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Hanley

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Wed, 23 Apr 2008

Keeping /var/cache/apt/archives empty. - 13:02
On mirror.linux.org.au I noticed we stored packages in /var/cache/apt/archives. I think this is somewhat silly considering the machine is a full debian mirror (it is ftp.au.debian.org) (okay so we do not have security updates on there, but that is not a big download cost).

So I had a look at the apt.conf and apt-get documentation and /usr/share/doc/apt/examples/configure-index.gz and a bit of a look around online to see how to disable the cache. I thought it may be bad to completely disable the directory for packages to sit as apt places them there when it downloads them. However as the partial directory being used for packages in transit I wondered if that was where packages were kept during the install process.

Anyway I tried adding Dir::Cache::Archive ""; and Dir::Cache::pkgcache ""; to a new file /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10pkgcache. This however did not change anything and packages were still left in the archive. Next I tried setting both items to /dev/null, that caused a bus error when running apt-get install. I was kind of hoping there was some way to tell apt not to store files after it has run, dselect runs apt-get clean upon completion, there appears to be no way to tell apt to do a post install hook and run clean when finished. (assuming apt ran with no errors in the case the post install hook runs)

The only way to do this appears to be to place apt-get clean in a crontab somewhere, which is a pain if you are short on disk space so would like to get rid of packages as soon as installing is finished. Interestingly /dev/null was also changed by what I tried above, it became a normal file and I caused some other processes depending on it to fail. Restarting udev did not recreate the device (even though the udev config said to recreate it as a char device with the correct permissions set) instead it reappeared as a normal file with the wrong permissions, some other running process seems to have interfered with /dev/null creation. Anyway that was easily fixed with /bin/mknod, now if only the emptying of /var/cache/apt/archives were so easy without resorting to cron.

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