best way to discover this process's current memory usage, cross-platform?

Neal Norwitz nnorwitz at
Wed Nov 16 07:10:42 CET 2005

Alex Martelli wrote:
> matt <matthewharrison at> wrote:
> > Perhaps you could extend Valgrind ( so it works
> > with python C extensions?  (x86 only)
> Alas, if it's x86 only I won't even look into the task (which does sound
> quite daunting as the way to solve the apparently-elementary question
> "how much virtual memory is this process using right now?"...!), since I
> definitely cannot drop support for all PPC-based Macs (nor would I WANT
> to, since they're my favourite platform anyway).

Valgrind actually runs on PPC (32 only?) and amd64, but I don't think
that's the way to go for this problem.

Here's a really screwy thought that I think should be portable to all
Unixes which have dynamic linking.  LD_PRELOAD.

You can create your own version of malloc (and friends) and free.  You
intercept each call to malloc and free (by making use of LD_PRELOAD),
keep track of the info (pointers and size) and pass the call along to
the real malloc/free.  You then have all information you should need.
It increases the scope of the problem, but I think it makes it soluble
and somewhat cross-platform.  Using LD_PRELOAD, requires the app be
dynamically linked which shouldn't be too big of a deal.  If you are
using C++, you can hook into new/delete directly.


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