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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE chapter PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.5//EN"
<title>Storage Management</title>
<para>Within Linux, the file system the user sees acts regardless of the
underlying storage used (hard disk partitions, CD/DVD, removable USB disk,
remote file systems). You assign a location of the file system to the
storage medium and you're up and running.</para>
<para>I've already covered the <filename>/etc/fstab</filename> file, where
you can map these locations and media. In this chapter, I'll cover the
various media, how you can create and manage them as well as assign them
in the <filename>fstab</filename> file.</para>
<title id="hdpartitions">Hard Disk Partitions</title>
<para>The most common storage is a hard disk partition. I'll only cover
the x86 partitions as those are most used at this moment.</para>
<title>Partition Layout</title>
<para>The x86 partition layout only allows for at most 4 partitions
called <emphasis>primary partitions</emphasis><indexterm>
</indexterm>. At the time the x86 partition layout was designed, this
was thought to be sufficient. However, time has proven the assumption
wrong. Luckily, the x86 partition layout has a way of working around
this restriction: you can designate one partition as a "container"
partition which holds other partitions. This container partition is
called the <emphasis>extended partition</emphasis><indexterm>
</indexterm>. The partitions inside this extended partition are called
<emphasis>logical partitions</emphasis><indexterm>
<para>Linux gives a number to a partition based on their type: primary
partitions (including the extended partition) are numbered 1 to 4;
logical partitions start at 5 and can, theoretically, sum up to infinity
(if you have an infinite amount of disk space, that is). On Linux, you
can create up to 63 partitions per disk.</para>
<para>If you do not need more than 4 partitions, you can stick with the
primary partitions. However, if you need more than 4 partitions, make
sure you create one extended partition (which holds all disk space) and
then create additional logical partitions inside this extended
<title>Partitioning a Disk</title>
<para>To partition a disk, you can use tools such as
<command>fdisk</command>, <command>cfdisk</command>,
<command>sfdisk</command>, <command>parted</command>, ... Of course,
there are graphical tools as well (such as <command>qtparted</command>).
In this section, I'll cover the use of
</indexterm> as it is a simple command-line tool (making it easy to
add the input/output in this book) which is well supported and fully
<para>In the next paragraphs, I'm going to partition the
<filename>/dev/sda</filename> disk (<filename>/dev/sda</filename> is
Linux' representation of the first (<filename>a</filename>) SCSI/SATA
(<filename>sd</filename>) disk). The second SCSI/SATA disk would be
called <filename>/dev/sdb</filename>, third
<filename>/dev/sdc</filename>, ...</para>
<para>IDE disks are called <filename>/dev/hda</filename> (b, c, d, ...).
Unlike SCSI/SATA disks, IDE disks are labelled based upon their position
in the computer. Every IDE controller (which is where the disks are
attached to) has a certain position in the computer. The first
controller manages the disks a, b, c and d; the second controller
manages the disks e, f, g and h, etc. Every controller can manage four
disks: the first two are called the primary disks, the last two are
called the secondary disks. Every pair of disks has a master (first
disk) and slave (second disk). So, the primary master disk of the first
IDE controller is <filename>/dev/hda</filename>, the secondary slave
disk of the second IDE controller would be
<para>To find out which disk devices are detected on your system, you
can list the contents of <filename>/dev/disk/by-path</filename>:</para>
<programlisting># <command>ls -l /dev/disk/by-path</command>
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.1 -&gt; ../../hda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0 -&gt; ../../sda
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part1 -&gt; ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part2 -&gt; ../../sda2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part5 -&gt; ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part6 -&gt; ../../sda6
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part7 -&gt; ../../sda7
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 2009-12-05 23:35 pci-0000:00:1f.2-scsi-0:0:0:0-part8 -&gt; ../../sda8</programlisting>
<para>Or, if this location doesn't exist (it is created by Gentoo's udev
rules, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is available on other
distributions), you can check the content of
<programlisting># <command>ls /sys/block</command>
hda loop0 loop1 loop2 loop3 sda</programlisting>
<para>Now, fire up fdisk to edit the partitions on /dev/sda:</para>
<programlisting># <command>fdisk /dev/sda</command>
Command (m for help): </programlisting>
<para>To view the current partition layout, enter p:</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>p</command>
Disk /dev/sda: 240 heads, 63 sectors, 2184 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 14 105808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 15 49 264600 82 Linux swap
