df reports no problems and plenty of space and plenty of inodes available. I can still write small new text files. Crashing python program is writing to a subdir I created in my home directory. My program is writing millions of very small files, like over 10 million, maybe much more, but well under half terabyte of bytes total I expect. THis is a (until now) lightly used conventional harddisk on a relatively new-ish workstation. Is there some way to pinpoint the problem here? Is there a quota limit in Ubuntu home directories? I only use ssh into this host and have no local kbd or GUI access, but I can do X remoting, so please limit suggestions to command lines which you can provide to me to try. thanks!

inFile: RC_2018-01-24
outDir: tmp
outputToScreenOnly: 0
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/mnt/fastssd/bot_subreddit_recom/write_user_docs.py", line 84, in <module>
    with open(fqfn, 'w') as f:          
OSError: [Errno 28] No space left on device: '/home/ga/reddit_data/tmp/yourstrulytony.RC_2018-01-24.doc'
^C(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~/reddit_data$ df
Filesystem                   1K-blocks      Used  Available Use% Mounted on
udev                          65954704         0   65954704   0% /dev
tmpfs                         13196056      9852   13186204   1% /run
/dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root 1789679056 318441852 1380303752  19% /
tmpfs                         65980276         0   65980276   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs                             5120         4       5116   1% /run/lock
tmpfs                         65980276         0   65980276   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/nvme0n1                 492128608 238291700  228815144  52% /mnt/fastssd
/dev/sda2                       483946    157208     301753  35% /boot
/dev/sda1                       523248      3496     519752   1% /boot/efi
tmpfs                         13196056         4   13196052   1% /run/user/1000
(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~/reddit_data$ man df
(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~/reddit_data$ df /
Filesystem                   1K-blocks      Used  Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root 1789679056 318441852 1380303752  19% /
(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~/reddit_data$ df -i /
Filesystem                     Inodes    IUsed     IFree IUse% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root 113647616 11444684 102202932   11% /
(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~/reddit_data$ find tmp -maxdepth 1 -type f | wc -l
(py36) ga@ga-HP-Z820:~$ uname -a
Linux ga-HP-Z820 4.4.0-139-generic #165-Ubuntu SMP Wed Oct 24 10:58:50 UTC 2018 x86_64
  • Are there any symlinks in the path for /home/ga/reddit_data/tmp/yourstrulytony.RC_2018-01-24.doc' because that may make it point to another disk. df /home/ga/reddit_data/tmp/ and df -i /home/ga/reddit_data/tmp/ may help verify that. Dec 10, 2018 at 23:54
  • Also what is the type of the filesystem that you're writing to? Some filesystems may not allow a single file to be greater than 2Gb in size, even if you have free space. Showing the output of mount | grep _whatever_disk_you_write_to may help. Dec 11, 2018 at 0:06
  • Thanks for the input. I didn't get anything good though. THe df commands are outputting the same data as before in original post. The files written are uniformly small. The files being read are bigger 2GB and the filesystem is ext4. Dec 11, 2018 at 15:43
  • On Unix filesystems there are also inodes that can be exhausted, especially if you have many files. Dec 20, 2018 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


Looks like you may be filling your ram and swap up fast enough to produce this error. Such small files take little time to propagate. Thus it is likely that they are just being created faster than they can be physically written to disk. Try adding a sleep or wait cycle between each file creation and see if that helps. Or add a read in there of some small bit of data that will cause a pause between file writes.

  • Interesting. There's a long delay of waiting for IO to happen according to htop in the S column, where a D is often showing for my programs. I am running 4 in parallel and they definitely are being bottlenecked by IO delays on disk writes. There is a lot of reading happening at the beginning and I can see CPU briefly go to 100% so it's already "pausing" between file writes as far as one program instance is concerned. I have htop running and RAM and swap are never close to saturated at all. I have 100GB of RAM and all I see is allocation like 5GB or less of RAM and no swap so not a RAM issue Dec 10, 2018 at 22:43
  • I still think it is a latency issue and you should find ways of leveling the load and or slowing it down. Dec 10, 2018 at 22:47
  • OK I'm looking into latency changes that I can make. I might use no parallelism, or I might use an SSD rather than spinning disk. There were definitely some hints that you were correct because it took really long time to respond to my keystrokes when I did some little typical commands in another ssh terminal to this host while that was running. Dec 10, 2018 at 22:51

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