Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Temporary Like Achilles

Today I got a perfect demonstration of why you want /tmp and /var/tmp on a separate partition in any serious server installation.

It came at an inopportune moment, as I was already cursing at Amarok 2 for its failure to copy all the music from my Creative Zen to my laptop. I discovered a way to downgrade to Amarok 1.4, but when I went to run Synaptic I got an error: "Failed to run /usr/sbin/synaptic as user root. Unable to copy the user's Xauthorization file." I tried it a few more times with the same results.

After Googling for an answer, I came upon a forum post that suggested I might be out of disk space. So I checked. Yep, sure enough, something had barfed about 2.3 GB into my 8-GB root partition. It was almost completely full.

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5 7.6G 7.2G 0 100% /
tmpfs 1.5G 0 1.5G 0% /lib/init/rw
varrun 1.5G 164K 1.5G 1% /var/run
varlock 1.5G 0 1.5G 0% /var/lock
udev 1.5G 164K 1.5G 1% /dev
tmpfs 1.5G 1.7M 1.5G 1% /dev/shm
lrm 1.5G 2.5M 1.5G 1% /lib/modules/2.6.28-13-generic/volatile
/dev/sda1 111M 28M 77M 27% /boot
/dev/sda6 129G 71G 51G 59% /home

I went on the hunt for the offending files. With the du command, it didn't take long to find them—in a directory called /tmp/kde-josh/amarok4ddofD, of course. (Curse you, Amarok 2!) They were all the MP3s I had been trying to copy to my home directory but somehow never made it there. I removed them in a hurry and breathed a sigh of relief.

Now to see if the Amarok downgrade worked…

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