Ok, so after some mail activity Benoit created a patch which displays ‘writeable memory’ in the GUI, which gives a better approximation of actual usage compared to the older numbers. Waldo Bastien pointed me to a blog entry from Lubos Lunak about a tool called exmap which displays something its calls ‘effective memory’ which Lubos thinks is a relativly decent value for describing how much memory an application actually use. I made a screenshot showing both the patched gnome system monitor and exmap displaying the memory usage of the clock applet. If those numbers are to believed the clock applet uses somewhere between 3 and 6 MB of memory, which might seem a bit on the high side. (but lets remember that the ‘clock applet’ is not just a clock, its a calendering application integrating with evolution data server giving you an overview of your monthly meetings etc.).
Anecdotaly exmap is the first app I ever used outside the Mandrake admin tools which use the perl-GTK2 bindings to write its GUI. Maybe there still is some hope for Perl :)
Not sure panel-applets are a good/easy testcase for memory measurement, so I looked at X-Chat using these new numbers too, exmap reports effective memory usage of 3.6 MB, g-s-m reports writeable memory at 8MB and resident memory of 11.6MB (resident memory number seemed to be the ‘old’ number people tended to be using when discussing memory usage).