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Free your RAM - quit the Finder Desktop
I found a good way to free up RAM - quit the finder. Doing so freed up 100MB on my TiBook! It's so nice not paging to disk as often, and I have more CPU time available.

I used TinkerTool (ed: see Hall of Fame Apps box for link) to add a quit option to the Finder application menu and it works just fine. The drawback is that I don't have my desktop picture! Does anyone know of a program that supplements the Finder Desktop picture capability? This flat blue is getting old ;)

[Editor's note: You can also install SNAX as a Finder replacement; see this hint for details...still no desktop picture, though.]

Panther proven!
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SNAX desktop feature
Authored by: bluehz on Apr 27, '02 10:06:45AM

SNAX has a feature built in that emulates the Finder with desktop pictures. Although I can not seem to get it to display anything besides the blue.jpg.

Open SNAX > Preferences menu and go to the Appearance tab. Pick Desktop picture at bottom. Close dialog.

Select SNAX menu > Show SNAX Desktop.

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Authored by: bobf on Apr 27, '02 10:09:57AM

it is my understanding that darwin attempts to use as much memory as possible so quiting the finder is just a temporary reclaimation... why not let darwin worry the memory management....

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SNAX desktop feature
Authored by: meancode on Apr 28, '02 05:36:41PM

with the Finder quit, you just need to turn on Show SNAX Desktop, and SNAX will display the image you have selected in the Desktop prefPane.

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Desktop Picture & Memory Usage
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 27, '02 11:07:58AM
First, Cycles from CaffeineSoft does a wonderful job of cycling through a set of desktop images. Personally, I use various digital pictures from nature. I posted a couple of digicam shots from my yard that make good desktop images. I'll post more in the future to bbum's Radio WebLog. Search for 'Cycles' on's OS X section to grab the latest version. It also happens to be a very CPU activity gauge, as well.)

Regarding Memory Usage-- someone else responded with the statement of It is my understanding that darwin attempts to use as much memory as possible so quiting the finder is just a temporary reclaimation... why not let darwin worry the memory management. This is only correct in the case where an application is truly idle (or is written such that the anything active is confined to a minimal amount of space). When an application is totally idle, the mach kernel will quite happily page out the pages of memory associated with the application.

However, if an application 'idles' in an active fashion-- say, polling the event queue as opposed to going completely passive until the system informs it that an event has arrived-- then the Mach kernel will not be able to page out the memory associated with the polling thread. As such, not all of the processes pages can ever be swapped out. For the Finder, this is very likely quite a bit of memory as the Finder has to fairly actively deal with notifications that a particular hunk of the filesystem has changed and, as such, needs a redisplay, if appropriate. Looking at the output of top on my machine, the Finder shows:
387 Finder 0.8% 12:31.16 3 105 439 22.1M 21.7M 35.6M 142M
     RPRVT(delta)       the resident private memory.
RSHRD(delta) the resident shared memory (as represented by the res-
ident page count of each shared memory object).
RSIZE(delta) the total resident memory (real pages that this pro-
cess currently has associated with it. Some may be
shared by other processes).
VSIZE(delta) the total address space currently allocated
So, the Finder is currently consuming 142MB of virtual memory, of which 35.6MB is currently actually in memory. Killing the Finder-- in my case-- would free up the 35.6Mb, but that's it (certainly, it would also free up the pages in swap, but that doesn't completely matter.

(bummer -- HTML mode seems to add
s for all of the return characters, as well. Sorry for the vertical space used...)

[From the editor: Edited to fix the HTML mode glitch (no content was changed). You'll be happy to know that the new Geeklog engine does no such thing!]

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Memory Usage
Authored by: bobf on Apr 27, '02 12:41:48PM

i basically agree.....

from top

Finder 0.0% 0:48.13 2 83 419 18.0M 12.9M 18.6M- 74.7M

for me.. quiting the finder would release 18M or so... and i have PBG3/400 w/384M and need the speed i get from buffering to RAM (slow drive).....

still i believe that the system was written to optimize the amount of memory available. basically the more the better.... i just don't know the
limits (top and bottom)... i do know that when i had 192M the system visibly didn't perform as well as it does now...

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Memory Usage
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Apr 27, '02 08:54:00PM
16136 Finder 0.0% 1:06.98 4 91 313 15.9M 13.2M 24.5M 78.2M when i posted this i was going by the memory usage graph from system manager i also had about twice as meny windows open in the finder. i also descovered snax in the period of time since i submitted the artical, it does add the desktop picture, but it does the same thing as the finder in that it hogs RAM (though not quite as much) my last issue of a finder free existance, is that snax, and dragthing refuse to eject disks without the finder running. i supose i could just use the command line and unmount but i want my gui hooks to work :D (BTW, i'm starting to use Entourge less for the same reason as the finder :D)

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Memory Usage
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Apr 28, '02 04:34:37AM

and after opening 50-zilion windows in the finder here is my usage:

16207 Finder 0.0% 0:24.59 2 87 443 23.9M 22.6M 20.0M 32.8M 93.2M

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SNAX desktop
Authored by: dr_turgeon on Apr 28, '02 01:49:19AM
Seems to show whatever jpg the Finder has set to show itself. So try using System Preferences to set your desktop.

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Panther Experiacnes
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Oct 28, '03 12:03:47AM

works fine, and the desktop even stays put now :)

vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.

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