Debian Bug report logs - #245465
Use tmpfs for /tmp when there is enough RAM

Package: partman-auto; Maintainer for partman-auto is Debian Install System Team <debian-boot@lists.debian.org>; Source for partman-auto is src:partman-auto.

Reported by: Matthias Urlichs <smurf@debian.org>

Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 11:48:02 UTC

Severity: wishlist

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Bug#245465; Package debian-installer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #5 received at submit@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Matthias Urlichs <smurf@debian.org>
To: Debian Bug Tracking System <submit@bugs.debian.org>
Subject: debian-installer: Use tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 13:31:18 +0200
Package: debian-installer
Severity: minor

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Hash: SHA1

The multiuser partitioning scheme creates a 18-MB partition for /tmp
(hard disk size: 100 GB).

On systems with 'enough' main memory (such as this here 1-GB machine),
this doesn't make sense.

- -- System Information:
Debian Release: testing/unstable
  APT prefers testing
  APT policy: (650, 'testing'), (601, 'unstable'), (552, 'experimental')
Architecture: i386 (i686)
Kernel: Linux 2.6.4-rc2-1.2
Locale: LANG=en_US.utf8, LC_CTYPE=de_DE.utf8

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Bug#245465; Package debian-installer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #10 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Martin Michlmayr <tbm@cyrius.com>
To: Matthias Urlichs <smurf@debian.org>, 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: debian-installer: Use tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 14:04:16 +0100
reassign 245465 partman-auto
thanks

* Matthias Urlichs <smurf@debian.org> [2004-04-23 13:31]:
> The multiuser partitioning scheme creates a 18-MB partition for /tmp
> (hard disk size: 100 GB).

partman-auto does this.

> Subject: Re: Bug#245465: debian-installer: Use tmpfs for /tmp

But I suppose d-i doesn't automatically use tmps for /tmp when you
have much memory?
-- 
Martin Michlmayr
tbm@cyrius.com



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Bug#245465; Package debian-installer. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #15 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: "Matthias Urlichs" <smurf@smurf.noris.de>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: debian-installer: Use tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 15:38:33 +0200
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Hi,

Martin Michlmayr:
> But I suppose d-i doesn't automatically use tmps for /tmp when you
> have much memory?

Well, as soon as d-i is taught to create a /tmp in RAM if none already
exists (and if the machine has more than X MBytes of RAM), partman may
be taught to not create /tmp if the machine has more than Y MBytes.

X <= Y, obviously.

-- 
Matthias Urlichs   |   {M:U} IT Design @ m-u-it.de   |  smurf@smurf.noris.de
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Bug reassigned from package `debian-installer' to `partman'. Request was from Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Changed Bug title. Request was from Anton Zinoviev <anton@lml.bas.bg> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Severity set to `wishlist'. Request was from Anton Zinoviev <anton@lml.bas.bg> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Bug reassigned from package `partman' to `partman-auto'. Request was from Anton Zinoviev <anton@lml.bas.bg> to control@bugs.debian.org. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Debian Install System Team <debian-boot@lists.debian.org>:
Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #28 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 01:10:15 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Hi,

do you intend to change this for lenny? The change is absolutely
trivial, and has very positive side effects, like the guarantee of a
usable system even if all filesystems are full.

Given the current memory requirements of debian-installer, I don't think
there is a target system for which it isn't a sane default.

Cheers,
-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #33 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Christian Perrier <bubulle@debian.org>
To: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>, 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 06:13:00 +0000
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Quoting Josselin Mouette (joss@debian.org):
> Hi,
> 
> do you intend to change this for lenny? The change is absolutely
> trivial, and has very positive side effects, like the guarantee of a
> usable system even if all filesystems are full.
> 
> Given the current memory requirements of debian-installer, I don't think
> there is a target system for which it isn't a sane default.


The main point here is having real maintenance of partman-* stuff.

All these parts of d-i (and indeed several other parts) are in
maintenance mode with noone actively working on them.

So, actually, I don't think there would be any strong opposition of
the remaining D-I team members for such change...as long as someone
takes the task of working on it (without breaking D-I, you would have
guessed).

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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #38 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465 <245465@bugs.debian.org>
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 11:35:00 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Hi,

Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 06:13 +0000, Christian Perrier a écrit :
> So, actually, I don't think there would be any strong opposition of
> the remaining D-I team members for such change...as long as someone
> takes the task of working on it (without breaking D-I, you would have
> guessed).

Well, I can't check whether this will actually break D-I because I don't
have a test environment, but AIUI the attached patch should do the
trick.

Cheers,
-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
[partman-tmpfs.diff (text/x-patch, attachment)]
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #43 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Frans Pop <elendil@planet.nl>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Cc: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 12:52:12 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
On Saturday 10 November 2007, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 06:13 +0000, Christian Perrier a écrit :
> > So, actually, I don't think there would be any strong opposition of
> > the remaining D-I team members for such change...as long as someone
> > takes the task of working on it (without breaking D-I, you would have
> > guessed).
>
> Well, I can't check whether this will actually break D-I because I don't
> have a test environment, but AIUI the attached patch should do the
> trick.