/dev/sda3 50 70 158760 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 71 2184 15981840 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 71 209 1050808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 210 348 1050808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 349 626 2101648+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda8 627 904 2101648+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda9 905 2184 9676768+ 83 Linux
Command (m for help): </programlisting>
<para>Now, before continuing, let's first think about what partition
layout you need...</para>
<title>Partition Layout Scheme</title>
<para>On Linux, as I've told before, the file system can be contained
inside one partition, but it can also be made up of several
partitions. The reason to use a single partition or multiple
partitions depends a bit on how flexible you want to assign your
available disk space and what other requirements you have for your
file systems.</para>
<para>For instance, if you do not want your users to be able to fill
up your root partition you might want to put their home directories on
a different partition. In this case, if they end up filling their home
directory, only the partition used for the home directories is filled
up and the other partitions remain untouched.</para>
<para>This is not the only possible way of limiting users' disk
space usage. You can also implement quotas so that users are only
allowed to use a particular amount of disk space.</para>
<para>You might want to store certain data on a partition which
shouldn't be always visible. In this case, you can opt not to mount
the partition automatically.</para>
<para>One final note is that, if your system is not blessed with a
huge amount of memory, you need to set up some swap space. Although
you can use a swap file for this, most distributions (still) prefer
that you use a swap partition. This is a (relatively) small partition
which will be used by the Linux kernel to store memory pages when
physical memory is full.</para>
<para>An example partitioning scheme is given in <xref
linkend="partschemetable" />.</para>
<table id="partschemetable">
<title>Example partitioning scheme for a Linux desktop</title>
<tgroup cols="3">
<entry>Will be used to house the /boot partition in which the
bootloader configuration and kernel images are stored.
Separate partition as none of the files on this partition are
needed during regular operations (thus partition is not
automatically mounted)</entry>
<entry>Main (root) partition which will host the Linux
operating system</entry>
<entry>Partition which will hold the /home files (files and
folders of the users of the system).</entry>
<entry>swap partition. The desktop system will have enough
physical memory and the system will not use software suspend
(write memory content to disk and hibernate the system) so the
swap does not need to be as large as the physical
<title>Cleaning Existing Partitions</title>
<para>Once inside fdisk, you can view the current partitions using the
<command>p</command> command. You can then remove the partitions you
do not want any more with the d command, followed by the partition
identifier. For instance, suppose you want to remove the third
partition (/dev/sda3):</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>p</command>
Disk /dev/sda: 240 heads, 63 sectors, 2184 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 14 105808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 15 49 264600 82 Linux swap
/dev/sda3 50 70 158760 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 71 2184 15981840 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 71 209 1050808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 210 348 1050808+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 349 626 2101648+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda8 627 904 2101648+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda9 905 2184 9676768+ 83 Linux
Command (m for help): <command>d</command>
Partition number (1-9): <command>3</command></programlisting>
<para>Repeat this step for every partition you want to delete. When
you're finished, type the w command to write the changes to disk and
exit fdisk (of course, you probably want to wait until you've created
the new partitions as well).</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>w</command></programlisting>
<title>Adding Partitions</title>
<para>Now to add new partitions, I will work from the given partition
layout example given previously. Also, I assume that the disk has no
partitions. So first, let's create /dev/sda1:</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>n</command>
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): <command>1</command>
First cylinder (1-12621, default 1): <emphasis>(Press return to use the default "1")</emphasis>
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-621, default 621):
<para>In the above command sequence, I asked <command>fdisk</command>
to create a new partition which will be a primary one (remember, if I
would select extended then I would be creating a container partition
which can then host logical partitions). <command>fdisk</command> then
asks for the first cylinder and proposes as default the first cylinder
(which means as much as "start at the beginning of the disk"). Then
<command>fdisk</command> asks where the partition should end. As I'm
not going to calculate which cylinder is around the 100Mbyte limit, I
just tell fdisk to create a partition of 100Mbyte size.</para>
