/var got really big

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay at dinamis.com
Thu Oct 16 21:50:26 UTC 2008

John Hubbard wrote:
> I have a 1 day old install of ubuntu 8.04 server.  My /var directory is 
> pretty big.  It seems that most of it is a collection of about 900MB of 
> .debs in /var/cache/apt/archives.  (I installed kde, gnome and xfce 
> desktops) I usually won't worry too much but I installed /var on a 
> separate 3GB partition and if it keeps growing it will run out of 
> space.  My laptop's /var is only 90MB which is what led me to think 3GB 
> would be plenty of space.  Do the files in the apt archive ever get 
> cleaned out?  Is it safe to delete them?

Others have suggested you clean the apt cache. Since you have more than
one machine, I'd suggest you do the opposite. Install and configure
apt-cacher on your server and import the packages that are in
/var/cache/apt/archives into your apt-cacher cache, which could be
wherever you want it to be, though the default is in
/var/cache/apt-cacher. Your laptop would then download from your local
apt-cacher cache rather than have to download the same packages as your
server from the Internet. It saves on bandwidth and makes the update
process faster. If a package exists in the cache, it will be used. If
not, it will be fetched from an on-line repository.

By the way, the problem you're having, that of running out of space on
/var, illustrates why using LVM (Logical Volume Manager) is a good idea.
LVM makes shrinking or expanding filesystems much easier. If your /var
and say, /home, are on logical volumes, assuming you have room to spare
on /home, you could shrink /home and expand /var, if you needed to. You
still have plenty of free space on /var so you don't have to worry for
now. If they're not on logical volumes, it's a bit more work but it's
still possible. I suppose you could even symlink /var/cache/apt to a
directory on another filesystem that has free space.

Clifford Ilkay
1419-3266 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON
Canada  M4N 3P6

+1 416-410-3326
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