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So I have an awesome configuration on my home pc. My /home directory has its own partition.

My home partition slowly fills up until the system is unable to complete even simple tasks. For example, when this issue has occured, I can load up firefox. It just pops up an error message saying that it cannot be done.

Rebooting solves the issue.

The strange thing is, I've run baobab and it doesn't notice a problem. There should be hundreds of gigabytes of data somewhere, but it doesn't see it.

Does anyone have any idea of how I might troubleshoot this issue? I'm thinking I could do lsof but I've always found the output of that to be too much information.

Maybe my drive is, like, dying.

Edit: is there a /home analog of /var that gets cleared out at boot time? Maybe I could check in there next time I notice this problem to see if I can divine what's up.

Update: I found the issue. my .xsession-errors file is filling up with

Authentication deferred - ignoring client message

Is there a way I can see what is causing this error and fix it?

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That could be it. Did you try analysing using "Disk usage analyzer". And also have a look at the .thumbnails directory in your home folder. – harisibrahimkv May 3 '12 at 13:22
@harisibrahimkv Nope to disk usage analyser. Can I do that from bash? It shouldn't be thumbnails because I think baobab would have noticed. – user973810 May 3 '12 at 13:25
If you're OK with using the terminal, I prefer to use du -sch .[!.]* * |sort -h inside my home directory. It will show you the largest directories last. That may give a clue as to what's using up the hard disk space. Also, look in /var/log/syslog, for any indications that the disk may be having trouble. – roadmr May 3 '12 at 13:39
@roadmr I did find a ridiculously big file in a place it wasn't supposed to be, but I don't think that will help me find the problem. – user973810 May 3 '12 at 13:48
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I cleared the errors to the file as well but it just kept filling up.

To avoid a reboot, I killed the vino-server process:

$ ps -eaf |grep vino
  username  5849  5765  3 Jun21 ?        09:19:12 /usr/lib/vino/vino-server --sm-disable
  username 18207  5891  0 21:07 pts/1    00:00:00 grep --color=auto vino

$ sudo kill 5849

I cleared the errors again:

$ > /home/useraname/.xesession-errors

Then I restarted the process:

$ /usr/lib/vino/vino-server --sm-disable

FYI - this is ubuntu 12

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You may want to edit this to fix the formatting, as right now it is not clear exactly what commands you are saying should be run. – Eliah Kagan Jul 2 '12 at 9:55
This is a decent solution, although chowning by root or symlinking to /dev/null is a good idea because vino-server will continue to fail. – user973810 Jul 3 '12 at 11:10
Same problem in Mint 12. Reboot does not resolve it. Symlink is a good hack for now. – Casey Watson Jul 19 '12 at 4:05

I can confirm that it is caused by vino-server. I killed vino-server, and the non-stop errors to ~/.xsession-errors stopped.

I am not sure that the vino-server is being "attacked", because in my case, the Ubuntu box is inside my VPN, and not accessible from the Internet.

However, I do use VNC from my MacBookAir (MBA) to remote into the Ubuntu box, and thus, there may be some kind of bad interaction between the MBA VNC client and the Ubuntu VNC server (vino-server).

Perhaps someone else can explore this.

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I just wrote a post in the forums of what I found to be the root cause of this issue. In my logs it appeared as if what caused the log file to grow so large was a brute-force attack. The log filling up is a result of the failed attempts to authenticate to your system's VNC server. After a certain number of failed attempts it appears as if the VNC server just starts rejecting the attempted connections without giving them a chance to authenticate (which is good). Luckily, if these are still happening then most likely they haven't hacked you yet. Check out my post if you are interested.

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I don't have VNC Server installed but thanks for the answer. – user973810 Feb 13 '13 at 23:35
Vino Server is the VNC server. If you have the vino server running (i.e. the Linux equivalent of Remote Desktop) then you do have it installed. It's the only thing I know of that makes these entries. If you really don't have it, I would be interested to know what is making these entries for you. – keyneom Feb 14 '13 at 4:14

I have no idea how to see what's causing the problem, but I deleted the .xsession-errors file, then touched it by root. Think this should effectively solve the problem. I'm going to leave this unaccepted though in case anyone ever supplies a real solution.

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