To get the output below, I issued a command
# free -mtwhere
-m => Display amount in megabytes
-t => Add a Total row at the bottom
-s N => Run continuously and update the display every N seconds
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 7871 5995 1875 0 310 3729 -/+ buffers/cache: 1956 5914 Swap: 10047 283 9764 Total: 17919 6279 11640
How do we interpret the results. I would like to credit the article from Determining free memory on Linux for a simple but very good explanation on memory.Here is what I have gathered from the read-up.
Basically, Linux caches blocks from the disk in memory to make data reading as efficient as possible. The buffer cache will shrink to accommodate the increased memory needs.
The actual free memory is column free (1875) + Buffers (310) + Cached (3729). So it is more than we think