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  1.    #1  
    Before deleting some files from RAM (NVFS), I had 11.8 MB free. Then I deleted the files from NVFS and added them to a custom ROM. After the ROM was uploaded, I had 12.3 MB free. So apparently I gained 500k of space by moving some files to ROM. I had read on treocentral.com that moving files to ROM did not free up space on the handheld. Is there something here that I do not understand?

    Please discuss.
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  2. #2  
    Here's an overview of what the RAM and Flash storage look like. The terms "RAM" and "ROM" are somewhat confusing on the Palm platform:

    http://www.grack.com/blog/articles/2...ory-management
  3. #3  
    So us Cingular-ities stand to gain DBCache if we free up some ROM, is that correct?
  4.    #4  
    O.k., so here is what I take from that grack web page:

    1. I freed up some NVFS by moving some files to ROM.

    2. I have less DBCache because of moving the files to ROM.

    3. How much NVFS I have free has nothing to do with how much RAM I have available for running programs.

    4. More programs can be stored on the Treo by stuffing more into ROM because it is compressed. However, the ROM files are uncompressed in RAM, so if I stuff too much into my ROM, I could run into problems by not having enough RAM and/or DBCache.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here: It would be better to have a very small ROM partition and store the programs in NVFS instead (as long as space permits.

    Questions: How are the dynamic RAM and DBCache used while programs are running? Is the RAM used for programs and DBCache used to store (in cache) data?
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonylmiller
    3. How much NVFS I have free has nothing to do with how much RAM I have available for running programs.
    NVFS is a type of memory...it's the type that keeps your data after your battery dies. Your total memory = RAM + ROM.

    That is, if you move a 1 MB program from RAM to ROM, you now have 1 MB less RAM used and therefore more RAM available to install otehr programs.

    So anything you move from one has an effect on how much space is left in the other. If you started with with Real palyer in ROM and Ptunes in RAM and then you delete Real Player from ROM and replace it with Ptunes, then whatever space Ptunes was taking up is now free for you to use for other purposes.
  6.    #6  
    Jack, did you read mmastrac's article? It seems to contradict what you are saying.
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  7. #7  
    In what respect ? I think we just referring to a terminology or semantic issue resulting from what is technically correct and what is "common palm user usage"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVFS_File_System
    http://www.resco.net/palm/explorer/NVFS.htm

    "The new feature on T5/T650 devices is the use of the flash memory or expressed more technically NVFS, Non-Volatile File Storage.

    Technically speaking, NVFS is a file system that stores the files similarly to a card. However, NVFS basic advantage (and reason of being) is that it preserves the data also after the total power discharge.

    NVFS databases can't be accessed directly. Therefore Palm OS reserves part of RAM called DbCache."


    Looking at mmastrac's link it must be noted that the NVFS didn't "have to be" NVFS, it's just the type of memory used. If they used VFS, they could call that areas VFS (volatile file system). Historically, with palm devices, this area of memory whch people can use has been called RAM and the part they can't directly access has been called ROM. Tho perhaps technically incorrect in that RAM is generally volatile, most palm users still tend to refer to it this way.

    Areas with Read Only access are called ROM. RAM is a term "customarily" used for memory which you and or your device can access. Though it is probably outdated, under that "customary" definition, which we are kinda stuck with through users having several generations, the entire NTFS area is stil, thought of as RAM space.

    So when peeps say that your total memory = RAM + ROM it is perhaps an oversimplification resulting from long habit. This simplification is just a familiar means intended to adrress only those areas you can do something about. The 2nd chip, to my knowledge, you can't play with.

    To put it simply and avoid the semantic issues, on chip 1, you an see that there are two storage areas. Anything you take out of the 2nd and put in the first will leave more room in the second.

    The part that is important however is that if you have 9 MB in the first area and 23 MB in the second. Each time you install an app that 23 gets smaller. If you have 10 MB free in the 23 MB area when ya start, and eliminate 1 MB in the 9 by taking out say Real Player and replacing it in ROM with the 1 MB PT. Your free area just went from 10 to 11 MB.
    Last edited by JackNaylorPE; 03/29/2006 at 12:13 PM.
  8.    #8  
    Although I misused the term "RAM" in my first post, I did not know any better at that point.

    In this thread, I suggest we use the correct terminology or else things will get really confusing in a hurry, I think.
    NiceGPSuperior1 is a free GPS program, now with the ability to save your map! Get more info here. It's free! If you like this app and want to encourage development, you can donate from the web page link.

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  9. #9  
    The problem, IMO, is neither is truly the correct terminolgy. If I asked you what partition you had the paging file on in the example below, what would you answer.

    C:\----4 GB----NTFS
    D:\----2 GB----FAT32
    E:\----16GB----NTFS
    F:\----16GB----NTFS

    I believe the correct answer is D:\ .. here we are sayng it's FAT32 cause that just happens to be the way it is formatted. Probably best definition woukd be "Programs Partition" and "ROM partition".