I wonder whether this shouldn't include a check for minimal available RAM 
size.

Is tmpfs still a good idea for systems with little RAM?
I'm thinking NSLU, m68k, older 486/Pentiums, etc.
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #48 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 13:28:01 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 12:52 +0100, Frans Pop a écrit :
> I wonder whether this shouldn't include a check for minimal available RAM 
> size.
> 
> Is tmpfs still a good idea for systems with little RAM?
> I'm thinking NSLU, m68k, older 486/Pentiums, etc.

I think so. The reason is that on such systems, files will be almost
directly written to the swap.

With tmpfs, the situation is very similar to that of a regular
filesystem. On a regular filesystem, they will be cached in the VFS
layer during read/writes, and later if there is enough memory available.
IIRC, in modern VMs this is done with the same heuristics for all kinds
of pages.

Add to that the fact tmpfs has less memory overhead than other
filesystems, and this makes an argument for using it even on low memory
systems.

The only case where this will cause trouble is when there isn't enough
swap. In this case, real memory will start to be used for unused pages,
not leaving enough memory for caching files, which can cause giant
performance issues. By default, the tmpfs size is half of that of the
physical, so with our default swap sizes this is unlikely to happen only
because the tmpfs filled the swap. If you want to be safe, maybe you can
increase the minimum swap size from 96 MiB to 128 MiB.

-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #53 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Frans Pop <elendil@planet.nl>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Cc: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 13:19:14 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
On Saturday 10 November 2007, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> Well, I can't check whether this will actually break D-I because I don't
> have a test environment, but AIUI the attached patch should do the
> trick.

Testing D-I is trivial using for example qemu or virtualbox. As all you're 
changing is simple files, there's no need for a custom build to test this: 
just make the changes on the fly before you get to the partitioning step.

Cheers,
FJP
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #58 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Frans Pop <elendil@planet.nl>
To: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>, 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 14:44:10 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
On Saturday 10 November 2007, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> The only case where this will cause trouble is when there isn't enough
> swap. In this case, real memory will start to be used for unused pages,
> not leaving enough memory for caching files, which can cause giant
> performance issues. By default, the tmpfs size is half of that of the
> physical, so with our default swap sizes this is unlikely to happen only
> because the tmpfs filled the swap. If you want to be safe, maybe you can
> increase the minimum swap size from 96 MiB to 128 MiB.

D-I does allow setting up a system without swap and I have seen installation 
reports where users actually did that. Of course, in most cases that will 
be on systems with a fair amount of RAM, but maybe it would be a good idea 
to not set up tmpfs in that case (and just let tmp be part of /).

I've also seen some systems will get really heavy tmp usage. If you look at 
gluck for example, that currently has ~500MB used and I have seen it use 
the full 2.8GB, mostly because of stale files from various cron jobs and 
temporary CVS server files.

I also must say that I'm not sure if I'd want tmp to use up memory/swap 
space on the two old Pentium desktops I abuse as servers here at home. 
Somehow just having /tmp on physical disk just feels safer.
For desktop usage, using tmpfs probably makes sense, but for servers?

Any idea what other distros do?
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Message #63 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 15:38:49 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 14:44 +0100, Frans Pop a écrit :
> D-I does allow setting up a system without swap and I have seen installation 
> reports where users actually did that. 

There's nothing we can do against users shooting themselves in the foot.

> Of course, in most cases that will 
> be on systems with a fair amount of RAM, but maybe it would be a good idea 
> to not set up tmpfs in that case (and just let tmp be part of /).

In that case the user is just screwed, but it is indeed better to not
make things worse by setting up tmpfs. I'm attaching a new version of
the corresponding script.

> I've also seen some systems will get really heavy tmp usage. If you look at 
> gluck for example, that currently has ~500MB used and I have seen it use 
> the full 2.8GB, mostly because of stale files from various cron jobs and 
> temporary CVS server files.

Well, in the case of gluck the default tmpfs size would be 2 GiB, so I
say that would be enough. The administrator of a machine can still
increase that size if needed. With the proposed changes, he can also
still setup a /tmp partition by hand in the installer - you don't use
partman-auto when you know the server will be special.

> I also must say that I'm not sure if I'd want tmp to use up memory/swap 
> space on the two old Pentium desktops I abuse as servers here at home. 
> Somehow just having /tmp on physical disk just feels safer.

I think having it on a physical disk that is purged upon reboot merely
makes a psychological difference.

> For desktop usage, using tmpfs probably makes sense, but for servers?

Servers benefit from tmpfs just as much as desktops. If the root
partition is full, you can't do anything on both of them. By enforcing
the separation of /tmp, creating a tmpfs if there is no dedicated
partition, we can guarantee that a reboot will let enough room for
daemons to start.

I've been using tmpfs for a long time on most systems I've owned or
administered, including clusters of hundreds of nodes and giant file
servers, and it only showed benefits. (Well, there was that crappy
kernel module that crashed when writing debugging information in /tmp,
but that was a bug that we actually helped fixing this way.)

> Any idea what other distros do?

