15.3. Save Space with "Bit Bucket" Log Files and Mailboxes
Some Unix programs -- usually
background or daemon programs -- insist on writing a log file. You
might not want the log file itself as much as you want the disk space
that the log file takes. Here are a few tips:
Some programs will write to a log file only if the log file exists.
If the program isn't running, try removing the log
If you remove a log file and the program recreates it, look for
command-line options or a configuration-file setup that tells the
program not to make the log file.
If you can't get the program to stop writing the log
file, try replacing the log file with a symbolic link to
/dev/null (Section 43.12):
# rm logfile
# ln -s /dev/null logfile
The program won't complain, because it will happily
write its log file to /dev/null, which discards
everything written to it. (Writing to /dev/null
is also known as "throwing it in the bit
bucket," since all the bits just go away.) Watch out
for programs that run at reboot or those that run from the system
crontab (Section 25.2) to truncate and replace the log file. These
programs might replace the symbolic link with a small regular file
that will start growing again.
Does a system mailbox for a user like bin keep
getting mail (Section 1.21) that you want to throw away? You may be able
to add a .forward file to the
account's home directory with this single line:
Or add an alias in the system mail alias file that does the same
If your system has a command like newaliases to
rebuild the alias database, don't forget to use it
after you make the change.
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