Re: extremely slow "ls" on a cleared fatty ext3 directory on FC4/5

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Robinson Tiemuqinke wrote:

 A stupid flat directory /tmp holding 5 millon files, the directory
 locates on a ext3 file system with dir_index feature turned on. The
 running Linux are FC4 and FC5.

 The files are just directly under /tmp, not in any subdirectories --
 they are results of mis-operations of users.

 Then a 'ls' or 'find' command will take one hour to finish, a lot of
 other applications on the computer boxes are affected.

 I managed to have deleted the files one by one with a 'find . |xargs
 rm -rf' similar command in about 10 hours. but after a file system
 sync, it still take me 20 minutes to list the cleaned /tmp directory
 again -- even now the directory holds only 8 files total.

 so I try to 'ls' the directory itself (not any files and
 subdirectories on it) and find that its size is stupidly large (it is
 131M even after deletion) compared with 4K for normal directories.

 -bash-3.00# ls -alFdh /tmp* drwxrwxrwt  4 root  staff 4.0K Aug 12
 23:17 new_tmp/ drwxrwxrwt  4 root  staff 131M Aug 12 20:30 tmp/

 Anyone know why the former fatty directory still looks unchanged and
 takes hours to traverse even after 99.999999% files got removed?

 If there are any ways to fix this kind of problem without rebooting
 machine? I'm afraid of the commands "rsync -avHn /tmp/ /new_tmp/; rm
 -rf /tmp/ && mv /new_tmp/ /tmp" because other applications are
 accessing /tmp/ as well.

 Please help. Thanks a lot.
EXT3 directories grow but they don't shrink. Rebooting won't fix this
The only fix that I know is to delete the old directory and create a new
BTW, XFS automatically shrinks directories (but has its own set of


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