Fw: Unix Tips and Tricks - Tracking Your Disk Space

Scott Howell n3byy at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 12 08:25:55 EDT 2000

    ok guys, I provide this bit of info just as a public service. I know it
has nothing to do with Speakup, but this is along with several other
newsletters some real valuable info.
Even for a new-be like me, I have gotten some good info.
Just thought to pass it along and if anyone is offended by the wasted bw,
please accept my appology in advance.
They've bot newsletters for Linux, Unix, and even the dreded Microsoft NT
enjoy and I hope it was of some value.

----- Original Message -----
From: "ITworld Newsletters" <itwnews at itwpub1.com>
Subject: Unix Tips and Tricks - Tracking Your Disk Space

> UNIX TIPS AND TRICKS --- April 11, 2000
> Published by ITworld.com, the IT problem-solving network
> http://www.itworld.com/newsletters
> *********************************************************************
> * Tips For Tracking Your Disk Space
> *********************************************************************
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> Tracking Your Space
> by S. Lee Henry
> Most of us don't concern ourselves too much with the amount of disk
> space we use unless we start running up against limits or run out of
> space. It's too easy to become electronic pack rats, holding onto every
> file we create or download to the point that we have difficulty
> remembering how and where we stored those files. Fortunately, the size
> of disks typically found not only on servers but on desktop systems has
> gone over the past ten years or so from megabytes to gigabytes. Still,
> it makes sense to keep your file holdings slim and tidy.
> The file system on a Unix host has a reasonably standard layout, which
> preserves some space for files which control the system's identity,
> other space for system executables and user commands, log files, and
> user home directories. Here are some tips for laying out and managing
> your own file space to achieve a similar degree of organization.
> - Create a bin directory in your account in which you store scripts and
> programs that you create or download for your own use.
> - Create a "howto" directory in which you save examples of difficult
> commands so that you don't have to figure out from scratch every time
> you want to do something complex. For instance, you might store an
> example of how to pass an argument to an awk script or write a case-like
> statement in Perl.
> - Create a "play" or "in-progress" directory in which you prepare and
> test scripts. Move them to the bin directory when you're confident that
> they're working correctly. Add usage statements to all of your scripts
> so that you won't ever have to spend a lot of time remembering how to
> use them.
> - Periodically look for and remove core dumps. You shouldn't expect to
> see these often, but a daily or weekly cron task to remove them will
> require very little run time and may free up quite a bit of space. My
> desktop system has a gigabyte of RAM. Years ago, the largest core dumps
> I expected to see were measured in the tens of megabytes. These days
> they can be considerably larger.
> If an application that you use core dumps frequently and you never
> intend to use the core dump to investigate (very few of us do!), you can
> often limit the size of a core dump. You can do this by either setting a
> shell parameter (depending on your system and shell), or touching a file
> named core in the directory where you normally find the dumps and
> changing its permissions to 000 so that no application, no matter how
> desperate, can overwrite it.
> - Review your file holdings from time to time. Two commands that might
> be helpful are find and ls. The find command can be used like this:
> % find /home/<myusername> -larger <file> -print
> This find commands looks for files larger than a given reference file
> and prints the particulars. The ls command, with some special sorting,
> can help you account for your largest files and decide whether or not to
> keep them. I use a version like this to look at, among other things, my
> mail folders (which are Unix mail files):
> % ls -l | sort -n +4
> The number (i.e., +4) depends on the format of your ls -l output. This
> command will sort output on the 5th field. On my system, this is the
> size of the file. The -n argument instructs sort to do a numeric sort.
> Once you've managed to collect a large number of files and stored them
> in various subdirectories, it might help you manage your disk space to
> first look at which directories account for the most space. The "du -sk
> *" command or "du -s *" command will display the amount of space used by
> each file or directory in the current directory. Once you see where most
> of the space is being used, you might cd into that directory and run the
> command again.
> Generally, sysadmins won't get too fussy about how much space you use
> unless space on your server is tight or backups are taking so long to
> run, or using so much media that they are becoming difficult to manage.
> I review my files about once a month so that my file holdings don't get
> out of hand and so that I can keep better track of the various projects
> I'm working on. Keeping too many copies of things generally works
> against me. Tossing old versions out as soon as I'm confident that I
> don't need them leaves me with fewer distractions and a better managed
> working environment.
> Next Week: You and System Security
> About the author
> ----------------
> S. Lee Henry has been administering Unix systems for 15 years. Even so,
> she describes herself as USL (Unix as a second language) and still
> remembers enough English to write books and buy groceries. She lives on
> a sailboat in Marin County, California and can be reached at
> s.lee.henry at sunworld.com.
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