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10.4: Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
Authored by: DrLex on Feb 04, '06 04:06:40PM

That's a bit of a lame excuse. Especially if one's Mac has a hard upper limit on the amount of RAM that's needed to feed memory gobbling applications without causing excessive swapping, like my old iBook. Using Safari together with Photoshop is a guarantee for swapping. Even the date menu causes swapping in such situations. And of course Dashboard too, by the time it has loaded I could have grabbed a physical calculator.

Yet, widgets use around 10MB of RAM on my machine. Although it's kind of funny that a basic calculator now uses more memory than the entire OS + applications back in the days of System 8, it's not dramatic considering that each widget is actually a tiny web browser. Of course widgets could have been implemented much more efficiently, but then it would be a lot harder to make new widgets, while now anybody with HTML and JavaScript knowledge can make one.

By the way, each widget has a VSIZE of 150MB, which may seem rather enthousiastic. But since VSIZE actually doesn't mean much, this is nothing to write home about. VSIZE is _not_ the amount of swap used by a program, otherwise my HD would gone nuclear on me as soon as I start up Classic, Safari, Firefox and Dashboard.

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