As with kernel space, the different ways of allocating, mapping and sharing user space memory make it quite difficult to answer this seemingly simple question.
To begin with, you can ask the kernel how much memory it thinks is available, which you can do by using the
free command. Here is a typical example of the output:
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 509016 504312 4704 0 26456 363860 -/+ buffers/cache: 113996 395020 Swap: 0 0 0
At first sight, this looks like a system that is almost out of memory with only 4704 KiB free out of 509,016 KiB: less than 1%. However, note that 26,456 KiB is in buffers and a whopping 363,860 KiB is in cache. Linux believes that free memory is wasted memory and so ...