Memory Hogging Visual Studio Code


Visual Studio Code is a fantastic piece of work, and one of the best code editors around (though KDevelop can still give it a run for its money). Nonetheless, it's young, and it has the usual issues a young piece of software has. Recently, while editing this very website with it, I noticed a ridiculous amount of memory usage, even having to invoke the OOM killer get things back in order. The next time it happened, my process list showed the culprit quite clearly.

Plasma 5 System Monitor showing out-of-control rg process

There are quite a few reports about this problem. It's apparently due to a bug in some kind of recursive text search engine called ripgrep. This leads me to believe it's not Microsoft's issue to fix, and this helps highlight one of the major weaknesses of Node.js as a platform. Upstream dependencies can easily become a hot mess. Granted, this happens with libraries in any language or on any platform, but Node.js is one of the most fragmented ecosystems with plenty of opportunities to get hamstrung by someone else's bugs.

Thankfully, there's an easy fix for this problem. By setting the following option to false in the Visual Studio Code settings, the rampant memory overusage will cease.

"search.followSymlinks": false