    See message no 52 here for example on "commonly used terms" ... just can't get away from it.

    http://discussion.treocentral.com/sh...d.php?t=110759
    Last edited by JackNaylorPE; 03/29/2006 at 07:04 PM.
  10.    #10  
    I do not doubt that the term "RAM" is often misused. I just think that we should use the correct terms in this thread so that we can understand what is going on. If we understand what is happening with the various types of storage, we can make more intelligent choices about stuffing our ROMs (or not).

    If we are ralking about NVFS, let's not say "RAM". If we are talking about uncompressed ROM in RAM, let's state it that way. I'm assuming that the info in mmastrac's link is correct. He certainly knows more than I do.

    Now, can we get back on topic?
    NiceGPSuperior1 is a free GPS program, now with the ability to save your map! Get more info here. It's free! If you like this app and want to encourage development, you can donate from the web page link.

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  11. #11  
    Didn't know we went off topic . You said:

    I had read on treocentral.com that moving files to ROM did not free up space on the handheld. Is there something here that I do not understand?
    And yes there is something you did not understand. However if you didn't understand the Ptunes / RP example, let me see if I can come up with of a better way to say it. This is how things work as

    Brand new Treo with Chip No. 1 consiting of 23 MB or Program Memory structured as NVFS and 9 MB of ROM, let's say 7.5 of which is used. Removing files from ROM does not free up space. Think of having a hard drive with C:\ as 40 GB (39 used) and D:\ as 40 GB (10 used). Removing files off D:\ Doesn't do anything for C.

    Before - Available (Used)

    C:\ 40 (39)
    D:\ 40 (10)

    After

    C:\ 40 (39)
    D:\ 40 (05)

    But now if we take 9 MB's of Brittany Spears videos off C:\ and move it to D:\ we have

    C:\ 40 (39)
    D:\ 40 (10)

    After

    C:\ 40 (30)
    D:\ 40 (19)

    You now have more room on C:\

    On the Treo

    Before

    ROM 9.0 (7.5)
    ProgMem 23.0 (7.0)

    If I pull out 1.0 MB real player from ROM

    ROM 9.0 (6.5) More room here
    ProgMem 23.0 (7.0) Doesn't do squat for me here

    If I pull out 1.0 MB real player from ROM and take 1.1 PTunes off ProgMem and put in ROM, I have

    ROM 9.0 (7.6) I went up 0.1
    ProgMem 23.0 (8.1) I went up 1.1 MB

    As far as mmastracs terminolgy, all I can say is I can't get comfy with his definition. I mean it's as good a method as any I guess but I find "program memory" or RWM (read/write memory) to be a more accurate term. As explanation, I find it akin to asking what kind of car you have and being told the answer is blue. That memory area could just as well by VFS as it would be in an older Palm and if it was would you call it VFS ? In fact, if you read the definition of NVFS (memory which doesn't lose it's data when power removed) , the entire 32 MB is NVFS. Do you lose your ROM when you take the battery out ? If the answer is no, the way it is stored must be "non voloatile"

    NV = non volatille
    FS = File System

    http://www.red-mercury.com/nvfs.html

    If we wanna use abbreviations, the only thing I see that fits is NVFS-ROM (read only memory) and NVFS-RWM (read/write memory)
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonylmiller
    ...clip... ROM files are uncompressed in RAM, ...clip...

    Correct me if I'm wrong here: It would be better to have a very small ROM partition and store the programs in NVFS instead (as long as space permits.
    I myself have a hard time understanding the deep things going on inside our 32mb.
    But what I clipped out from your post I believe is correct.
    Stuffing things in Rom does not give you more usable memory.
    Just call me Berd.
  13.    #13  
    Jack:

    Yes, I understand your explanations just fine; I just do not want to use the terms "RAM" and "NVFS" interchangeably in this thread.

    After all, it isn't rocket science (anybody get that joke?)!

    It would be more helpful if you could address questions such as:

    Questions: How are the dynamic RAM and DBCache used while programs are running? Is the RAM used for programs and DBCache used to store (in cache) data?
    Thank you for your comments.
    NiceGPSuperior1 is a free GPS program, now with the ability to save your map! Get more info here. It's free! If you like this app and want to encourage development, you can donate from the web page link.

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    Search for "Nice" in the app catalog to see all my apps.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonylmiller
    I just do not want to use the terms "RAM" and "NVFS" interchangeably in this thread.
    Neither should be used at all if we want to be literal. All NVFS stands for is non volatile file system which is a memory type not a memory area. That would be like using "Ford" and "green" interchangeably to describe a Shelby Mustang, neither describing the uniqueness of the car. Again, on chip 1, the entire 32 MB is NVFS, we are only talking about the 23 MB section. I guess "NVFSATIUFR (NVFS area that isn't used for ROM)" would be correct. On chip 2, the entire 32MB is VFS so to be consistent, we would then have to call each of them VFS.


    It would be more helpful if you could address questions such as:
    How are the dynamic RAM and DBCache used while programs are running? Is the RAM used for programs and DBCache used to store (in cache) data?
    The second chip, there's less information out there but here's my understanding. I gonna be short and don't have time to list references cause I have 10:30 I gotta run to.

