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Freeing disk space with ">"

Nov 19, 2009, 18:03 (4 Talkback[s])


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"The basic problem is that if another process has a file open (for reading or writing, it doesn't matter), the disk blocks are not freed by an "rm" until the process or process using the file quits (or stops using the file, at least). That part seems to be well understood.

"What is perhaps more difficult to understand is why a simple ">" CAN free up the bytes that "rm' cannot.

"To show that, we need to write a little code. I'll use Perl for that, but if you don't grok Perl, don't worry -I'll explain it as we go along. I did this on a Mac, but you'd see the same thing on Linux or BSD.

"Let's start with the "rm" issue. Our Perl code will just open a file and loop. We'll run that in one Terminal window and do everything else in another."

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