Directories with 2million files

Garance A Drosihn drosih at
Wed Apr 21 12:54:24 PDT 2004

At 8:42 AM -0500 4/21/04, Eric Anderson wrote:
>... I'm not sure if there is a limit to this number, but at
>least we know it works to 2million.  I'm running 5.2.1-RELEASE.
>However, several tools seem to choke on that many files - mainly
>ls and du.  Find works just fine.  Here's what my directory looks
>like (from the parent):
>drwxr-xr-x   2 anderson  anderson  50919936 Apr 21 08:25 data
>and when I cd into that directory, and do an ls:
>$ ls -al | wc -l
>ls: fts_read: Cannot allocate memory
>       0
>Watching memory usage, it goes up to about 515Mb, and runs out
>of memory (can't swap it), and then dies. (I only have 768Mb in
>this machine).

An `ls -al' is going to be doing a lot of work, most of which you
probably do not care about.  (Certainly not if you're just piping
it to `wc'!).  Depending on what you are looking for, an `ls -1Af'
might work better.  If you really do want the -l (lowercase L)
instead of -1 (digit one), it *might* help to add the -h option.
I probably should look at the source code to see if that's really
true, but it's so much easier to just have you type in the command
and see what happens...

Another option is to use the `stat' command instead of `ls'.
(I don't know if `stat' will work any better, I'm just saying
it's another option you might want to try...).  One advantage
is that you'd have much better control over what information is

>du does the exact same thing.

Just a plain `du'?  If all you want is the total, did you
try `du -s'?  I would not expect any problem from `du -s'.

>I'd work on some patches, but I'm not worth much when it comes
>to C/C++.   If someone has some patches, or code to try, let me
>know - I'd be more than willing to test, possibly even give out
>an account on the machine.

It is probably possible to make `ls' behave better in this
situation, though I don't know how much of a special-case
we would need to make it.

Garance Alistair Drosehn            =   gad at
Senior Systems Programmer           or  gad at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute    or  drosih at

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