So, your daily message shows that your partitions are getting full. (You do read your daily status mail, right? Of course you do.) While various desktop environments have nifty point-and-click interfaces that show you exactly where your disk space went, they don't help much when your GUI-less server starts having trouble. We're going to look at some basic disk measuring tools, with the goal of finding that missing few gigabytes of space.
First off, you need an overview of how much space each partition has
df(1) is our best tool for that. The output from a vanilla
command isn't that easy to read, however. When hard disks peaked out
at 10 MB or 40 MB, it wasn't so bad. But when a disk can easily hit a
100 GB, you can go cross-eyed shifting decimal points. The
-H flags both tell
df to generate human-readable output. The
h uses base 2 to create a 1,024-byte megabyte, while the large
base 10 for a 1,000-byte megabyte. Most FreeBSD tools do not give you the
option to use base 10; base 2 is undoubtedly more correct in the
computer world, so we'll use it for our examples.
We should also check the available inodes on a partition. Having lots
of disk space is utterly moot if you run out of inodes and cannot
create any more files! The
-i option gives us that information.
So, the current disk usage is:
#df -hi Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on /dev/ad0s1a 97M 43M 46M 48% 1368 23718 5% / /dev/ad0s1f 4.9G 2.7G 1.8G 60% 184468 1117034 14% /usr /dev/ad0s1e 194M 12M 166M 7% 794 49380 2% /var procfs 4.0K 4.0K 0B 100% 41 1003 4% /proc #
This would be plenty, if I didn't need to copy a 2-GB file onto the laptop. Not long ago, a 2-GB hard drive was more than adequate. Today, some large commercial software packages come as 2-GB tarballs. I have almost enough space.
The biggest problem is discovering where bloat lives. If your systems
are like mine, disk usage somehow keeps growing for no apparent
reason. You can use
ls -l to identify individual large files on a
directory-by-directory basis, but doing this on every directory in the
system is impractical. The actual decision on what to keep and what
to delete is highly personal, but there are more sophisticated tools
to help you identify your biggest programs and directories.
Your first tool is
du(1), which displays disk usage. Its initial
output is intimidating, however, and can scare off a new system administrator.
# cd $HOME # du 1 ./bin/RCS 21459 ./bin/wp/shbin10 5786 ./bin/wp/shlib10/fonts 13011 ./bin/wp/shlib10 19 ./bin/wp/wpbin/.wprc 7922 ./bin/wp/wpbin 2 ./bin/wp/wpexpdocs 1 ./bin/wp/wpgraphics 2 ./bin/wp/wplearn 10123 ./bin/wp/wplib 673 ./bin/wp/wpmacros/us 681 ./bin/wp/wpmacros 53202 ./bin/wp 53336 ./bin 5 ./.kde/share/applnk/staroffice_52 6 ./.kde/share/applnk ...
This goes on and on, displaying every subdirectory and giving its size
in blocks. On my system,
$BLOCKSIZE is set to
k. The total of each
subdirectory is given -- for example, the contents of
53,336 KB, or roughly 52 MB. Of that, the
contains 53,202 blocks of that. I could sit and let
du list every
directory and subdirectory, but then I'd have to dig through much more
information than I really want to. And blocks aren't that convenient
a measurement, especially not when they're printed left-justified.
Let's clean this up. First,
du supports a
-h flag much like
# du -h 1.0K ./bin/RCS 21M ./bin/wp/shbin10 5.7M ./bin/wp/shlib10/fonts 13M ./bin/wp/shlib10 19K ./bin/wp/wpbin/.wprc 7.7M ./bin/wp/wpbin 2.0K ./bin/wp/wpexpdocs 1.0K ./bin/wp/wpgraphics 2.0K ./bin/wp/wplearn 9.9M ./bin/wp/wplib 673K ./bin/wp/wpmacros/us 681K ./bin/wp/wpmacros 52M ./bin/wp 52M ./bin 5.0K ./.kde/share/applnk/staroffice_52 ...
Also in Big Scary Daemons:
This is a little better, but I don't need to see the contents of each
subdirectory. A total size of everything in the current directory
would be nice. We can control the number of directories deep we
-d takes one argument, the number of
directories deep you want to show. A
-0 will just give you a simple
subtotal of the files in a directory.
#du -h -d0 $HOME 1.0G /home/mwlucas #
I have a GB in my home directory? Let's look a layer deeper and see where the heck it is.
#du -h -d 1 52M ./bin 1.4M ./.kde 24K ./pr 40K ./.ssh 2.0K ./.cvsup 812M ./mp3 1.0K ./.links 5.0K ./.moonshine ...
The big offender here is the mp3 directory. Oh. Ahem, well, that can be copied to another machine if I
must. This is a good opportunity to clean up my home directory
anyway. I tried KDE for a week, and still hated it, so
.kde can go.
.moonshine and related stuff. When I'm done, the home
directory is down about 200 KB. Much better.
Now let's look at the main
/var directories to see if anything unusually large is lurking there.
#cd /usr #du -h -d1 11M ./bin 7.5M ./include 34M ./lib 9.6M ./libdata 15M ./libexec 571M ./local 6.3M ./sbin 39M ./share 289M ./src 119M ./ports 57M ./compat 1.5M ./games 323M ./obj 1.0K ./tmp 234M ./X11R6 1004M ./home 11M ./sup 36M ./doc 2.7G . #
This output is pretty normal. There's 323 MB of stuff in
that I can blow away easily enough, to gain another third of a GB.
Just for reference, I'm attaching the output of a fairly empty
filesystem. Depending on the purpose of your system, different
directories can grow considerably. There's a surprisingly small
amount of stuff in
# du -h -d1 1.0K ./account 3.0K ./at 8.0K ./backups 2.0K ./crash 2.0K ./cron 4.3M ./db 434K ./log 7.3M ./mail 2.0K ./msgs 1.0K ./preserve 54K ./run 1.0K ./rwho 18K ./spool 10.0K ./tmp 20K ./yp 62K ./games 2.0K ./lib 4.0K ./ucd-snmp 1.0K ./heimdal 12M . #
The next time you find
/var filling up, you can compare your directory structure to what you have here and at least have a good idea of what
is normal on a small system.
du(1) to browse through the entire filesystem and see where the main bloat is. The biggest cause of bloat in the rest of the system is installed software and user data. In the example above,
/usr/localconsumes over half a gigabyte. Deleting user data is not usually a good idea, but you can track down large packages easily enough with the
# cd /var/db/pkg # pkg_info -s * Information for Hermes-1.3.2: Package Size: 449 (1K-blocks) Information for Mesa-3.4.1: Package Size: 2507 (1K-blocks) ...
This can create huge amounts of output if your system has many packages installed. For example, my laptop has 134 of them. Scan through this looking for large packages.
Information for emacs-20.7: Package Size: 43800 (1K-blocks)
Emacs is 43 MB? Yeah, yeah, I know, use vi.
While many of the ports are necessary, I find quite a few that aren't
vital or that I can easily reinstall. For example, there's 100 MB of teTex as a dependency on
simple enough to replace from a recent FreeBSD release -- teTex does
not change quickly enough to require the freshest possible build.
By removing teTex and
/usr/obj, I get enough space to copy this huge file to my laptop.
pkg_info gave me the necessary information to safely choose the files to delete -- without having to mess with the user data in
$HOME/mp3. Data is what's important, after all.
Michael W. Lucas
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