2016-06-04

[Technology] Spending all of my disk space

I used to save a lot of content to my computer that I thought was cool.  I, however, almost never access any of it.  Consequently, I'm trying to stop being such a collector.  Good bye decade old wallpaper collection. (* HA!  I'm not actually going to DELETE it.  I'm just going to risk having it stored on an external hard drive. :P)



Another recent problem is that my system uses GNOME Software and PackageKit to manage packages and updates. However, for correctness, it wants to only update packages during a restart.  (https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/OfflineSystemUpdates)  Of course, I almost never restart my computer, and end up just using dnf ("Dandified Yum" (yum: Yellowdog Updater, Modified (replaced yup: Yellowdog Updater, which was the update manager for Yellow Dog Linux, which focussed on PowerPCs, GPUs, and high performance computing).  So, GNOME Software uses PackageKit to pre-download updates, which wait to be applied during the next update.  However, I end up installing them separately before that using dnf.  Then, GNOME Software and PackageKit by default just leave them there in the cache, FOREVER.  Over 4 months, that consumed 5GB of space.  If I had to pay for all that data, that would be a huge redundant waste.  So much effort with delta RPMs to conserve data used in updating, only to waste it like that, by having double-downloads?  That's a bug: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=80053


Replacing libraries and files while the OS is running can cause
problems ranging from application crashes to inconsistent system states
where processes are using different versions of a library at the same
time. By installing system updates 'outside' the normal system
operation, we avoid these problems.
- https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/OfflineSystemUpdates

One of the commentators on the FreeDesktop bug report uses a cron job for the command:


pkcon refresh force -c -1

I haven't done much with cron for a while, so I used Arch Linux's great documentation on cron and the man pages, before deciding that I'd actually give the Future (er, present) a try with systemd timers.  A combination of the documentation, Arch Linux's page on it, and this random blog post by Jason Graham, I ended up adding a pretty minimal .service and .timer pair of files.



Yay, problem worked around.


Proper solution?


This probably would have entailed trying to write and submit a patch that would have done one of the following:


  • cause packagekit to discard superseded packages in its cache, or

  • cause GNOME Software to let you choose to do risky, online updates, or

  • cause dnf aware of packagekit's cache so we don't have to re-download and waste data (seems kind of dumb), or

  • cause multiple solutions to share the same package cache directory, or

  • use something like ostree to make 'online' updates safe


 Who knows.

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