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When I try and execute commands in bash, I get an error like:

bash: cannot create temp file for here-document: No space left on device

I can't even install some tools to scan the filesystem to find what's consuming all the space. When I try to install anything, it first complains that:

You might want to run 'apt-get -f install' to correct these:
The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 linux-headers-generic : Depends: linux-headers-3.13.0-95-generic but it is not going to be installed
E: Unmet dependencies. Try 'apt-get -f install' with no packages (or specify a solution).

but then when I run sudo apt-get -f install, that fails with:

No apport report written because the error message indicates a disk full error
                                                                              dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/linux-headers-3.13.0-95-generic_3.13.0-95.142_amd64.deb (--unpack):
 error creating symbolic link `./usr/src/linux-headers-3.13.0-95-generic/include/linux/ecryptfs.h': No space left on device
Errors were encountered while processing:
 /var/cache/apt/archives/linux-headers-3.13.0-95-generic_3.13.0-95.142_amd64.deb
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

However, if I run df -H, it shows that my / partition is only 82% full and still has 1.5G of space left.

Why is no free space being reported? How do I confirm it's referring to root, and if so, why?

  • 6
    Check df -i to see if you've run out of inodes. Also, is /tmp on the same partition or not? – derobert Sep 8 '16 at 18:35
  • 1
    It might be beneficial to boot a live OS to debug this. fdisk -l should list all the partitions on the system and how full they are. – Centimane Sep 8 '16 at 18:37
  • 5
    fdisk doesn't have a clue about the filesystems in the partitions... – ilkkachu Sep 8 '16 at 19:04
  • The output of df -h /tmp would be very useful in your Question please – roaima Sep 9 '16 at 16:55

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