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I was stupid, I kept ignoring the warnings that my harddrive space was running low and left a download running in the background. When I logged out, I wasn't taken back to the login screen (LightDM), and when I rebooted I didn't get the login screen either. Instead I got a terminal-like screen that listed drivers/daemons being loaded, but didn't have a prompt. I could still access the terminal with Ctrl-Alt-F1 (and F2 etc).

After barking up many wrong trees I solved it by deleting a file or two. My question is, why did this happen?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If the root partition has filled (or the partition that holds /var to be more precise), there will not be any space to write to /var/log/auth.log, which usually prevents login attempts from anyone besides the superuser.

The same goes for /home. There are files in your home directory that have to be updated and if there is no space left on the device will prevent you from logging in.

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It's worth noting that even though its easily explained, we still consider this to be a pretty serious bug. You shouldn't have to drop down to a VT to log in when your disk is full. –  tumbleweed Mar 26 '12 at 10:28
    
afaik it is not needed to drop down to a VT. failsafe mode should still work (though I do not have a hdd to test this on ;)) @tumbleweed –  Rinzwind Mar 26 '12 at 10:39
    
@tumbleweed is there a launchpad bug I can subscribe to? –  d3vid Mar 27 '12 at 13:32
    
@tumbleweed or rinzwind - by the way, do you happen to know the name of the terminal-like screen I described? –  d3vid Mar 27 '12 at 13:34
    
That's probably the normal boot screen where the commands are shown during booting (Ubuntu nowadays hides this but it is still there). –  Rinzwind Mar 27 '12 at 15:07

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