I want to enable size restrictions, which means I want to resize few folders for users like Desktop, Downloads or Music folders. If a user exceeded the memory then it shouldn't overwrite and gets the warning message.

How to resize the folders through Ansible ? It's for many hosts and directly on the system with root permission. I want to do this on Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop edition.

  • Probably the easiest way is to set a quota on their home directories and let them figure out what they want to save where, rather than monitoring all the sub directories. digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/… and thegeekstuff.com/2010/07/disk-quota
    – Panther
    Jun 2, 2018 at 21:31
  • Thanks for your reply @Panther, i have one more doubt, if I will implement quota for the home directory will that impact to the hidden folders ( like if someone uses thunderbird for mailing and the file location is /home/.thunderbird which is hidden ) if yes then how to figure out not to impact the hidden folders
    – Rajendra
    Jun 2, 2018 at 22:19
  • Yes it will affect hidden directories. Look, you can either set a quota per user per directory (lots of work) or set a reasonable quota for all of home (much less work). Hidden directories should not be that large .
    – Panther
    Jun 2, 2018 at 23:42
  • I can understand that qquota per user per directory is a big headache, actually, my users are using thunderbird and few more directories about 20/30 GBs. so I don't want to restrict any of the hidden directories, I just want to restrict few directories with lesser memory. Please tell me if its possible@Panther
    – Rajendra
    Jun 3, 2018 at 19:02

1 Answer 1


Based on the accepted answer at How to set limit on directory size in Linux? by Sergei Nikulov and the original tutorial, I've put together a script which can create a quota-limited directory on demand.

The script operates on the premise of creating a loop device with specific size and filesystem, and mounting the loop device at the user-defined directory.


Also available on GitHub. Further development will be done there.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Author: Serg Kolo
# Date: June 1, 2018
# Written for: https://askubuntu.com/q/1043035/295286
# Based on: https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-server-73/directory-quota-601140/

set -e


cat <<EOF
Usage: sudo mklimdir.sh -m <Mountpoint Directory> -f <Filesystem> -s <INT>

-m directory
-f filesystem type (one of supported by mke2fs)
-s size in bytes
-h this message

Exit statuses:
1: Invalid option
2: Missing argument
3: No args
4: root privillege required
} > /dev/stderr

    #set -x


        case ${opt} in
            m) mountpoint=$( realpath -e "${OPTARG}" );;
            s) size=${OPTARG} ;;
            h) print_usage; exit 0 ;;
            f) mkfs_cmd=mkfs."${OPTARG}" ;;
            \?) echo ">>>Invalid option: -$OPTARG" > /dev/stderr; exit 1;;
            \:) echo ">>>Missing argument to -${OPTARG}" > /dev/stderr; exit 2;;

    local OPTIND opt
    getopts "m:s:f:h" opt || { echo "No args passed">/dev/stderr;print_usage;exit 3;}
    while getopts "m:s:f:h" opt; do
    shift $((OPTIND-1))



    if [ $EUID -ne 0 ]; then
        echo ">>> Please run the script with sudo/as root" > /dev/stderr
        exit 4

    local mountpoint=""
    local size=0
    local mkfs_cmd

    parse_args "$@"
    quota_fs=/"${mountpoint//\//_}"_"$(date +%s)".quota
    dd if=/dev/zero of="$quota_fs" count=1 bs="$size"
    "$mkfs_cmd" "$quota_fs"
    mount -o loop,rw,usrquota,grpquota "$quota_fs" "$mountpoint"

    chown $SUDO_USER:$SUDO_USER "$mountpoint"


main "$@"


There's 3 required flags:

  • -m for mountpoint, aka the directory which you want to limit
  • -s the size to which you want to limit in bytes
  • -f filesystem. If you're not sure what this should be, just stick with ext4 or ext3

Here's an example of how I used this script to create ./quoted_dir limited to 1 MiB (that is 10242 in Binary Prefix )

sudo ./mklimdir.sh -m ./quoted_dir/ -s $((1024*1024)) -f ext4

I've tested the script with while true; do cat /etc/passwd >> ./quoted_dir/passwd; sleep 1; done type of loop, which would append contents of /etc/passwd to the file inside the quote-limited directory. The cat eventually errored out with:

cat: write error: No space left on device

and the file writing stopped at 909KiB which is just a little short of 1 MiB and would prevent exceeding the limits within the directory.

Further development

For permanent effect, the loop device created by the script should be added to /etc/fstab. This may be added later on GitHub. The script operates on a single directory, however this script can be used within another script for creating multiple limited directories, so it is flexible enough.

  • Just for my understanding: this means when I want 20 directories with quotas then I'll need 20 filesystems and they pre-occupy 20×$size, i.e. the quota is also the guaranteed size, not just the max. size, right?
    – PerlDuck
    Jun 3, 2018 at 10:00
  • @PerlDuck Yes, It means 20 filesystems per each folder. I'm not sure what do you mean about guaranteed vs max.size, though. Jun 3, 2018 at 18:08

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