Freeing some partition space...

James Wilkinson james at
Wed Jan 26 17:39:51 UTC 2005

Gustavo Seabra wrote:
> I'm running out of space in the / (root) partition. To free some space, 
> I want to clean the temporary files in /tmp, but I heard a while ago 
> that it might break something if done while running a graphical desktop. 
> How can I clean it then?

Log out, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get to a text screen, log in as root,
check that the output of mount looks sane.

This is important! Some scripts and programs will mount other stuff
under /tmp (e.g. /tmp/windows). If you're not careful, you can delete
stuff you don't mean to delete.

Then remove stuff from under /tmp. Try

shopt -s dotglob
rm -ri /tmp/*
shopt -u dotglob

Or (possibly safer)
find /tmp -xdev -ok rm {} \;

When you're happy with what's happening, replace rm -ri with rm -rf (but
*do* be careful), or -ok with -exec.

Press Alt+F7 to get back to the graphics mode.

> Also, I believe someone suggested to clean this area every time the 
> computer boots. How can I set it up for that?

Well, my preferred option is to have plenty of swap space and put this
line in /etc/fstab:
none       /tmp        tmpfs   defaults        0 0
Then files held in /tmp will be held in memory or in the swap file (as
the Linux virtual memory manager sees fit). In either case, when you
reboot the computer, the contents will be lost.

> Does anyone has any suggestions of what else I could clean up to free 
> some extra space? (I'm using an old computer with just 5G for the root 
> partition.)

Old kernels. Old Fedora packaged kernels. Keep a Known Good kernel, your
current one, and *maybe* one you've just installed until you're happy
with it. Then get rid of the old current one.

Check root's home directory.

What other partitions do you have? If /var isn't separate, there are a
lot of things that take up masses of space in /var.

Hope this helps,

James Wilkinson       | Telsa ruthlessly depopulates the cuddly toy pile.
Exeter    Devon    UK | There is only room for so many penguins in any one
E-mail address: james | house. Alan wakes. Telsa throws cuddly toys down the  | stairwell. Alan is struck by a blinding flash of
                      | penguin.  -- Telsa Gwynne's Diary.

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