    Chip 1 (32 MB) stores the non volatile stuff (NVFS - stuff that don't disappear when your battery is yanked), 25-30% of the NVFS chip is used for a ROM image. The remaining 70-75% of the NVFS area is used for program space. Think of this as equivalent to hard disk area on your PC, main difference being instead of a spinning magnetic media you have the equivalent of a 32 MB SD Card with two partitions. The computer's hard disk (or an SD card) is substantially slower than it's RAM (solid state) memory.

    Chip 2 is your solid state memory. It's volatile and much faster with the downside that with battery out, it's gone. When you start your phone, the ROM image on Chip 1 is uncompressed and loaded into the 1st of three sections in your VFS area. Active programs which need faster memory to perform reasonably loaded stuff into the 2nd dynamic RAM area to "do their thing" and the cache area is used for recently used info. PalmPDF, IIRC, is one of the programs that checks the size of this thing and if its less than 5.0 MB (mine is 4.994) defaults to a lower quality image.

    NVFS databases like files on your hard drive, can't be accessed directly. Therefore they are moved to that part of RAM called DbCache. When opened, the databases are copied from NVFS to the DbCache and when done with they are copied back (if modified).

    Stuff tends to get "left" in dbcache as the system assumes you are gonna use it again. Things don't disappear until the space is needed by something else. DbCache can get "filled" because the db's are not immediately purged from the DbCache. For performance reasons, to make your contacts load faster for example, they will stay in the cache as long as there is enough space and they are kicked out by something else.
  15. #15  
    I think the reason this is so confusing is that the orignal PalmOS dragonball devices actually had "RAM" and "ROM" and used them for storage of volatile and non-volatile data respectively. PalmOS' most recent evolution uses "NVFS backed by Flash and cached in SDRAM" to fulfull the exact role that "RAM" used to fulfill. The old "ROM" term is basically now just a segment or partition of the same memory that the NVFS is paged back to, usually stored with a proper filesystem (A special NAND filesystem on the 700p (!) and FAT16 on the Treo).

    To get away from the confusing Palm terms, we could just switch to using "SDRAM" (the type of 32MB RAM chip that the Treo 650 uses) for memory and "Disk On Chip" or "Flash" for the persistant storage (the 32MB flash chip on the Treo).

    Technically, there's no such thing as ROM on the Treo because it can be written so easily.

    So, the Treo 650 has 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash, split approximately between a 9MB OS partition and a 23MB user data FAT partition available via the VFS subsystem backs the NVFS system.

    This is essentially what the diagram on my site shows:

    http://www.grack.com/blog/articles/2...ory-management

    I can guarantee that this information is 100% correct - I've disassembled the phone, taken pictures of all the chips, looked up the chip numbers and ported Linux to it. The only thing with the diagram is that it doesn't use SDRAM/Flash to make things clearer.

    When I get a chance, I'll try to diagram all the layers of PalmOS (DBCache/Storage Heap/NVFS) and how they fit into the SDRAM/Flash picture. This is obviously a confusing point.
    Last edited by mmastrac; 03/30/2006 at 08:58 AM.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonylmiller
    Questions: How are the dynamic RAM and DBCache used while programs are running? Is the RAM used for programs and DBCache used to store (in cache) data?
    My answer to this is to checkout the ? against the 3 memory indicators in the MemoryInfo v1.1 app.

    They tell what each type of memory is used for and what type of reset clears them.
    They ,Palmone, define the following types of memory:

    Storage heap (Flash)
    NVFS DB Cache (RAM)
    Dynamic Heap (RAM)
    Thought of the day :
    No sense being pessimistic, it probably wouldn't work anyway
  17.    #17  
    Thanks guys, this is all good info. I think it will be helpful when we are making decisions about ROM partition size, what to put in ROM vs. available NVFS space, etc. Keep it coming if you have more info.
    NiceGPSuperior1 is a free GPS program, now with the ability to save your map! Get more info here. It's free! If you like this app and want to encourage development, you can donate from the web page link.

    NiceDrudgeReader is a fast, simple reader for The Drudge Report. It is only $0.99, so check it out, too! More info here.

    Search for "Nice" in the app catalog to see all my apps.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by mmastrac
    So, the Treo 650 has 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash, split approximately between a 9MB OS partition and a 23MB user data FAT partition available via the VFS subsystem backs the NVFS system.
    That works for me !
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by JackNaylorPE
    That works for me !
    Woohoo!

    Just so there isn't any ambiguity:

    "So, the Treo 650 has 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash. The Flash is split approximately as a 9MB OS partition and a 23MB user data FAT partition available via the VFS subsystem that backs the NVFS system."

    To avoid future confusion, I highly recommend we all drop the RAM/ROM terms from now on!
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by mmastrac
    Woohoo!

    Just so there isn't any ambiguity:

    "So, the Treo 650 has 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash. The Flash is split approximately as a 9MB OS partition and a 23MB user data FAT partition available via the VFS subsystem that backs the NVFS system."

    To avoid future confusion, I highly recommend we all drop the RAM/ROM terms from now on!
    So are you going to rename the RomTool to OS Partition Tool?
    Just call me Berd.
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