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Freeing Disk Space

Disk Usage or Occupied Space

To determine degree of usage of disks and partitions see DiskFull .

Command line tools to see seldom used files

These will not function if file systems are not usually mounted without option strictatime.

Command line tools to see which packages are using the most disk space

To list packages that take up most of the disk space with aptitude into visual mode, select Views → New Flat Package List (this menu entry is available only after etch version), press l and enter ~i, press S and enter ~installsize, then it will give you nice list to work with. Doing this after upgrading aptitude should give you access to this new feature.

In lenny, aptitude has "why" and "why-not".

 aptitude why package1 

shows why package1 may have been installed.

 aptitude why package1 package2 

tries to work out why installing package1 would drag in package2.

"why-not" looks at conflicts.

These commands only provide one possible explanation. Check /var/log/aptitude for definitive information.

Using aptitude to list uninstalled recommended or suggested packages:

aptitude search '~RBsuggests:~i!~i'

To list upgradeable packages:

aptitude search '~U'

To list manually installed packages:

aptitude search '~i!~M'

To install without recommends but not uninstalling other recommends:

aptitude install -R -o Aptitude::Keep-Recommends=true

To list packages in increasing order of size:

aptitude -F '%I %p' search '~i'|egrep '^[0-9]+[\.,]?[0-9]*[MG]B'|sort -n

Using dpigs (debian-goodies):

dpigs -n50

Using wajig :

wajig size

Tools to see which directories are using the most disk space

baobab in package gnome-utils

Command line program du of package coreutils

/usr/bin/du --total --summarize --human-readable --one-file-system

Find things to erase

Categorically Expendable Directories

Temporary

/tmp
/var/tmp

Contents of these directories are only intended to be used in the short term or while a program is running and are generally expendable.

Logs

/var/log

Cache

apt-get clean

Use apt-get autoclean if you want to remove old packages for which you also have the last package.

Spool

Things in

/var/spool

are intended to be processed but may be expendable.

Tools

Duplicate finders

files you do not want

packages you do not want

Tools to alter files to reduce them

Stripping dbus-daemon exposes a bug in BFD. Executing in find /usr/bin -not -name strip -and -not -name dbus-daemon -execdir strip --strip-unneeded '{}' \;  reduced the size of contents of the directory in a Squeeze installation from 140MB to 120MB.

Do not compress bash or your scripts will crash. Compressed executables may require more memory when run.

Reduce data creation

Use the following line as your /etc/rsyslog.conf configuration file in order to not save logs but output them on virtual terminal 12:

On systems that have been running for some time you might consider stripping out old log files.

Note that localepurge is a package that will strip unwanted language versions from everything you install. If you want a new language in the future you will have to add the locale and then re-install the package.

You might consider running  dpkg -l  periodically and manually going through it to see if there are packages which you never use. Alternately you can install the package popularity-contest and run  popularity-contest | sort > popcon  This will list the packages in least-used order in a text file called ~/popcon. Then to actually remove some unwanted/unused package you can do  aptitude purge -s <unwanted package>  to simulate the process and see what else is affected. You can answer yes to seemingly drastic removals because the  -s  makes it simulate and report, not actually execute. Once you are happy with the consequences do  aptitude purge <unused package>  and aptitude will still tell you what it's doing and what dependencies are affected, but when you say Yes, it will actually execute the removal.

Using a compressed filesystem can save a lot of space. Typically squashfs reduces space used by about 50%, but it is read-only.

If you have a read-only source like a DVD, an overlaid unifying file system like aufs or Linux's "union mount" can save changes in a writeable filesystem, saving the user the space of the unchanged portions. The same could be accomplished with a snapshotted filesystem as with Linux Volume Manager (lvm2).

Off Line Storage

You may move data to off line storage, such as removable optical disks or disks on an external data bus (such as Firewire or USB).

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