Yes, the way GIMP uses GLIB's memory allocation needs to be reviewed.

This problem was reported before in (re-assigned to GEGL,
though I believe this is really a GIMP problem).

Try running GIMP thus:

export MALLOC_MMAP_MAX_=200000
export MALLOC_MMAP_THRESHOLD_=128*1024
gimp-2.9  ....

On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Elle Stone <>

> My system has 32GB RAM. I'm running Gentoo Linux and using GIMP 2.9
> updated very recently.
> I opened five or six large (1 to 2 GB each) XCF files and then closed all
> but one of the files (not having an image browser that can produce a
> thumbnail for GIMP 2.9 XCF files, I was trying to figure out which file was
> which).
> After closing all but one of the files, GIMP was still using 27GB
> virtual/25GB resident, and 79% of total RAM. I tried to decompose a layer
> in the single remaining open file and got the following two error messages:
> Unable to run plug-in "decompose"
> (/home/elle/code/gimplch/install/lib/gimp/2.0/plug-ins/decompose)
> Failed to fork (Cannot allocate memory)
> Execution error for 'Decompose':
> Failed to run plug-in "decompose"
> Closing GIMP and then restarting and reopening just the one file resulted
> in much less RAM usage, and there was no problem with decomposing the layer.
> There are several RAM-related open bug reports, but all of them seem to be
> about Windows and/or GIMP 2.8.
> Tying up all that memory means other applications sometimes don't have
> enough temp space to function properly. For example I repeated the "open a
> bunch of XCF files and close all but one" procedure to verify that it
> really is a reproducible problem, and Thunderbird couldn't save a copy of
> this email as a draft message.
> I think maybe GIMP (and/or GEGL?) really isn't releasing RAM when it
> should. But maybe also I have some incompatible settings:
> 1. In System Resources in GIMP Preferences, I have the tile cache size set
> to 15GB - too much?
> 2. I allocated 12GB as a dynamically expanding tmp file in fstab (tmpfs
> /tmp tmpfs noatime,nodiratime,size=12G 0 0).
> 3. I use the following lines to start GIMP:
> export GEGL_SWAP
> Are the above three settings for RAM usage perhaps in conflict with one
> another?
> Best,
> Elle
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