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Bug#730871: general: Filesystem? Some problems with sizes of files.

On Sat, 30 Nov 2013 19:37:41 +0400
Евгений Просветов <e-pros@yandex.ru> wrote:

> When I copied 15.2G file to free 64G flash, I've encountered the next
> error:
> root@home-desktop:~# cp backup272291.tar /media/84D0-F52A/
> cp: запись «/media/84D0-F52A/backup272291.tar»: Файл слишком
> велик
> cp: не удалось расширить
> «/media/84D0-F52A/backup272291.tar»: Файл слишком велик
> (Cannot "expand" the file, it's too big). Here is the source file
> properties:
> root@home-desktop:~# ls -l backup272291.tar
> -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 15195166720 ноя 30 18:30 backup272291.tar
> /dev/sdb1                                                 60G
> 4,1G 56G            7% /media/84D0-F52A
> (Only 4.1G of 60G is filled on /dev/sdb1 now).
> My LXDE filemanager (pcmanfm) declares, that size of the file on
> flash is 4.3G, but its size "on the disk" is more then 137G. What
> does it mean and how is it possible for 64G drive? And what is the
> operation "to expand the file" which is failed?

May be the file you're trying to copy is sparse [1]?  GNU tar does
support this.  Flash drives typically contain FAT32 on them which
doesn't support sparse files, so when copying such a file from a "real"
file system to FAT32 the kernel's copying routine has to "stuff" the

Try running

$ du --apparent-size -h backup272291.tar

to see how much disk space it's worth taking into account its
sparseness, if any.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparse_file

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