Free up rootfs space

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[[Category:Power users]]
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{{Category:Firmware update]]
[[Category:Firmware update]]

Revision as of 03:32, 19 February 2010

Some instructions here may cause problems. When unsure, see General precautions

Backing up your data is recommended. In case of trouble you might need to re-flash your device.

Here's a simple howto for those suffering from lack of space in rootfs. The first suggestion is more of a temporary matter, for example to get enough space to install an update, but it's also the fastest and easiest. The suggestions are in order of potential threat to operating system. Least dangerous first and the most dangerous last.

The rest are more permanent (and thus more useful), but they require root access.


Listing Disk Space on your device

Use the 'df' command to determine how much space is allocated, used, and available on your device including rootfs.

$ df -h

Disable Extras-testing, Extras-devel and/or any other third party repositories

Simply check the disabled box and save in the Application Manager's catalogues menu. wait for app manger to update the lists. Of course this only helps if you actually had these repositories enabled.

Disabling extras-testing and extras-devel will (currently) give you an extra 11.5Mb in rootfs

Nokia N900 Maemo 5 Script to free up space on rootfs

This script will move some unnecessary files on rootfs to /home/opt/ to free up space on rootfs.

First, create a file, for example, containing this script:

# Nokia N900 Maemo 5 Script to free up space on rootfs
# ignoring errors when creating dirs that may already exist

# Moving themes to /home/opt
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/themes 2> /dev/null
cp -r /usr/share/themes/* /home/opt/usr/share/themes
rm -r /usr/share/themes
ln -s /home/opt/usr/share/themes /usr/share/themes

# Moving ?? icons to /home/opt
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/icons 2> /dev/null
cp -r /usr/share/icons/* /home/opt/usr/share/icons
rm -r /usr/share/icons
ln -s /home/opt/usr/share/icons /usr/share/icons

# Moving video on start-up to /home/opt
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/hildon-welcome 2> /dev/null
cp -r /usr/share/hildon-welcome/* /home/opt/usr/share/hildon-welcome
rm -r /usr/share/hildon-welcome
ln -s /home/opt/usr/share/hildon-welcome /usr/share/hildon-welcome

# ??
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/pixmaps 2> /dev/null
cp -r /usr/share/pixmaps/* /home/opt/usr/share/pixmaps
rm -r /usr/share/pixmaps
ln -s /home/opt/usr/share/pixmaps /usr/share/pixmaps

# Moving 'apt cache' to /home/opt - Valid until Bug 5746 is fixed.
mkdir -p /home/opt/var/cache/apt 2> /dev/null
cp -r /var/cache/apt/* /home/opt/var/cache/apt
rm -r /var/cache/apt
ln -s /home/opt/var/cache/apt /var/cache/apt

Set the script's permission for executable:

chmod +x

Run the script as root:


Alternative script to safely free space on rootfs

This script shows you much space will be freed and automatically detects whether some directories have already been moved.

Move some of the pre-installed applications into /opt

Some applications like Nokia Maps and the microb-engine are placed in /usr/share taking up valuable root space, moving these files will not affect the apps. Moving Nokia Maps (has to be done as root):

mv /usr/share/nokia-maps /home/opt/
ln -s /home/opt/nokia-maps /usr/share/nokia-maps

Moving the microb-engine (has to be done as root):

mv /usr/share/microb-engine /home/opt
ln -s /home/opt/microb-engine /usr/share/microb-engine

Moving the "Getting started" app/tutorial (has to be done as root):

mv /usr/share/tutorial-applet /home/opt
ln -s /home/opt/tutorial-applet /usr/share/tutorial-applet

Clear 'apt-cache'

Run following command (has to be done as root)

apt-get clean

Use 'apt cache' outside of rootfs

If you run into a problem while using apt-get you can temporarily have the apt cache outside rootfs to be able to download larger deb files.

Create a download folder on the eMMC to be used for the downloaded packages instead of the default apt archive folder.

$ mkdir -p /home/user/MyDocs/apt-archive-cache/archives/partial

Now execute apt-get with the -o option as root:

apt-get -o dir::cache=/home/user/MyDocs/apt-archive-cache dist-upgrade

Optify python

If you have installed python or a python program before python was optified, you can optify it with this method: first open a console, then type the following commands as root:

apt-get install pymaemo-optify
apt-get clean

When the program is installed, type df -h in the xterm to see if it worked. The output should now contain these lines at the end:

                      2064208    471712   1487640  24% /usr/lib/python2.5
                      2064208    471712   1487640  24% /usr/share/pyshared
                      2064208    471712   1487640  24% /usr/lib/pyshared
                      2064208    471712   1487640  24% /usr/share/python-support
                      2064208    471712   1487640  24% /usr/lib/python-support

Remove non-optified packages

If you have installed programs from extras-testing, extras-devel or third party repositories, the programs might not be properly optified. Removing these might help with rootfs space.

You can free space by uninstalling applications that you do not need. A problem is if you do not know how these applications are called. To find it out:

  • open a console
  • start the application that you do not need
  • in the console, type
ps -ef

You get a listing of all running processes, including the application you just started. To find out what package an application belongs to, enter

dpkg --search $(which processname)


Remove ioquake3

The ioquake3 application prevents firmware upgrading no matter how much free space you have on your device. Uninstall it prior to upgrading then reinstall once the upgrade is complete.