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Re: /var/lib/apt/lists/partial fills entire partition

On 01/09/15 16:43, Cindy-Sue Causey wrote:
> On 9/1/15, Elimar Riesebieter <riesebie@lxtec.de> wrote:
>> * Tony van der Hoff <tony@vanderhoff.org> [2015-09-01 14:17 +0200]:
>>> On this jessie box I have started to see /var/lib/apt/lists/partial
>>> gradually filling the entire 2.7 GiB /var partition with hundreds of
>>> smallish files. Google show some results for a similar, but not
>>> identical problem for Ubuntu but I can't find anything matching this.
>>> This problem has developed over the last few days.
>>> A partial directory listing is attached (to circumvent wrapping).
>>> Can anyone suggest a remedy to this problem, please?
>> Try
>> # apt-get clean
>> From apt-get(8):
>> clean clears out the local repository of retrieved package files. It
>> removes everything but the lock file from /var/cache/apt/archives/ and
>> /var/cache/apt/archives/partial/.
>> So after an apt-get update /var/lib/apt/lists/partial should be
>> recharged at least to zero size.
> Let us know if it starts filling back up again. I'd already started an
> answer and had to run outside and... put the trash can on the curb.
> Part of that answer was to say that location is where at least apt
> (via apt-get update) temporarily stores "partial" files as its
> downloading updates from our *_CHOICE_* of repositories. If partial
> continues magically self-propagating and not emptying, obviously
> something needs dissected/triggered/toggled off if it's not you
> manually, consciously performing related [functions] that would result
> in that activity.
> If you use something other than apt (apt-get) to update your software,
> do they offer the option to update automatically? Maybe that's toggled
> on?
> I'm just... looking at your output there and comparing it to mine.
> Your partial for this one, e.g.:
> 4584913 Sep  1 13:58
> ftp.uk.debian.org_debian_dists_jessie_main_i18n_Translation-en.bz2
> You're talking about a zip file that got hung up there for some
> reason. Maybe it's not completely downloaded so then you have to track
> down why...
> Or maybe the system's not finishing the transaction after a successful
> download for some reason?
> In my case, I've actually sat here and watched it run live. Those
> partials *APPEAR* to become what's in the next step up, the parent
> directory, /var/lib/apt/lists.
> So the question is potentially two-fold. Why is there SO MUCH of that
> activity if user is NOT manually/knowingly generating it.... and/or
> why is the process not completing successfully if it's a legitimately
> approved auto-update?
> Speaking firsthand, one way it MIGHT happen is if someone is on
> something like dialup or alternately if they only access the Internet
> sporadically (i.e. disconnect unexpectedly throughout the day). Those
> update related downloads would get interrupted, and that MIGHT be one
> cause for what's showing in OP's partial directory.
> My take on this is coming from firsthand experience rather than
> knowing how Debian technically works. I've seen something like OP's
> directory happen on my system but can't remember the exact
> circumstances now. In my case of being on dialup, the appearance has
> occasionally been that a repository's server has cut updates off
> because the server's tired of struggling under the 967 BYTES download
> rate on my end......
> Cindy :)
> PS Ok, I just checked my inbox one more time before sending this.
> Elimar and David replied with David's thought being similar to my own.
> Compression was a word I was actually looking for. Like something's
> not completing there that should be so that those files are
> decompressed and then magically manipulated together to become what's
> housed in the /var/lib/apt/lists parent directory... :)

Thanks to all three for very helpful replies.

Unfortunately Elimar's suggestion only partially helped; it did not
clear /var/lib/apt/lists/partial, although running apt-get update did
clear it.  It then soon started filling up again.

It would appear that apt-get update is being run automatically; I'm
happy for it to do so, provided it works properly.

Running apt-get update manually showed an error:
Err http://ftp.uk.debian.org jessie-backports/non-free amd64 Packages
and the directory started filling.

I've now commented out the lines in sources.list referring to
jesie-backports, and running apt-get update doesn't seem to fill that
directory. I'll have to monitor that one!

My conclusion, if the mod fixes it, is that (a) that repository is
broken in some way, and (b) apt contains a bug allowing it to misbehave
under error conditions.

I shall only be at the end of a wet piece of string for my internet
connection for the next week, so may not be able to progress this as
much as I would like for a while.

Thanks again, Tony

Tony van der Hoff        | mailto:tony@vanderhoff.org
Buckinghamshire, England |

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