<para>Next, I create /dev/sda2, 3 and 4 in one go:</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>n</command>
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): <command>2</command>
First cylinder (97-12621, default 97): <emphasis>(Return again)</emphasis>
Using default value 97
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (97-12621, default 12621):
Command (m for help): <command>n</command>
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): <command>3</command>
First cylinder (4041-12621, default 4041): <emphasis>(Return again)</emphasis>
Using default value 4041
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (4041-12621, default
12621): <command>+27648M</command>
Command (m for help): <command>n</command>
Command action
e extended
p primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): <command>4</command>
First cylinder (12021-12621, default 12021): <emphasis>(Return again)</emphasis>
Using default value 12021
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (12021-12621, default
12621): <emphasis>(Return)</emphasis></programlisting>
<para>In the last sequence we let the final partition be as large as
the remaining amount of disk space left, so we accept the default last
cylinder proposal.</para>
<para>Right now, the partition scheme is set, but the partitions
aren't ready yet. I now need to mark each partition with a particular
partition type. A <emphasis>partition type</emphasis><indexterm>
</indexterm> is a small label assigned to a partition that allows an
operating system to know if it can read the partition (i.e. understand
its content) or not.</para>
<para>For instance, the partition type "Linux" (label 83) allows Linux
operating systems to identify the partition as a partition it
understands. Windows on the other hand will not show this partition as
it does not support Linux partitions. Likewise, a FAT32 Windows
partition has label 0B (labels are hexadecimal).</para>
<para>In our example, we need to use two partition types: one to
identify a Linux partition (83) and one to identify the Linux swap
partition (82). To mark partitions as such, use fdisk's
<command>t</command> command:</para>
<programlisting>Command (m for help): <command>t</command>
Partition number (1-4): <command>1</command>
Hex code (type L to list codes): <command>83</command>
Changed system type of partition 1 to 83 (Linux)
Command (m for help): <command>t</command>
Partition number (1-4): <command>2</command>
Hex code (type L to list codes): <command>83</command>
Changed system type of partition 2 to 83 (Linux)
Command (m for help): <command>t</command>
Partition number (1-4): <command>3</command>
Hex code (type L to list codes): <command>83</command>
Changed system type of partition 3 to 83 (Linux)
Command (m for help): <command>t</command>
Partition number (1-4): <command>4</command>
Hex code (type L to list codes): <command>82</command>
Changed system type of partition 4 to 82 (Linux swap)</programlisting>
<para>Now that our partitions are created and marked, write the
changes to disk and exit fdisk with the <command>w</command>
<title>Placing a File System on a Partition</title>
<para>With a partition alone you cannot do much: the partition is
available as an empty space, but has no file system on it. File systems
are mandatory to use as they structure the partition and allow the
operating system to manage files, directories and more on the partition.
We covered this already in <xref linkend="filesystems" />.</para>
<para>To place a file system on a partition you need to use the
</indexterm> command. For instance, to create an ext2 or ext3
partition, use <command>mkfs.ext2</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> or <command>mkfs.ext3</command><indexterm>
</indexterm>. With the example partition scheme I would use ext2 for
the /boot partition (<filename>/dev/sda1</filename>), and ext3 for the
two other Linux partitions:</para>
<programlisting># <command>mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1</command>
# <command>mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda2</command>
# <command>mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda3</command></programlisting>
<para>A good idea is to label each partition. A <emphasis>volume
<primary>volume label</primary>
</indexterm> is a simple string of limited length (16 bytes, so 16
characters as I don't suspect unicode is supported here) which can allow
you to find the partition more easily. Say that you label your
partitions based on their use:</para>
<programlisting># <command>mkfs.ext2 -L boot /dev/sda1</command>
# <command>mkfs.ext3 -L root /dev/sda2</command>
# <command>mkfs.ext3 -L home /home/sda3</command></programlisting>
<para>With labels set, you can use label-based device file names instead
of the (sometimes difficult to remember) standard ones:
<filename>/dev/disk/by-label/root</filename> instead of
<para>Finally, I need to mark the swap partition as a swap partition
using the <command>mkswap</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> command. This command also supports the <command>-L
&lt;label&gt;</command> option if you want to use it.</para>
<programlisting># <command>mkswap /dev/sda4</command></programlisting>
<title>Using the Partitions</title>
<para>With the selected partitions created, you can now start using
<title>Enabling a Swap Partition</title>
<para>To enable a swap partition, use the swapon command. This will
