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Old 05-21-2009, 11:14 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: WI, USA
Distribution: Debian, Lenny
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Filesystem management - /tmp full

Today I got on my PC and began my daily tasks to find that my /tmp filesystem seems to be full. I can't even initiate downloads from Iceweasel.
$ df
Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda1              6728280   6402620         0 100% /
tmpfs                   257108         0    257108   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                     10240       124     10116   2% /dev
tmpfs                   257108         0    257108   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hda6             18722372  10310664   7460664  59% /home
overflow                  1024      1024         0 100% /tmp
I don't recall ever seeing "overflow" there before, and I thought that /tmp was part of a different (much larger) filesystem. 1MB isn't enough to do hardly anything; I don't understand why there would only be 1MB for /tmp. Also, I notice that my hda1 seems to be full. I imagine that this is what's causing the problem. If so, is there an easy way to free space on that partition (temporary files etc.)? I know that buying a $50 HDD could easily increase my HDD space by around 25x, but I'm a bit tight on funds at the moment.
Old 05-21-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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cd /tmp; ls -AlS /tmp | more

Then remove some if you think it is safe.

also do the same for /var/tmp
Old 05-21-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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The most worrying pointer is that / is full.

This should never happen, as root usually reserves 5% of the space on / just in case the filesystem gets full and ordinary users can no longer login. Because there's still a bit of space reserved exclusively for root, root can login, perhaps without a GUI, and tidy things up.

Have you been running as root, or a normal user?
Old 05-21-2009, 01:46 PM   #4
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Registered: May 2009
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$ df
shows you are running as an ordinary user, so something an ordinary user is doing has filled up your /tmp which will be a folder on /, your /dev/hda1

When root fills up your / partition, the system dies a horrible death until you boot with a CD and make some space again.

I see you have
tmpfs                   257108         0    257108   0% /dev/shm
that about 256Mb. By defualt /dev/shm is assigned a maximum of half your RAM but it expands from nothing to that limit as you use it. It can also be swapped if RAM is needed.

Provided you do not use /tmp to save anything across reboots you can make your /tmp in RAM
Old 05-21-2009, 02:21 PM   #5
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Start by using the following command to quickly free up some space so you can work on this issue.

aptitude clean

that will delete any debian packages in your package cache, which will not harm your system in any way, but should free up some space so you can work on cleaning up your drive space issue with your root partition '/'.

to free up a tiny bit more space

aptitude purge ~c

That will remove any configuration files that are left over from packages you have previously uninstalled.

then I would install locales to purge your system of man pages for languages you can't or don't read..

aptitude install locales

You should now have a bit of free space in which to work to find out where all your disk space has gone..

you may also want to look into utilites such as deborphan and debfoster

Last edited by farslayer; 05-21-2009 at 02:29 PM.
Old 05-22-2009, 12:04 AM   #6
Registered: Jul 2007
Location: WI, USA
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Well, I've manually removed my packages downloaded with apt manually, made sure locals was installed and I removed a couple bytes from /tmp so that I can at least send email. In /var/tmp, there's only about 11MB of data, so I'm not too concerned about clearing that and risking crashing something that needed that data. I've yet to read about deborphan and debfoster, but I'll do that.

I've been running as a normal user, although as administrator I can su to root.

By cleaning apt's cache I've freed 162MB of data, so I guess that's enough to live on. Unfortunately, I had 200MB+ of updates to do, so I had to update in chunks: apt-get upgrade, cancel part way through, dpkg -i *.deb in the cache folder, apt-get clean and then start over again.

In the meantime, any suggestions for HDD conservation?
Old 05-22-2009, 12:12 AM   #7
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Use the df and du tools to find out hwere the disk space is beaing used.
Check /var/log dir for large logfiles. Is logrotate functioning? Check via mailx as root to see if you've had any warnings. See also /var/log/messages.


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