Finding available memory without shell, how to use hasMemory()

Richmond richmondmathewson at
Thu Feb 20 21:09:20 CET 2014

On 20/02/14 21:07, Gabriel Johnson wrote:
> Hey All,
> I am working on a program where I need to know the amount of available
> memory.
> I'm running on OS X and hasMemory() appears to return true/false for the
> same values regardless changes to free/available memory. Is there some
> trick to getting hasMemory() to correspond with the actual available
> memory? Is this possibly something that is being addressed in newer
> versions of LiveCode?
> As a side note, we would prefer to only use external programs/the shell
> sparingly. I've used both top and vm_stat and each appeared to have
> presented problems (top seemed to have changed in Mountain Lion and vm_stat
> seems to occasionally fail for a reason I haven't yet figured out). If the
> shell / external process is the only way then I guess we'll work through it.
> Gabe
> _______________________________________________

I would suggest that you read the documentation which states this (LC 6.6):

"This function is only partially implemented, and may not return useful 
values on some platforms. It is included in LiveCode for compatibility 
with imported SuperCard projects.

  Cross-platform note: On Mac OS systems, the value returned depends on 
the amount of free memory in the application heap and does not take 
available temporary memory into account. This means that even if the 
hasMemory function returns false, there may be enough system memory 
available for the task, since LiveCode uses temporary memory when 

So, probably, rather a waste of time.

Exploring hasMemory() further I realise it will NOT tell you how much 
free memory you have as you have to provide parameters inside those
brackets. What is (might) do is tell you whether the amount of free 
memory exceeds the amount you specify within those brackets.


Over her on Linux you can do this in a terminal:

cat /proc/meminfo

which gives you loads of funny numbers: the second of which is 'MemFree'

I don't know whether that works on Mac OS X, but as they share a common 
ancestry (they do, ye know), it might.


What might be useful in LC is something that yields the equivalent of 
MemFree (or its equivalent on Mac and Windows).

Mind you if you are worrying about how much free memory the host 
computer has you must be running some sort of monster thing.


You can also just type 'free' into a Terminal, at which point the 
numbers are a lot less funny insofar as they are better labelled
and easier to understand.


On a marginally tangential note . . .

In another universe where everything is marvellous we might have a 
Livecode which would do all and everything for us
without having to rely on anything external at all (perhaps even bring 
us coffee in bed on Sunday mornings).

But that other universe would feature one type of computer, running one 
operating system; neither of which changed,
and be incredibly, unutterably boring.

We all, on this Use-list and beyond, would like a programming 
environment that "did it all" but that is not possible.

What never ceases to amaze me is just how much Livecode can do; and what 
never ceases to amaze me is how little I know
about Livecode's capabilities after about 13 years with it, and how much 
I learn everytime I try to do something new (however
trivial) with it. [OK, OK, RunRev; contact me off-list for my bank acc. 
number for the fees for that one . . . . . LOL].


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