inform the Linux kernel that the selected partition can be used as a
swap partition:</para>
<programlisting># <command>swapon /dev/sda4</command></programlisting>
<para>Because you do not want to enter this command every time you
boot your system, add the following line to /etc/fstab. This will
automatically enable the selected partition as a swap
<programlisting>/dev/sda4 none swap sw 0 0</programlisting>
<title>Enabling a File System</title>
<para>To enable a file system on a partition, you need to mount it on
your file system. This has already been covered in <xref
linkend="mountsection" />.</para>
<title>Fixing Corrupt File Systems</title>
<para>If a file system is corrupt, you will notice this when you want
to mount the file system (or when the system tries to automatically
mount the file system for you):</para>
The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2
filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2
filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), the the superblock
is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
e2fsck -b 8193 &lt;device&gt;
* Filesystem couldn't be fixed :(</programlisting>
<para>Now, before you run into the night, screaming for help, sit down
and try executing the command that the output gave:</para>
<programlisting>(The proposed command will vary depending on file system used)
~# <command>e2fsck -b 8193 /dev/hda4</command></programlisting>
<para>If the <command>e2fsck</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> check reports that there is corruption found, it might
ask you to confirm every correction it wants to do. As a file system
check can easily report hundreds to thousands of corruptions (not that
that means that there are thousands of files corrupt), it might be
easier to tell e2fsck to just acknowledge them all for you:</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>e2fsck -y /dev/hda4</command></programlisting>
<title>Using File System Labels or IDs</title>
<para>Most, if not all file systems allow you to give them an
appropriate label. Such labels can then later be used to identify a file
system without having to mount it (and look at it). Linux even supports
the use of these labels for the various mount and file system
operations. The use of labels (or UUIDs, as we will see later) also
allows one to use configurations (such as in the
<filename>fstab</filename> file) which do not need to be modified when
your system gets changed (for instance, new partitions created, new
disks added, reshuffling of disks and more).</para>
<title>Labels versus UUIDs</title>
<para>There are two identifiers commonly used when dealing with file
systems: LABEL and UUID.</para>
<para>a <emphasis>LABEL</emphasis><indexterm>
</indexterm> is a user-provided name for a file system. An
example could be "ROOT", "HOME" or "DATA".</para>
<para>a <emphasis>UUID</emphasis><indexterm>
</indexterm> (Universally Unique Identifier) is a
system-generated identifier for a file system. Examples are
"bae98338-ec29-4beb-aacf-107e44599b2e" and
<para>As you can imagine, a given label is much more user friendly
than a UUID. So, how do you set a label for a file system? Well, this
heavily depends on the file system you use. For ext2, ext3 or ext4
file systems, you can use the <command>e2label</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> command:</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>e2label /dev/sda2 ROOT</command></programlisting>
<para>For an XFS file system, the command would be given with
<programlisting>~# <command>xfs_admin -L ROOT /dev/sda2</command></programlisting>
<para>You can even set labels for swap file systems (<command>mkswap
-L &lt;labelname&gt; &lt;device&gt;</command>), FAT file systems
(<command>mlabel -i &lt;device&gt; ::&lt;labelname&gt;</command>) and
JFS file systems (<command>jfs_tune -L &lt;labelname&gt;
<para>The easiest method to read the label and UUID of a file system
is to use the <command>blkid</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> command:</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>blkid /dev/sda3</command>
/dev/sda3: UUID="2bc32022-27a8-47d5-8d33-83c86e23618c" LABEL="ROOT" TYPE="ext4"</programlisting>
<title>Using Labels/UUIDs in fstab</title>
<para>If you have set a label for your file system(s) (or use UUIDs)
you can use this information in the <filename>/etc/fstab</filename>
file. Just substitute the value in the first column (where the device
is located) with the correct LABEL= or UUID= setting:</para>
<programlisting>/dev/sda2 / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 0</programlisting>
<para>could then become one of the following:</para>
<programlisting>LABEL="ROOT" / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 0</programlisting>
<programlisting>UUID="bc32022-27a8-47d5-8d33-83c86e23618c" / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 0</programlisting>
<title>(Not) Using Labels/UUIDs as Kernel Options</title>
<para>Some people hope to use the same information as kernel option
(for instance, to change the <parameter>root=/dev/sda2</parameter>
kernel parameter to <parameter>root=LABEL=ROOT</parameter>). This is
possible, but only if you use an initramfs (so use this for the
<parameter>real_root=</parameter> parameter). The Linux kernel itself
does not support calling devices through their UUID or LABEL
<title>Removable Media</title>
<para>Removable media differs from partitions in the fact that they are...
