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Redirecting Input and Output
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13.15 What to Do with a Full Bit Bucket :-)

[The techniques in this article should be performed carefully, and only by a fully qualified and inexperienced system administrator. -JP]

Q: Our Sun SPARCstation 1+ 4.1 OW2 started running very slowly. When I logged out, I got the message "/dev/null full: empty bit bucket."

A: The problem is that null is full. Your void space is no longer void; it's full up.

The top ways to empty an overflowing bit bucket:

  • Open the computer. Look for the bit bucket, find the red stopper at the bottom of it and open it over a large wastebasket.

  • Take the ethernet terminator off. Type the command:

    % 
    
    cat /dev/null > le0
    
    

    This spits the bits into the ether.

  • When you write to /dev/null , the 0's (zeros) don't take up any space, but the 1's (ones) do. Try writing a file full of 0's to /dev/null . Use binary 0, not ASCII 0; ASCII 0 will start overfilling the partition.

  • This is a common problem only if you use the computer. If you stop using it, it won't have many problems at all. Kick the other users off, too.

  • Run lots of C programs. They have null-terminated strings that will use up the extra bits in /dev/null .

  • Consider upgrading to a byte bucket or even a word bucket.

  • Bring the computer to Mr. Goodwrench. He will drain the bit bucket, change the oil, and add windshield fluid, all in 29 minutes or less. Now that's a deal.

- XX (We wish we knew who wrote this!)


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