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Re: what if root partition or any other becomes full

Am Son, 2003-05-04 um 16.54 schrieb Jason M. Harvey:
> hi there!
> from time to time i've thought to ask this. i better ask before it's too
> late.
> i have two debian boxen - one server and one workstation. both have very
> small harddrives... both machines have one root partition that takes up
> the entire drive... with an extra drive in each which is used as extra
> space.
> any idea what would happed to my server if one last upload or one large
> email comes in and fills it up to 100% ?!? will it error-out and tell
> me, or would things get ugly and crash?

That happened to me some time ago, so here is my experience:

The OS wont crash, but a hole lot of programs / deamons will stop
working. I.e. syslog / klogd will complain that they can't safe to the
If you exit WindowMaker it will try to safe its preferences, wich of
course fails and you will lose *all* settings from WindowMaker (good to
have a backup). The same may be the case for *a lot* of programs. 
So: If your disk is full, don't touch anything. Free diskspace ASAP,
then better reboot to restart all services.

> as for my workstation, i am not as concered but would like to prevent a
> fatal crash.
> any thoughts?

Most people recommend not to have one large partition, but more, smaller
ones instead.

Directories to put on its own partition:


*any* user can write to /tmp and thus can fill up your HD
within seconds. Just try dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/big_file as
user nobody.

/var or at least /var/log

A mis-configured caching www or news proxy can collect GigaBytes of data
in a few weeks (/var/spool). 
A faulty drive can fill up your logs in the gigabyte range pretty quick
with error messages /var/log. This went through the list a few weeks
ago. The guys /var/log/syslog was > 5Gb IIRC


Any evil user can fill up your HD as easy as in the /tmp directory.


Matthias Hentges 
Cologne / Germany

[www.hentges.net] -> PGP welcome, HTML tolerated
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My OS: Debian Woody: Geek by Nature, Linux by Choice

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