Can someone please help me understand the output that I get from the top command? This is the point that the oom-killer is invoked and kills my main application. What exactly is under the VSZ and %VSZ? What is 502m304.5??enter image description here


Your output shows that top is printing some escape sequences that the terminal doesn't recognize. The bits where you see a blank followed by [ followed by more garbage characters are escape sequences that work on most terminals; the first character of those sequences is the escape character, which your terminal prints as a blank. For example, ␛[7m at the beginning of the title line starts inverse video, ␛[0m stops inverse video, etc.

I'm not sure exactly what's going on with the STAT and VSZ column but it seems that top has printed some color-changing sequences there too (that's where the m is coming from), and they've been partially overwritten (top is probably printing a character which does make the cursor go left so that the next character overwrites what was there).

With many programs, setting the TERM environment variable correctly is enough: it should indicate a terminal type that doesn't support any escape sequences. Make sure that you don't have a script that hard-codes a value of TERM somewhere. Try TERM=dumb. If you're using BusyBox, I think its top hard-codes escape sequences that work on most terminals, so you're out of luck. You could run it through a filter that removes escape sequences. Untested, but should work with BusyBox.

script=$(printf 's/\033\\[[0-9;]*[A-Za-z]//g')
sed -e "$script" "$@"

(From this more complete Perl script)


From http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/utilities/ps.html:

vsz = "The size of the process in (virtual) memory in 1024 byte units as a decimal integer."

  • Thank you phk, however if you look at my output it has 502m304.5, what is that? – Cooli May 7 '16 at 14:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.