Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

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milkyspit
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Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by milkyspit »

I'm running Linux Mint 10 on an Asus Eee 4G netbook. The 4GB SSD is soldered-in, so no ability to swap it for something larger, and it's not practical to use an external drive on an ongoing basis.

My Mint installation at present leaves only 400MB free. This is not good! I'm hoping to free as much as possible via either drive compression or removal of unnecessary software from the fileysystem.

On an ancient version of Ubuntu loaded on this netbook, I'd compressed the filesystem using squashfs and unionfs in my fstab, but it appears one or both these technologies have been phased out of the current Linux world, and I see no practical alternative. (Please help here if I'm mistaken!)

That leaves removal of unnecessary baggage. What can I remove that won't impact day-to-day use of the system and will save as much space as possible? Examples: the man files and other documentation? Particularly bloated packages that the average user doesn't generally miss?

For background: my wife is the primary day-to-day user of this netbook. She uses it for web browsing, office tasks (spreadsheets, documents, presentations), gmail, listening to music, and similar end user tasks. I've been moving her toward using Google Apps for her office software needs, but she does occasionally still open/edit files locally.

There's got to be a way! What can I do?
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TBABill
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by TBABill »

Honestly, I'd look at Peppermit OS (also based on Ubuntu) or another minimal system. And choose something other than Gnome or KDE to get you some hard drive space back as well (and use less resources). Extra video drivers that are sometimes installed, language packs if you have any on the system, extra fonts, wallpapers, themes, games, multiple browsers.
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milkyspit
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by milkyspit »

TBABill wrote:Honestly, I'd look at Peppermit OS (also based on Ubuntu) or another minimal system. And choose something other than Gnome or KDE to get you some hard drive space back as well (and use less resources). Extra video drivers that are sometimes installed, language packs if you have any on the system, extra fonts, wallpapers, themes, games, multiple browsers.
We already tried Peppermint OS for several months, and didn't like it at all. My wife found the desktop inconsistent and jarring in many subtle ways. For my part, I got pretty disenchanted by a variety of bugs that made computing on this machine harder than it had to be... compounded by a lack of information online as to how to resolve, and/or in some cases, almost a contempt toward users reporting them, as if to say, "there isn't a bug here! you must be imagining it. stupid user." That didn't go over well given my lifelong passion has been computer science and the majority of my career thus far was spent in IT.

I mean no disrespect for Peppermint OS itself, and really WANTED to like it. But it didn't work out.

Yes, I know Mint isn't the leanest possible solution... but it seems the right combination of working well and being reasonably efficient. Plus, our other machines are running Ubuntu or Mint, which makes things consistent. (Not a big deal for me, but my wife doesn't do well having to learn a different window manager and such for each computer she might happen to use.)

The netbook has 2GB memory so resources aren't all that constrained, especially given the typical uses for this particular netbook.

It's the 4GB hard drive that presents a big brick wall.

Surely there's a way to compress the filesystem and/or trim some fat??
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by viking777 »

4Gb is a very small space for a whole version of LInux Mint (even the lightweight ones). Particularly as that presumably includes your home folder as well. I know nothing about file system compression so I can't help you with that, but I can help a little bit with removing stuff. Firstly launch synaptic the package manager. In the bottom left hand panel click on 'Status' in the top left hand panel click on 'Installed' . Now, simply go through that list and see if you can find anything that you are certain you never use. 90% of the packages listed will probably be unknown to you (or me for that matter) - don't touch them. In particular, never touch anything that starts with 'lib' , 'python' or 'x', 'perl' or 'ruby' leave them alone. But there are certain things that can definitely go If you have them installed.

Open Office or Libre Office - a huge waste of space for most people. Replace with Abiword and Gnumeric.
Gimp, an even bigger waste of space - replace with gthumb.
Gnome-games
Compiz

That is not a lot, but you may be able to find some more.

Then open a command line and run the following command

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get clean
This will clear /var/cache/apt/archives or all packages and save an enormous amount of space (the only consequence is that if you have to reinstall a package then you will have to download it again first, this should not be a priority for you given the size of your disk space. You should run this command often.

My last suggestion is that you invest in an external hard drive and store all your personal files, music, documents, downloads etc. on there instead of you internal drive.

Can't think of anything else at the moment except that you give consideration my theory that netbooks are a massive con, always have been, and always will be, so next time buy a proper laptop and you won't have to face this kind of problem again.
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milkyspit
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by milkyspit »

Thank you, viking, for the suggestions.
viking777 wrote:4Gb is a very small space for a whole version of LInux Mint (even the lightweight ones).
Sad. I remember when an entire Linux distribution could fit nicely in 2GB of disk space... but then, maybe that just serves to date me.
viking777 wrote:I know nothing about file system compression so I can't help you with that, but I can help a little bit with removing stuff. Firstly launch synaptic the package manager. In the bottom left hand panel click on 'Status' in the top left hand panel click on 'Installed' . Now, simply go through that list and see if you can find anything that you are certain you never use. 90% of the packages listed will probably be unknown to you (or me for that matter) - don't touch them. In particular, never touch anything that starts with 'lib' , 'python' or 'x', 'perl' or 'ruby' leave them alone. But there are certain things that can definitely go If you have them installed.

Open Office or Libre Office - a huge waste of space for most people. Replace with Abiword and Gnumeric.
Gimp, an even bigger waste of space - replace with gthumb.
Gnome-games
Compiz
I've removed some things but didn't touch the office suites (yet)... will look at replacing Open Office with Abiword and Gnumeric. Haven't used these, so it will be interesting! ...and if it saves a few hundred MB in the process, mission accomplished. :)
viking777 wrote:Particularly as that presumably includes your home folder as well.
I've got an 8GB SDHC card semi-permanently inserted in the built-in card drive so my wife can save most of her personal files there. Now I need to teach her (as well as remind from time to time) to use it for that purpose. (sigh.)
viking777 wrote:Can't think of anything else at the moment except that you give consideration my theory that netbooks are a massive con, always have been, and always will be, so next time buy a proper laptop and you won't have to face this kind of problem again.
I'm inclined to agree with you. However, I didn't buy this machine... got it free when I bought a color laser printer a couple Christmas seasons ago, via one of those insane limited-time blowout specials at Newegg. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and if I was buying the printer anyway PLUS they wanted to give me a free netbook, so be it! :)

In fairness, the extremely low power consumption and utter silence (passive CPU cooling and SSD) make the thing easy to live with around here, especially when the rest of my family tends to leave the computer on all the time... but that's another story...

Really, really stupid to solder the SSD into the chassis: any manufacturer doing that earns my eternal enmity.
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Aging Technogeek
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by Aging Technogeek »

To compliment viking777's excellent suggestion to run

Code: Select all

sudu apt-get clean
frequently, you should also run

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get autoremove
occasionally. Especially after you have removed a few apps. This command will remove the orphan dependencies left behind when an app is removed. Over time, these unneeded and unused files can accumulate quite a lot of MiB.
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DrHu
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Re: Need to free disk space: what can I safely remove?

Post by DrHu »

Along with those other application or system cleaning routines, I might run bleachbit to clean out any browser caches, history etc etc
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