[xubuntu-users] Update failure / disk full error

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Thu Jul 6 23:00:31 UTC 2017

On 07/06/2017 07:14 AM, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
>> On Thursday, July 06, 2017 10:04 AM, Roger wrote: 
>>> End users should not have to face such an obscure problem.
> OTOH "end users" should consider that even a user-friendly Linux distro
> such as Ubuntu with it's flavours, such as Xubuntu, still is a Linux
> distro. [snip excellent arguments]

I think you may have misunderstood the problem. It's not an argument
over proprietary vs free software; it's a simple misunderstanding by the
designer[s] of the setup routines.

When installing Linux for the first time on older machines, it sets up
/boot TOO SMALL for modern long-term usage. I don't know what fraction
it uses in its calculations, but as an example, on this ancient Dell
Latitude D810 with an 80GB hard drive, /boot is 236MB or about 0.3%.

Modern Linux is now so reliable that kernel upgrades can safely be
performed by non-expert end users, and the lifetime of machines means
that many more such upgrades are likely to occur over the life of the
machine than was the case in the past. I would argue that a slightly
larger /boot partition is a now necessity on machines with smaller
disks, even though it leaves a little less space for /

I agree with Roger that the end user should not have to face the problem
of /boot filling up over the lifetime of the machine (at least until the
decision is made to wipe and reinstall rather than upgrade in place). At
least a properly-designed application should be available to handle the

The end user should of course take an interest in system performance and
management, but we have to admit to ourselves that many of them will
not, and we need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and pretending
that every Linux user is going to be a trained sysadmin.  If we want to
attract more users to Linux, we need to provide robustness even at the
edge. The problem of /boot filling up is currently beyond the μ ± 2σ
boundary of Linux's usability, and it would be nice to aim to extend
that boundary to the μ ± 3σ mark.


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