Lack of disk space for installation after downloading packages

Bug #9459 reported by Andrew Zajac
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
pkgsel (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The installation of several packages seemed to fail silently as the free disk space on
my 2.1 Gig hard drive fell to zero. This occurred during the setting up of packages,
after their unpacking.

If it is not possible to calculate the needed space, perhaps a warning about free disk
space when asking whether to dowload packages from the internet is required.

Revision history for this message
Andrew Zajac (arzajac) wrote :

I reinstalled twice. The first time without download packages, I saw that my
free disk space falls to about three megs just before ubuntu-desktop sets up and
frees something like 350 megs of space. My hard drive is partitioned by the
installer into a 129 meg swap and a 1.9 meg partition. It would seem that the
installation requires more than 1.8 gigs of harddrive space.

When I reinstalled, I made my partition 50 megs smaller and saw that the drive
space fall to zero early in the setup phase (but not in the unpacking phase)
Most packages were set up with no drive space left. I again go no error but was
shown the welcome to ubuntu page after all was finished. I am assuming that
these packages are not set up properly.

As more security updates occurr, that much more disk space will be required. If
there will soon be, say, 120 megs worth of updates, people with smaller
harddrives or someone who only creates a 1.8 gig partition to try out Ubuntu
will run into trouble. Perhaps the recommendations about free disk space should
be reviewed and the free space should be checked during the install.

Revision history for this message
David Stevenson (david-avoncliff) wrote :

On related install problem.
Installing from printed x86 install disk on winXP system with 20gig drive. The
user was shown free space on the drive as 8.9meg and miss read this as 8.9gig,
selected use the free space for new partition. The install then proceeded with
out any complaints until it failed unable to install bash. The only option was
the restart the machine, but the XP boot failed, the user assumed the hard disk
was totally trashed.
I propose:
1. Space is checked before install starts. (Posibly just servere warnings about
are you sure this is enough, but refuse to continue may be better)
2. The original win partition is left in a bootable state at all times till grub
is working.
Hope this helps.

Revision history for this message
Martin Pitt (pitti) wrote :

*** Bug 12948 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
Daniel O'Donnell (daniel-odonnell) wrote :

This is a pretty critical issue if it is the same thing that happened to me. I
downloaded about 100 font files using synaptic: install was interrupted by a
"diskful" error for "filesystem" (I was unable to figure out where the files
were going, but I imagine it is the boot partition?), even though there was
still 10.2 gig in /home. Moreover, on reboot, I could only get in using the
terminal interface. Ultimately I temporarily solved the problem by brute force:
went in in terminal mode, deleted contents of /tmp (not enough) and ultimately
of /usr/cache/apt/archives (which caused other minor problems). When I could
reboot with Gnome, I checked synaptic to see what was wrong, only to be told I
needed to run dkpg --config -a because the pacakge installer had been
interrupted... which started the whole problem over again. And now I can't get
in anymore except by terminal and I can't find anything large to delete.

It seems to me there are three issues here: 1) Ubuntu should never allow the the
filesystem to get so full that it can't reboot Gnome 2) Synaptic should have
some kind of obvious interrupt and undue functionality so users can undue packet
loads that have gone screwy like this; 3) there must be something wrong with
Synaptic if it can ring the whole system to a halt like this.

Revision history for this message
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

(In reply to comment #4)
> This is a pretty critical issue if it is the same thing that happened to me. I
> downloaded about 100 font files using synaptic:

synaptic is not used in the installer. While there is some commonality here,
it's a different bug. Please don't upgrade the severity of this one.

> Moreover, on reboot, I could only get in using the terminal interface.

This seems to me to be a flaw in GNOME.

Revision history for this message
Christian Kirbach (christian-kirbach) wrote :

How can that be a flaw in GNOME if disk space is down to 0 bytes and it won't start?
That probably applys to most apps.

In my opinion it is essential that the installer (not synaptic) must check for sufficient available disk space (at Ubuntu install time
Regarding Warty the installer did not even tell how much disk space will be needed, if I am not mistaken.

I'd really call it a severe shortcoming.

Revision history for this message
Donald Allwright (donald-allwright) wrote :

I have a 2.2GByte disk and had this problem. It turned out that /var/cache/apt had about 300MBytes of cached
downloads in it. After manually deleting these, I had enough free space to work. Still, for someone new to
Linux this would be a problem. Kynaptic/Synaptic should have a means of clearing the cache in any case (I'm
using KUbuntu), even better would be some sort of 'cleanup utility' that could be run if you are short of space
and deletes all known files that are not strictly necessary.

Revision history for this message
Jani Monoses (jani) wrote :

Happened to me twice while setting aside close to minimum disk space for an
install of breezy Colony 4 and preview (2G)
I assumed the minimum is still 1.8 G as I did not find updated requirements for
breezy.Is estimation of the total disk usage hard?
I naively assume sum of deb sizes packed and unpacked, once the set of packages
is known.
I know windows refuses to start installation unless a certain amount of space is

Revision history for this message
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

*** Bug 27819 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Revision history for this message
Carthik Sharma (carthik) wrote :

This bug has been confirmed by multiple folks. Changing the status to Confirmed.

Changed in pkgsel:
status: Unconfirmed → Confirmed
Colin Watson (cjwatson)
Changed in pkgsel:
assignee: kamion → nobody
Revision history for this message
Przemek K. (azrael) wrote :

Is this bug still relevant? Can someone test it on Karmic?

Revision history for this message
rusivi2 (rusivi2-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

We are closing this bug report because it lacks the information we need to investigate the problem, as described in the previous comments. Please reopen it if you can give us the missing information, and don't hesitate to submit bug reports in the future. To reopen the bug report you can click on the current status, under the Status column, and change the Status back to "New". Thanks again!

Changed in pkgsel (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Changed in baltix:
status: New → Invalid
Revision history for this message
rusivi2 (rusivi2-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. My apologies as I should not have marked this Invalid. The issue that you reported is one that should be reproducible with the live environment of the Desktop CD of the development release - Maverick Meerkat. It would help us greatly if you could test with it so we can work on getting it fixed in the next release of Ubuntu. You can find out more about the development release at . Thanks again and we appreciate your help.

Changed in pkgsel (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → Incomplete
Changed in baltix:
status: Invalid → New
Revision history for this message
Colin Watson (cjwatson) wrote :

No need to answer the previous question. This is a known issue, but it crosses many layers in complicated ways so is unlikely to be fixed any time soon. In the meantime, it is a valid bug and should remain open.

Changed in pkgsel (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Triaged
Revision history for this message
Arthur Peters (amp) wrote :

Would it be possible to simply add a warning for small root partitions? Just set a fixed "soft minimum" like 5GB, and if the size is less than that warn the user that they may run into problems. That way people who know what they are doing can still attempt installs on really small disks, but the great unwashed will not run into this problem.

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