Summary: /var/tmp files

From: Kathy Ange <>
Date: Tue Mar 25 2003 - 12:18:50 EST
Wow Thanks for the quick response.  I forgot to
mention that I had searched the Sun Managers list for
information and could find any, so I appreciate the
link to explanation of the /var/tmp/wscon* files, it
was helpful.  I also appreciate all the e-mails, it
appears I can delete any old files and a couple sent
script I can use.  Thanks a bunch.  Below is the
actual responses I received.

Steve Maher

It looks like someone is writing the output from the
X11 session to file. This is unusual. I believe you
can rm that massive file. Also, ask around if anyone
has been exporting htere DISPLAY variable in a new
Dario Principe

If you can stop all of the applications running on
your host, then remove files under /var/tmp. Make
first a backup to make sure you won't have problem.
I'm pretty sure you can delete all of the files.
Looking at the timestamp you can see most of them are
very old. 
Tim Chipman
AFAIK, all sorts of delightfull temp crud accumulates
in /var/tmp (for instance, if a user uses "vi" to edit
a 100 meg text file, then a 100 meg tempfile will
exist in /var/tmp for the duration of the edit ; and
if they exit the VI uncleanly, it may leave behind a
persistent / orphaned tempfile -- for instance :-)
Note that "live" tempfiles may be present in the dir,
so it is probably prudent to NOT simply "rm -rf
/var/tmp/*" but instead to "find" files older than (1
week? 1 day?) and then delete those -- to ensure that
you aren't touching tempfiles that are in active use. 

Gary Chambers
My policy is that anything */tmp is EXPRESSLY AND
EXPLICITLY temporary, and is treated that way. Those
files are console messages created because there is no
console window open to which fbconsole can log its
messages. You can delete the files, but you may have
to kill the fbconsole processes to reclaim the space
they use. 

Lars Hecking
Take a look at
for an explanation of the /var/tmp/wscon* files. It is
definitely safe to delete any wscon* files that are
older than the last reboot (because login sessions
don't survive a reboot). Next, it is also safe to
remove any wscon* files owned by users who are not
currently logged in (or run no processes on the
machine). I wrote a little script that finds all files
older than the last reboot (as extracted from uptime),
and then goes on to delete them. ut=`uptime |grep day
|awk '{print $3}'` if [ -z "$ut" ]; then ut=0 fi
ut=`expr $ut + 1` find /var/tmp -mtime +${ut} -type f
|xargs rm -f 

Wianecki, Christopher
It looks to me that this is some kind of screen
output, some utility probably runs that dumps this to
those files, I think its safe to delete those files
and then reboot the system, sometimes if you cat
/dev/null >filename it will empty it up but space will
be allocated to a file because of the file lock, but
this is only if this process has the lock open on the
file... Hope this does help in a bit and this is what
I would do for if I had such problem. 

Glass, David
It is quite common for some applications to use
/var/tmp. We find that if the applications terminate
normally they clear up after themselves, however if
they crash they don't get the chance. On some of our
systems running these applications we run a daily cron
which removes any files in /var/tmp which have not
been modified in the last 30 days, or which are more
than 7 days older than the last reboot if that is more

Monroe, Brett 
The wscon********:0.0 files are used by the
/usr/openwin/bin/fbconsole bin which is started by
your X session. You can delete all the old ones to
clear up space as only the latest is used. Do an fuser
on the file to verify. As for why it's going crazy???
It might be a memory might try applying
patch: 105633-62 and restarting X11. 

Justin Stringfellow
>myhost:root: #ls -l | sort -nr -k 5 | more
>-rw------- 1 cronscrn staff 502792192 Mar 25 >11:07
wsconAAAAkay4a:0.0 Ow! that's pretty big. The files
are just console output files - if you login to CDE,
and don't have a console window for info/error
messages to get written into, they get written there
instead. Pretty stupid, huh? Just delete them - if you
want to be safe, delete them from single user mode.
There's a note in a previous customer call here that
may help: If you do not have a console window running,
messages will go to the /var/tmp/wscon* file and
potentially wipe out space on that filesystem. To
prevent the /var/tmp/wscon* files from getting large,
have all users start a console window when they login
to CDE, ie: "dtterm -C". Stdout could be redirected to
either /dev/console or /dev/null by placing one of the
following into ~/.dtprofile:
dtstart_sessionlogfile="/dev/console" or
dtstart_sessionlogfile="/dev/null" Another option
would be to create a cron job and have the system
periodically remove these files: find /var/tmp -name
'wscon*' -exec rm -i {} \; 
Justin Stringfellow

I have wiped out all files in /var/tmp on a running
system with no problems. I have done it at least
twice. At a minimum you can dump anything from before
the last boot, which in your case might be nothing. 

Kathy Ange
Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Information Systems
(804) 786-1340 Voice Mail
(804) 786-2110 FAX
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Received on Tue Mar 25 12:22:19 2003

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