Scratch partition...

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Mon Dec 10 12:54:08 PST 2001

On Mon, 10 Dec 2001, Geraldo Pereira de Souza wrote:

> Robert,
> > Unless you want it to survive a reinstall.  That is, you can create a
> > scratch directory inside your basic root partition and give it the
> > permissions of /tmp (we often call scratch /xtmp, for example).
> Are there the scratch command in linux? I´m using Red Hat Linux 7 and i
> can´t found this command...
> I understood thar i must create a directory /scratch i the first PC of the
> beowulf and than configure the partition, but i can´t execute the scracth
> command!!!

Um, no there is no "scratch command".  At least not that I know of.
What I was referring to is:

  a) In your original node layout (e.g. kickstart file for nodes) layout
your node file system as desired.  In the simplest case this might be
just a single root filesystem and swap, or you might have separate /var
or other partitions if you wish them to survive an upgrade/reinstall.
Then create a partition called "/xtmp" with the grow-to-fill-disk option
to use up all the remaining space.

  b) Set permissions on /xtmp like those of /tmp (usually).  This is
usually 777 plus sticky bit.  Or leave it 644 and belonging to root, but
create directories inside it belonging to specific users as you prefer.

  c) Tell your users that /xtmp (or /xtmp/whoever) is scratch space for
everybody or user whoever.  Tell them it won't be backed up, that they
may be asked to clean it out (or it may be cleaned out for them
periodically whether they like it or not) but that it is otherwise
available for their use.

  d) Subsequently ignore it except to loosely monitor space, and bop any
users that fill it and leave it full for months and months.  Tell those
naughty users to move the files somewhere they "own" space and/or
archive them or back them up, and free the space for their own and
others reuse as required.

The term "scratch space" refers to the idiom in English of referring to
paper on which one works out parts of a solution to a math problem
before a formal writeup of the actual answer as "scratch paper".  Paper
you work on for a while, but then throw away.

Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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