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How to understand Linux top command result for a process?


You don't say if you have touched any of the allocated memory or not. Linux (by default) has a slightly unusual memory allocation strategy: when you call malloc the call always succeeds. "But what if there is no memory?" you ask. Well malloc doesn't get you a page of physical memory, just a page in your virtual address space (which is basically limitless). You will get a page fault when you try to access any of these pages and at this point the kernel will find you a physical page for your memory.

So that leaves us with the following:

Q1) RES is unchanged because you didn't ever use any more memory by allocating

Q2) VIRT (virtual memory allocated to task) has increased because you allocated virtual memory. This remains even after you free it, but since it isn't backed by physical memory it really doesn't matter.

I don't think I have enough information to answer Q3.


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