all about the same issue. Perhaps they should be made duplicates of
If ftp://people.redhat.com/hp/testing/ fixes the problem it's an Xft bug
and can be closed (consider marking dup of 76219 or vice versa)
dark@c2i, thanks a lot for finding those dups, it really does save us a lot of
Havoc's Xft-2.0.4 fixed this for me. A 'top' running on a vncviewer'd
gnome-terminal now behaves as it should, and the memory usage of individual
terms once their scrollback buffers are full seems stable.
We have been running this for a few weeks now, with all functioning correctly
via remote xdm sessions. Thanks
*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of 76219 ***
Changed to 'CLOSED' state since 'RESOLVED' has been deprecated.