removable. Some removable media cannot be written to, others can. If you
can write to it, you most likely can partition (and put a file system on
it) just as if it was a hard disk.</para>
<para>The most important difference is that they are not always available
for the system: you can plug (put) them in or pull them out, so you should
mount and unmount the file system. Luckily, there are tools that
automatically mount / umount such devices.</para>
<title>Mounting Removable Media</title>
<para>As seen before, media mount points can be defined in
<filename>/etc/fstab</filename> to ease the mount process. Two examples
(one for a CD-ROM device and one for a USB storage device) could
<programlisting>/dev/cdrom /media/cdrom auto defaults,user,noauto 0 0
/dev/sdb1 /media/usb auto defaults,user,noauto 0 0</programlisting>
<para>As you can see, the mounts are defined with auto as file system
type (meaning that the mount process attempts to automatically find the
file system to use) and has user (users have the ability to mount this
location) and noauto (do not attempt to mount this when the system
boots) as options.</para>
<para>But in order to successfully edit the fstab file, you need to know
what device will be used and you also need to make sure that the
destination directories exist.</para>
<title>Device Files and udev</title>
<para>The <command>udev</command> device manager creates device files
for your partitions, including removable media when it is attached to
the system. One of the advantages of using udev is that it also
creates various symlinks that identify the same device. For instance,
a plugged in USB stick can get the following device files
<para>The following links can then be created to this device
<para>The advantage of having these links is that, when you plug
another USB stick first and then this one, it's device file might be
different (say <filename>/dev/sdc1</filename>) but the by-id, by-uuid
and by-label links will remain the same.</para>
<title>Obtaining the device file</title>
<para>When you plug in a removable media (like a USB stick), the
kernel will log that it has detected the hardware. One way to find out
which device file is used is to filter the <command>dmesg</command>
output for text such as "removable media":</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>dmesg | grep 'removable media'</command>
sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk</programlisting>
<para>In this example, the hardware device file is for /dev/sdb. The
partitions can then be obtained by listing all files in /dev starting
with sdb:</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>ls /dev/sdb*</command>
/dev/sdb /dev/sdb1</programlisting>
<para>Now, if you want to find out which files point to (or are
hardlinks to) a particular device file (say /dev/sdb1), you can use
the following <command>find</command> construct:</para>
<programlisting>~# <command>find -L /dev -samefile /dev/sdb1</command>
<title>Automounting Devices</title>
<para>You can also have Linux configured so that removable media is
automatically mounted. In almost all cases, this is done through a
deamon process provided by the desktop environment. It starts with
<title id="HAL">Using HAL</title>
<para>The <command>hal</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> (Hardware Abstraction Layer) software daemon provides
an interface to other programs about plugged in hardware. It attempts
to provide an abstraction layer on top of the device: is the device an
USB stick or a digital camera plugged in through USB? The idea is that
a multitude of hardware devices should be seen as the same kind of
hardware devices (so the same actions need to be taken when the device
is plugged in), regardless of brand and type.</para>
<para>In effect, <command>hal</command> itself isn't sufficient to
automatically mount a device, but it is part of a more global
architecture. For instance, with GNOME, you need
<command>hal</command>, <command>dbus</command> and
<command>gnome-volume-manager</command>. The tool that actually does
the auto-mounting is <command>gnome-volume-manager</command>. It
listens for hal events through <command>dbus</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> (which is a service that allows processes to
communicate with each other through a unified specification). The hal
software gets an event from udev (which we've seen before), identifies
the hardware and submits an event to dbus.</para>
<para>If you have GNOME installed, these tools are probably already
set up. You can configure the <command>hal</command> device manager
through the GNOME menu (Desktop &gt; Administration &gt; Device
Manager) as you can for the GNOME volume manager (Desktop &gt;
Preferences &gt; Removable Drives and Media).</para>
<para>If you use KDE, the necessary tools are probably installed as
well (only the volume manager isn't called gnome-volume-manager
<para>In both cases I say "probably", because many packages rely on
USE flags to decide if a certain functionality needs to be enabled
(check the hal USE flag).</para>
<programlisting>$ <command>emerge -pv kdebase</command>
