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TechRepublic: Establishing quotas for users on a Linux network

Jul 22, 2000, 21:09 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bryan Pfaffenberger)

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"When someone talks about quotas, do you immediately think of the Soviet Union's five-year plans and seldom-met production goals? Well, think again. Quotas are an essential part of a Linux system administrator's duties—even if no other users have access to the system you're using. Sooner or later, you'll set up a server that exists for no other purpose than to provide network users with additional disk space. To prevent certain users from filling up the disk at the expense of other users' privileges, you need to establish quotas that will give each user a fixed amount of space."

"Although quotas are so important, documentation on the subject is surprisingly scarce. Most entry- or intermediate-level Linux books, including the Linux Documentation Project's System Administrator's Guide, don't cover this topic. There's a very good Quota mini-HOWTO, but it's out-of-date. O'Reilly's Essential System Administration provides background information, but it's too focused on UNIX utilities. In this Daily Drill Down, I'll explain how to create, define, and manage user and group disk usage quotas on a Linux system. I'll also discuss the latest versions of the key underlying utilities and several user-friendly packages that make quota-setting much easier, including Kmuser, a KDE utility that's currently tracking 200 student users in a German school."

"System administrators with root privileges on a Linux system can establish quotas for any users on their systems. They also can establish quotas for groups. Whether you're establishing quotas for users or for groups, you can assign as much or as little disk space to each user as you please; however, you'll probably want to assign the same restrictions to all users. For example, in schools that set up accounts for students in programming classes, each student may have a soft limit of 20 megabytes."

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