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This question already has an answer here:

I'm using awesome wm with bashets to make a little text widget to display the free memory. I wanted to convert the number from total kB to gigs (i.e. 1.2). this is what I came up with...

mem_Kb=$(grep -i memfree /proc/meminfo | cut -d: -f2 | tr -d [kB] | sed "s/^[ \t]*// ; s/[ \t]*$//")

mem_Gig=$(echo "scale = 1 ; $mem_Kb / 1000000" | bc )

echo mem_Gig: $mem_Gig

what are some better / cleaner ways?

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marked as duplicate by slm, Anthon, jasonwryan, vonbrand, Gilles Jun 9 '13 at 23:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Just use free:

$ free -h
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          7.8G       6.8G       1.0G         0B       166M       4.2G
-/+ buffers/cache:       2.5G       5.2G
Swap:         7.8G       548K       7.8G

So, in your case:

$ mem_Gig=`free -h | awk '$2~/buf/{print $4}'`
$ echo $mem_Gig

From man free:

   -h, --human
          Show all output fields automatically scaled to
          shortest  three  digit  unit  and  display the
          units of print out.  Following units are used.

            B = bytes
            K = kilos
            M = megas
            G = gigas
            T = teras

          If unit is missing, and you have  petabyte  of
          RAM  or  swap,  the number is in terabytes and
          columns might not be aligned with header.

   --si   Use power of 1000 not 1024.

So, if you want to use 1000, not 1024, you can do:

$ mem_Gig=`free -h --si | awk '$2~/buf/{print $4}'`
$ echo $mem_Gig
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@don_crissti OK, answer updated to give both options. – terdon Jun 9 '13 at 15:48
much cleaner. thank you – skinney6 Jun 10 '13 at 14:22

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