[ebuild R ] kde-base/kdebase-3.5.9-r3 USE="branding cups hal
java ldap opengl pam -arts -debug -ieee1394 -joystick
-kdeenablefinal -kdehiddenvisibility -lm_sensors -logitech-mouse
-openexr -samba -xcomposite -xinerama -xscreensaver" 0 kB</programlisting>
<title>Network File Systems</title>
<para>Although Unix has grown with NFS as the primary network file system,
others are available which offer different features you might
<para>NFS, or <emphasis>Network File Server</emphasis><indexterm>
<primary>Network File Server</primary>
</indexterm>, is one of the most popular network file systems used in
the Linux/Unix world. With NFS, you can export files and directories to
other systems on the network while still using the Unix way of assigning
permissions and ownership to files.</para>
<title>NFS Server</title>
<para>If you want to export files to your network yourself, you need
to install the necessary NFS server tools which is included in the
</indexterm> package:</para>
<programlisting>$ <command>emerge nfs-utils</command></programlisting>
<para>Once installed, you need to select what directories you want to
export through the <filename>/etc/exports</filename><indexterm>
</indexterm> file. The syntax for the exports file is similar to the
SunOS exports file<footnote>
<para>Some Unix flavors have different syntax rules for the
exports file. If you are not running Gentoo Linux or have
installed a different NFS server package, check the exports man
page through <command>man exports</command>.</para>
</footnote> and allows you to select a particular directory as an
exportable resource together with specific mount options for the
clients. I will give a multi-line example that will get you
/media/usb rw,no_root_squash mediacenter ws5 ws6 ws7(root_squash)</programlisting>
<para>The first line gives read-only access to /usr/portage to all
systems in the network.</para>
<para>The second line gives read-write access to /home to all
systems in the same network. I also added the no_subtree_check
(see the exports man page for more information) as it improves
reliability for file systems where file changes occur frequently
(such as home directories).</para>
<para>The third line gives read-write access to the /media/usb
location to the hosts with hostname mediacenter, ws5, ws6 and ws7.
Also, all these hosts except for ws7 have root access to the files
as well (as a security measure, by default the root user of the
remote clients do not have root access to the file systems
exported by NFS).</para>
<para>As you can see from the syntax, you can either give options
specific for a host (between brackets) or give general options to all
hosts for the selected directory.</para>
<para>To start the NFS service, you only need to start the nfs
<programlisting># <command>/etc/init.d/nfs start</command></programlisting>
<para>All other required services, such as rpc.statd and portmap, are
automatically started by the initialisation script.</para>
<title>NFS Client</title>
<para>At the client side, you add in one or more lines in the
<filename>/etc/fstab</filename> file to mount a remote NFS file
system. Suppose that the NFS server is at, you can use
the following lines in <filename>/etc/fstab</filename> to mount the
file systems defined in the previous section:</para>
<programlisting> /usr/portage nfs ro,proto=tcp 0 0 /home/remoteusers nfs rw,proto=tcp 0 0 /media/usb nfs ro,proto=tcp 0 0</programlisting>
<para>You can of course also run an NFS mount without
<filename>fstab</filename>. For more information about the NFS mount
options, please read the nfs manual page.</para>
<para>Samba, offered by the net-fs/samba<indexterm>
</indexterm> package, is a tool set that offers interoperability with
Microsoft Windows networks. Not only can you access files shared on a
Microsoft Windows network or share files yourself on such a network, you
can also use or manage printers that are exported to the Microsoft
Windows network.</para>
<para>In the majority of cases, if you need to do something with a
Microsoft Windows network, you'll need to configure Samba on your
system. Although the configuration options for Samba can be
overwhelming, there is an integrated web administration tool for Samba
called SWAT which is included when you install the net-fs/samba package
with the swat USE flag (which is enabled by default).</para>
<title>Managing Disk Space</title>
<para>To identify the current file system usage, you can use the
</indexterm> tool, which stands for "disk free". I recommend using the
-h and -T options to show disk usage in a human readable format (using the
M and G notations for megabytes and gigabytes) and display the file system
types (ext2, ext3, xfs, ...):</para>
<programlisting>$ <command>df -hT</command>
Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda8 ext3 35G 22G 11G 68% /
udev tmpfs 10M 88K 10M 1% /dev
/dev/sda7 ext3 9.4G 7.6G 1.5G 85% /home
none tmpfs 754M 0 754M 0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1 ext3 9.7G 421M 8.8G 5% /mnt/data</programlisting>
<para>In the above example you can see the available disk space on all
