/tmp on same partition as /

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at clunix.cl.msu.edu
Fri Feb 11 20:37:47 GMT 2005

> I'm setting up a mail server at the momment, one of the things that I
> forgot to do was create /tmp as a separate partiton (/ = 2gb).  There
> will be no user logins to the machine aside from admins and the only
> thing that it will run is qmail acting as a smarthost (vanilla qmail,
> no amavis or anything of the sort.)
> In your opinion is having /tmp on the same partition as / really THAT
> bad in this case? I'm just wondering cause some people have mentioned
> that its a major security risk. