|Red Hat Linux 7.1: The Official Red Hat Linux Customization Guide|
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The free command displays the total amount of physical memory and swap space for the system as well as the amount of memory that are used, free, shared, in kernel buffers, and cached.
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 256812 240668 16144 105176 50520 81848 -/+ buffers/cache: 108300 148512 Swap: 265032 780 264252
The command free -m shows the same information in megabytes, which are easier to read.
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 250 235 15 102 49 79 -/+ buffers/cache: 105 145 Swap: 258 0 258
If you would like to use a graphical interface with free, you can use GNOME System Monitor. To start it, go to the GNOME Main Menu Button => Programs => System => System Monitor or type gtop at a shell prompt. Then choose the Memory Usage tab.