mounted file systems.</para>
<title>Finding Top Disk Space Consumers</title>
<para>To find out how much disk space a file (or, more interestingly, a
directory with all files and subdirectories) you can use the
</indexterm> command (disk usage). By default, <command>du</command>
shows the disk usage in kilobytes for every file passed on to it. You
can have <command>du</command> show the total using the -s option
(summarize) and even have du show it in a more human-readable manner (so
12.6G instead of 13269313 - kilobytes).</para>
<programlisting>$ <command>du -hs /home/raghat</command>
12.6G /home/raghat</programlisting>
<para>If you want to view the largest users (subdirectories or files
inside the directory) you can do a summary listing of everything beneath
it and sort the resulting output by number. To make it a bit manageable,
the next example then only shows the last 5 lines (the largest 5
<programlisting>$ <command>du -ks /home/raghat/* | sort -n | tail -5</command>
7660 folder.pdf
7672 linux_sea.pdf
8532 docs/
3666665 hmd/</programlisting>
<para>However, you'll quickly find that this process is tedious (you'll
have to repeat it for every subdirectory if you don't plan on wiping out
the entire directory) when you need to free some space. One of the
solutions is to find large files, for instance through the find
<para>The next example finds all files of at least 50mbyte in size from
the current location:</para>
<programlisting>$ <command>find . -type f -size +50M</command>
<para>Another frequently used method for cleaning up files is to find
all files of a certain age (modification time). For instance, to find
all files of at least 10Mbyte with an age of at least 1 year old (365
<programlisting>$ <command>find . -type f -size +10M -mtime +365</command></programlisting>
<title>Cleaning Up Gentoo-related Files</title>
<para>If you work with Gentoo, you have a few commands at your disposal
that help you clean out Gentoo-specific files as well.</para>
<para>With <command>eclean</command><indexterm>
</indexterm>, which is part of
<package>app-portage/gentoolkit</package>, most Gentoo space-consuming
directories can be cleaned in a safe manner:</para>
<para>the distfiles location, where Gentoo Portage stores all
downloaded source code (in case it needs to rebuild packages), can
be cleaned with <command>eclean distfiles</command>:</para>
<programlisting># <command>eclean distfiles</command></programlisting>
<para>As a result, all downloaded source code of packages that are
not installed on the system any more is removed from the distfiles
<para>the packages location, wheren Gentoo Portage stores the binary
package builds of the packages you install (this is not on by
default, but I recommend it if you have sufficient amount of space
as it can help you recover from certain disasters quickly), can be
cleaned with <command>eclean packages</command>:</para>
<programlisting># <command>eclean packages</command></programlisting>
<para>Another location that you may clean is
<filename>/var/tmp/portage</filename>. At this location, Portage
performs the entire build process. If an ebuild build process fails, the
files are left at this location (this is deliberate, so that one can
debug and perhaps fix the build failure manually). Since most users
don't manually fix this, if you are not emerge'ing anything, this entire
folder can be made empty.</para>
<title>Resizing Partitions</title>
<para>It is possible to resize partitions, although I recommend that, if
you plan on using this a lot, you should take a look at LVM2 (logical
volume management) which provides an easier and safer method for
resizing filesystems.</para>
<title>Resizing xt2/ext3 file systems</title>
<para>To increase the size of an ext3 file system, you first need to
resize the partition. You can do this with <command>fdisk</command> by
removing the partition and then recreating it, starting from the same
point as the original partition started, but now larger. Of course,
this means that the partition cannot be mounted at that time. Then,
run <command>resize2fs</command><indexterm>
</indexterm> against the device. The tool will automatically expand
the file system to use the entire partition again. Once the resize is
completed, you can mount the file system again.</para>
<programlisting># <command>fdisk /dev/sda</command>
<emphasis>(Edit partition sda3, making it take more space than before)</emphasis>
# <command>resize2fs /dev/sda3</command></programlisting>
<para>If you want to decrease the size of an ext3 file system, you
first need to use <command>resize2fs</command> to shrink the file
system. Then you edit the partition table again, removing the existing
partition and recreating it, but with a smaller size, and again
starting the partition from the same point as the original partition
<programlisting># <command>resize2fs /dev/sda3 10G</command>
# <command>fdisk /dev/sda</command></programlisting>
<para>As you can see, resizing an ext2/ext3 file system suffers from
the following draw-backs:</para>
<para>the file system cannot be mounted at the time of resizing.
