[conspire] How much memory each process is taking up

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Feb 24 18:44:03 PST 2009

Quoting Eric De Mund (ead-conspire at ixian.com):

> Of course, the elephant in the room is still Firefox/Iceweasel...

It turns out, I have Firefox/iceweasel 3.0.6 to thank for autorunning
gconfd-2.  This would have been obvious if I'd looked at the process
list more closely:

rmoen     2708  2.4  5.2 202656 109912 ?       Ssl  15:18   4:47 /usr/lib/iceweasel/firefox-bin -a iceweasel
rmoen     2710  0.0  0.1   5308  2220 ?        S    15:18   0:00 /usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconfd-2 11

Notice those are consecutively launched processes (not counting 2709,
which went away), both run by user rmoen.  Searching around find an

   First, there *is* a gconf dependency in Firefox, but it is a "soft"
   dependency.  While Firefox may not be actively using gconf2, it
   definitely now looks for and executes it if found.  I found Mozilla dev
   posts that discussed having integrated Firefox with both the gconf
   (gnome config database) and gnomevfs (virtual file system) libraries. In
   the SUSE rpm, gconf2 is listed as a dependency.  When either Firefox
   32-bit or 64-bit is executed, it invokes the gconf2 daemon (gconfd-2).
   On SUSE, the 32-bit looks for the file under /opt/gnome/ while the
   64-bit looks for it under /usr/lib/ (note: not /usr/lib64/).  In
   Ksysguard you see gconf2 spawned by Firefox (if gconf2 is there); a few
   moments after closing Firefox gconf2 closes down.  It seems it is there
   as a developer's option; on my system, the gconf database is empty, it
   is not being used for anything. This is not a SUSE-only thing.  In the
   Mozilla .tar installation, having moved out the previous ~/.mozilla
   profile folder so that it gets re-created, Firefox still calls gconf2.
   There are also two libraries in the .tar that apparently are there in
   the event that gconf or gnomevfs is being used; they are in the
   /components folder as libmozgnome.so and libnkgnomevfs.so.  They can be
   removed and Firefox still runs fine, but it still calls gconfd-2.

So, even though it's basically pointless, I can't avoid running gconfd-2
any time I run Firefox 3.x -- except that I could, of course, just
remove it.  Or could I?

borgia:~# apt-get --purge remove gconf2 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer
  libgtop2-common libgnomeui-common libgnome-keyring0 python-numeric
libbonoboui2-common esound-common python-pyorbit python-gtkhtml2
libgconf2-4 libesd0
  libgnomecanvas2-0 python-glade2 sudo libidl0 libbonobo2-0
libaudiofile0 libgnomecanvas2-common gconf2-common libgtop2-7
gnome-mime-data liborbit2
  libbonobo2-common libavahi-glib1 python-gtk2 python-cairo
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  foomatic-gui* gconf2* gksu* gnome-keyring* libbonoboui2-0* libgksu2-0*
libgnome2-0* libgnome2-common* libgnomeui-0* libgnomevfs2-0* 
 libgnomevfs2-common* python-gnome2*
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 12 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
After this operation, 18.0MB disk space will be freed.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? 

Suppose I wanted to keep libgnome2-common and some of the other libs
around, just in anticipation of wanting to cherry-pick some apps out of
GNOME (say, AbiWord or gnumeric)?  Surely I wouldn't be required to
run a pointless service process, just to qualify for having a couple of
_libraries_ on my system?

Sorry, Mr. Moen.  You lose.  Welcome to the GNOME dependency hairball,
whether you want it or not.

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