Free up rootfs space

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.


Disable extras-testing and extras-devel and 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

Clear apt-cache

Run following command as root (after you have disabled extras-testing&extras-devel)

apt-get clean

And reboot after that.

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 defalut 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)


Use a script to move themes to /home/opt/

This script will move some files to /home/opt/ allowing rootfs space to be freed:

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

# script for moving stuff from / to /home/opt to get more rootfs space on Nokia N900 Maemo 5
# ignoring errors when creating dirs that may already exist
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/themes 2> /dev/null
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/icons 2> /dev/null
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/hildon-welcome 2> /dev/null
mkdir -p /home/opt/usr/share/pixmaps 2> /dev/null
mkdir -p /home/opt/var/cache/apt 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

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

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

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

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

/home/opt/ Make the script executable:

chmod +x

Then run the script as root:


Move the default themes directory to /opt

The themes directory can be moved outside of /usr/share and into /opt by (rootsh has to be installed). Type following commands as root:

mv /usr/share/themes /home/opt/themes2
ln -s /home/opt/themes2/ /usr/share/themes

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