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me@netbook:~$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5             323M  292M   15M  96% /
tmpfs                 5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /lib/init/rw
tmpfs                 100M  740K   99M   1% /run
tmpfs                 5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs                 368M   11M  339M   3% /tmp
udev                  492M     0  492M   0% /dev
tmpfs                 199M  240K  199M   1% /run/shm
/dev/sda10             91G   80G  6.0G  94% /home
/dev/sda9             368M   11M  339M   3% /tmp
/dev/sda6             8.3G  6.2G  1.7G  79% /usr
/dev/sda7             2.8G  538M  2.1G  21% /var
/dev/sdb1             1.9G  1.5G  471M  76% /media/usb0

I got GNOME's warning about my root filesystem being filled up. But using baobab to try and figure out what is clogging the already quite small root filesystem confused me. And all of these partitions were assigned automatically based on percentages anyway... Is it such a bad thing to have 15M left on the root filesystem? And if so, then why did the Debian installer only assign a very small percentage of the available free space for that purpose?

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Ofcourse you should be worried but no need to panic since that you have seperate partitions for /var and /usr, that makes up for isolation of most often written and logged data which is good ; its important to have atleast some amount of free space (say 10% or 20% free space/reservation on all the filesystems) always around and you are not sure what requirement is going to strike around. Its pretty important to have all the important filesystems such /, /usr, /var, /tmp (and on some hosts /usr/local) have some amount of free space.

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Check if you have kernels you aren't using. They can take up a lot of room, and Debian's automatic package management tends to leave old kernels behind. For example, if you're running kernel 2.6.32-5-686 (output of uname -r), you don't need linux-image-2.6.32-4-686 any more.

For future reference, there's hardly any point nowadays in separating the /usr and /var from the rest of the system partition.

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only one kernel on the affected machine. any other ideas as to what it might be? – ixtmixilix Jan 14 '12 at 17:39
@ixtmixilix Old kernels are the only thing I can think of that are commonly around and dispensable. Post the output from du -x /. – Gilles Jan 14 '12 at 19:07

It may be /lib and /lib64 (if it exists) that is causing this.

They may fill up faster than you want if you run some chrooted environments or install additional software.

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@Mat right - I changed my answer. I was not aware that even /sbin/ executables are linked to /lib or /lib64. – Nils Dec 31 '11 at 22:23

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