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This specification is about making boot and login work when the disk runs out of free space.

In this spec we cover only the most basic kind of fix, to allow the user to be sure to be able to log in and delete some files. The user may need to reboot afterwards. See FullFilesystemSanityGutsy for a fuller approach which we will also pursue.


At the moment the desktop session doesn't start when there is no free space on the disk and let the user without any easy way to fix his system.

Use Cases


The Ubuntu distribution. We will aim to make the system work well enough for a user to be able to log in and delete files using the normal graphical file manager. We will aim to allow the user to use USB removeable storage media even if their actual disk is full, so that they can move files offline.

Examples of problems we consider out of scope for this spec:

Testing results

At UDS Seville, we did some tests. The current system is remarkably robust. We were able to boot and found only the following two problems:

With an ad-hoc solution to the authority file problem, a test system was able to boot properly and the user was able to log in and delete files. A warning notification about low disk space was already displayed but had suboptimal wording and could do with some polish.

After the changes below are implemented we will proceed with FullFilesystemSanityGutsy.


To address the problems properly:

Release note

Demo plan


BootLoginWithFullFilesystem (last edited 2008-08-06 16:31:27 by localhost)