Here's some console output below to illustrate the problem. I was able to work around this by clearing out old packages which gave me 4.6GB free, but I wanted to pose this question here out of curiosity as I've been working with Unix/Linux environments for over a decade now and haven't ever seen anything like this, nor where to start troubleshooting it. Doesn't make any sense.

ubuntu@ip-172-31-29-34:~$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev            487M     0  487M   0% /dev
tmpfs           100M  3.0M   97M   4% /run
/dev/xvda1      7.8G  4.6G  2.9G  62% /
tmpfs           496M     0  496M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs           496M     0  496M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
tmpfs           100M     0  100M   0% /run/user/1000
ubuntu@ip-172-31-29-34:~$ sudo apt-get -f install
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Correcting dependencies... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  linux-headers-4.4.0-65 linux-headers-4.4.0-65-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-66 linux-headers-4.4.0-66-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-70 linux-headers-4.4.0-70-generic
  linux-headers-4.4.0-71 linux-headers-4.4.0-71-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-72 linux-headers-4.4.0-72-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-75 linux-headers-4.4.0-75-generic
  linux-headers-4.4.0-78 linux-headers-4.4.0-78-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-79 linux-headers-4.4.0-79-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-81 linux-headers-4.4.0-81-generic
  linux-headers-4.4.0-83 linux-headers-4.4.0-83-generic linux-headers-4.4.0-87 linux-headers-4.4.0-87-generic linux-image-4.4.0-65-generic
  linux-image-4.4.0-66-generic linux-image-4.4.0-70-generic linux-image-4.4.0-71-generic linux-image-4.4.0-72-generic linux-image-4.4.0-75-generic
  linux-image-4.4.0-78-generic linux-image-4.4.0-79-generic linux-image-4.4.0-81-generic linux-image-4.4.0-83-generic linux-image-4.4.0-87-generic
Use 'sudo apt autoremove' to remove them.
The following additional packages will be installed:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 149 not upgraded.
7 not fully installed or removed.
Need to get 0 B/9,876 kB of archives.
After this operation, 70.6 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] y
(Reading database ... 429900 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../linux-headers-4.4.0-92_4.4.0-92.115_all.deb ...
Unpacking linux-headers-4.4.0-92 (4.4.0-92.115) ...
dpkg: error processing archive /var/cache/apt/archives/linux-headers-4.4.0-92_4.4.0-92.115_all.deb (--unpack):
 error creating directory './usr/src/linux-headers-4.4.0-92/tools/lib/bpf': No space left on device
No apport report written because the error message indicates a disk full error
                                                                              dpkg-deb: error: subprocess paste was killed by signal (Broken pipe)
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
  • 2
    Also check df -i output. – user4556274 Jan 1 '18 at 22:25
  • 2
    @RuiFRibeiro the possibility did cross my mind, but it's an EC2 instance. AWS's infrastructure is fairly reliable and I've never encountered this issue before on their platform. – Chris Olin Jan 1 '18 at 23:36
  • 1
    @RuiFRibeiro nope, the closest env var defined is XDG_DATA_DIRS. The lsof command doesn't return anything when I grep the output for "deleted" – Chris Olin Jan 1 '18 at 23:41
  • 1
    Seems it's time for fsck – Hauke Laging Jan 2 '18 at 0:18
  • 1
    Did you actually check the inode usage, or did you just dismiss the idea as unlikely? Also if you've resolved the issue, any information you gather now will be inaccurate, so there's not much we can do to help you. – Patrick Jan 2 '18 at 5:33

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