Demystifying the FREE command in LINUX

The free command is used in LINUX to give stats about MEMORY/SWAP usage.
Others may have blogged about this simple command before but most important is HOW to understand & interpret the results.

Beginners might be confused the first time they run the command.
A little theory on MEMORY USAGE in LINUX: “In Linux, unused memory is wasted memory”

That’s why memory is used for caching whenever possible.

I got the following nice illustration from Linux Performance and Tuning Guidelines by IBM (RedPaper)

The amount of FREE MEMORY is calculated by the formula:
FREE = free + buffers + cached

Another website dedicated completely to  the FREE command is :


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