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Re: Bug#354875: /bin/cp directory full vs. disk full messages

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: Bug#354875: /bin/cp directory full vs. disk full messages
Date: Tue, 07 Mar 2006 06:04:58 -0700
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According to Dan Jacobson on 2/28/2006 10:44 PM:
> Version: 5.93-5

The latest stable version is 5.94 - consider upgrading.

> Separate "directory full" from "disk full" when giving messages to the
> user, else he might never guess the solution.

This would require support from the kernel - coreutils is just faithfully
printing the error string associated with ENOSPC, which is unfortunately
the same error returned by the kernel whether the directory or the disk is

> Maybe historically for UNIX this would never happen, so the messages
> were never improved.

Correct - FAT is one of the few filesystems where the root directory is
inherently limited in the number of files it can contain; normal Unix
filesystems can use as many inodes in any directory as the device
contains.  In other words, a directory is normally never full unless the
disk has no spare inodes anywhere, whereas in your case, you could still
create files in an existing subdirectory, just not in the root directory.

Also, be aware that even on traditional Unix filesystems it is possible to
consume all of a device's inodes while still having spare space (existing
files can grow, but no new files created), or to consume all the non-inode
space while still having spare inodes (existing files can't grow beyond
their current block size, but it may be possible to create empty files).
In other words, a "no space left" error message is about as accurate as
you can get.

In my mind, it is unfortunate that FAT was chosen as the filesystem of
choice for flash drives, since FAT cannot preserve file permissions.

- --
Life is short - so eat dessert first!

Eric Blake             address@hidden

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