[Gllug] ext3 filesystem suddenly full

Chris Jones cmsj at tenshu.net
Fri Jun 22 18:00:48 UTC 2007


Bruce Richardson wrote:
> There is no reason why a GUI filesystem tool can't show the unallocated
> space in LVM.

How are you going to express that cleanly? At the moment nautilus tells
me in each window how much space is free on that partition. "Free space:
12GB (plus 60GB unallocated)" is kind of messy. You certainly can't
collapse the two numbers together, because that partition doesn't have
72GB free, even if it could do after some re-sizing.

> Growing an XFS or Ext3 filesystem is not a delicate, high-risk
> operation. 

It absolutely is. Once started it cannot be interrupted and any problems
or powerloss will utterly trash the system.
Until it's possible to do it online and in such a way that it survives
powerloss, it's not the sort of thing you should be encouraging
"ordinary" users to do as a normal operation when they get a bit low on

> Compare this to the hassle of having to juggle partitions
> that were poorly allocated across the whole of the available space.

That is the classic problem with splitting up a system into lots of
partitions. It works fine on a server because you can largely predict
the usage. It fails miserably on a desktop system, even though they can
benefit a lot by it.

> Arguing against the sensible use of LVM just because it might confuse

I'm pretty sure my points all add up to the suggestion that you guys are
not arguing for sensible use of LVM, but torturously complex and fragile
use of LVM. Don't get me wrong, I like LVM and use it extensively for
flexible file storage, but I am not likely to break it.

> the uninitiated seems a little reactionary; requiring people to add an
> extra disk to a machine just to correct that misjudgement and not
> because the disk is needed, only points that up.

Err no, I'm suggesting that people be prompted to install an extra disk
when they actually need to. As is the case when you have one or two
partitions and they are full.

> and offer point-and-click management tools for it.  What's the point of
> that if the storage system then defaults to the dumbest option?

We started out talking about the guided partitioning options in
installers taking steps to avoid the situation where a bug in cups
filled a disk. Fixing the bug is a good first step, then the system
should be made to function with no free space (e.g. there are specs
targetted for Gutsy which will ensure it can boot and notify the user
that they are out of space).

In the case of this thread, there were very quick and simple suggestions
to identify the culprit and the resolution was also simple. That would
not have been the case if they had a crazy LVM setup, it's significantly
harder to debug remotely.

Chris Jones
  cmsj at tenshu.net
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

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