*cough* I've seen some distributions not even purging their /tmp at
reboot time despite what the FHS says, so they're completely screwed on
tmpfs. I don't know for all distributions, though.

Cheers,
-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
[tmpfs_for_tmp (application/x-shellscript, attachment)]
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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Miro Dietiker <miro.dietiker.maillist@md-systems.ch>:
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Message #68 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Miro Dietiker <miro.dietiker.maillist@md-systems.ch>
To: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>, 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 15:58:48 +0100
I followed this discussion and finally thought about what are we using 
tmpfiles for...

Josselin Mouette schrieb:
> Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 14:44 +0100, Frans Pop a écrit :
>   
>> D-I does allow setting up a system without swap and I have seen installation 
>> reports where users actually did that. 
>>     
> There's nothing we can do against users shooting themselves in the foot.
>   
>> Of course, in most cases that will 
>> be on systems with a fair amount of RAM, but maybe it would be a good idea 
>> to not set up tmpfs in that case (and just let tmp be part of /).
>>     
> In that case the user is just screwed, but it is indeed better to not
> make things worse by setting up tmpfs. I'm attaching a new version of
> the corresponding script.
>   
I see some typical applications where huge tmp comes into place:
Say i'm processing huge amount of data (but i'm not using a 
database-like thing).
Sometimes it makes sense to place chunks of huge files into tmp - such 
as expanded images, parts of a huge pdf build, ...

There are apps use tmp in this way to get rid if memory usage for things 
which need e.g. no continous permanent random access - say few writes, 
few reads (in my case: one write, one read).
This generally is associated with the intention to have RAM and swap 
untouched, unpolluted and system resources perform as none such 
resources where used.

I'm processing this way huge amount of data (Gigabyte PDFs with image 
data) and never associated using /tmp to relate memory or swap usage. My 
memory and swap would not be enough to do so...

In general i think /tmp should remain some own idea and mapping it into 
memory with tmpfs by default is odd...
But could be my point of view is dinosaur-like...

This behaviour as an option i would vote for ;-)
Am i so far from todays world?




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Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

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Message #73 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465 <245465@bugs.debian.org>
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 17:39:33 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
Hi,

Le samedi 10 novembre 2007 à 15:58 +0100, Miro Dietiker a écrit :
> I followed this discussion and finally thought about what are we using 
> tmpfiles for...
  
> I see some typical applications where huge tmp comes into place:
> Say i'm processing huge amount of data (but i'm not using a 
> database-like thing).
> Sometimes it makes sense to place chunks of huge files into tmp - such 
> as expanded images, parts of a huge pdf build, ...
> 
> There are apps use tmp in this way to get rid if memory usage for things 
> which need e.g. no continous permanent random access - say few writes, 
> few reads (in my case: one write, one read).
> This generally is associated with the intention to have RAM and swap 
> untouched, unpolluted and system resources perform as none such 
> resources where used.
> 
> I'm processing this way huge amount of data (Gigabyte PDFs with image 
> data) and never associated using /tmp to relate memory or swap usage. My 
> memory and swap would not be enough to do so...

I have not tested such uses, especially those involving so large files,
but I don't think you would see much difference if you just replaced
your 2 GB /tmp partition by a tmpfs and 2 extra gigabytes of swap.

In all cases, I'm not sure /tmp is the best filesystem for handling
manipulation of such large data; at least, I would not rely on it on all
computers. Especially those where /tmp is on the root filesystem.

Cheers,
-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
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Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Debian Install System Team <debian-boot@lists.debian.org>:
Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>:
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Message #78 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org>
To: 245465 <245465@bugs.debian.org>
Subject: Re: Bug#245465: tmpfs for /tmp
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 18:57:59 +0100
[Message part 1 (text/plain, inline)]
So, what is the current situation of this bug? Are you willing me to
improve the patch? If so, in what ways should it be improved?

Cheers,
-- 
 .''`.
: :' :      We are debian.org. Lower your prices, surrender your code.
`. `'       We will add your hardware and software distinctiveness to
  `-        our own. Resistance is futile.
[signature.asc (application/pgp-signature, inline)]

Information forwarded to debian-bugs-dist@lists.debian.org, Debian Install System Team <debian-boot@lists.debian.org>:
Bug#245465; Package partman-auto. (Sat, 16 Apr 2011 18:30:03 GMT) Full text and rfc822 format available.

Acknowledgement sent to Adam Borowski <kilobyte@angband.pl>:
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Message #83 received at 245465@bugs.debian.org (full text, mbox):

From: Adam Borowski <kilobyte@angband.pl>
To: 245465@bugs.debian.org
Subject: use swap size, not RAM
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2011 19:56:45 +0200
What if we looked at the size of available swap rather than RAM?

People don't really expect to have their actual memory eaten by something
that appears to be a disk filesystem (and used to be one).  I'd say that
eating some of swap space would be less surprising.

In other words: a machine with 64MB RAM + swap will want to use tmpfs (much
faster than a regular filesystem), but one with 1-2GB and no swap probably
won't.

-- 
1KB		// Microsoft corollary to Hanlon's razor:
		//	Never attribute to stupidity what can be
		//	adequately explained by malice.




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