If you want to resize the root partition, this means you'll need
to boot from a LiveCD, LiveUSB or another operating system</para>
<para>the resize operation can only manipulate the end of the
partition. The start of the partition must remain the same. In
other words, if your entire disk is used by partitions, you cannot
increase any partition without deleting one or more partitions
behind it (you cannot shrink the last partition by moving its
starting point closer to the end).</para>
<title>Resizing other file systems</title>
<para>Almost every file system technology has a command to resize its
file system. Some even support online resizing, provided that the
storage on which the file system is put (partition) already has
unallocated space available. As most people use partitions, this still
requires unmounting the file system and editing the partition table
using fdisk.</para>
<para>The XFS file system has <command>xfs_growfs</command><indexterm>
</indexterm>, the JFS file system uses mount options to
<programlisting><emphasis>(Resizing a JFS file system)</emphasis>
# <command>mount -o remount,resize /jfs/filesystem/mountpoint</command></programlisting>
<title>Limiting User Files</title>
<para>It is possible to limit the amount of files, or total disk space
that a particular user can take on an individual partition. This is
especially useful when you have multiple users on your system (and you
don't want a single user to take almost all disk space on your /home
partition - provided that it already is a separate partition, which I
strongly recommend). A second possible reason to do this is when /home
is not on a separate partition, and you don't want any user to be able
to fill up your root partition.</para>
<para>This kind of support is called <emphasis>quota</emphasis> support.
Quota support (which requires kernel level support as well) is based
upon two simple files that you place in the root folder of the mount
point. Inside this file, you specify per user (for the
<filename>aquota.user</filename> file) or group (for the
<filename></filename> file) how much blocks (kilobytes)
and/or inodes (files/directories) can be used. The soft limit there is
when the system will start complaining, the hard limit is a final limit
- the user or group cannot go beyond that.</para>
<para>To use quota, first install the qouta utilities.</para>
<programlisting># <command>emerge sys-fs/quota</command></programlisting>
<para>Next, edit /etc/fstab and add usrquota,grpquota (or one of the two
depending on how you want to configure your quota's) as mount
<programlisting># <command>nano -w /etc/fstab</command>
<emphasis>(Edit the mount parameters, like so:)</emphasis>
/dev/sda3 /home ext3 defaults,noatime,usrquota,grpquota 0 0</programlisting>
<para>Create, inside the mount point, the quota files. Then remount the
file system and initialize the quota files:</para>
<programlisting># <command>touch /home/aquota.user /home/</command>
# <command>chmod 600 /home/aquota.*</command>
# <command>mount -o remount /home</command>
# <command>quotacheck -avugm</command>
# <command>quotaon -avug</command></programlisting>
<para>Finally, set the quota's using the
</indexterm> commands. The next example edits the quota's for the
raghat user and for the group "usergroup". The command will open up your
standard editor (<command>vi</command> or <command>nano</command>) and
display the current quota limits (0 means unlimited). You can then just
edit the file to your liking. Changes will be effective
<programlisting># <command>edquota -u raghat</command>
# <command>edquota -g usergroup</command></programlisting>
<para><ulink url="">Linux Partition
HOWTO</ulink>, section "<ulink
with fdisk</ulink>"</para>
<para><ulink url="">HAL
and device management</ulink>, written by Mark Longair</para>
with KDE</ulink>, part of KDE base documentation</para>