32 bit Linux can see 8 GB of memory

In some operating systems, you can only see a little under 4 GB of RAM with a 32 bit OS. It’s a common myth that this would be the case with Linux too.

In Linux, you can see your whole 8 GB of RAM even if you have a 32 bit OS. Memory reserved for a single program is reserved to little under 4 GB, which is rarely a problem.

See screenshot from Ubuntu 11.04 Natty on a HP-Compaq 8200 with 8 GB of RAM. ‘uname -m’ shows I’m running 32-bit (because it doesn’t say “…64…”). ‘free -m’ shows Linux can see about 8 GB of memory.

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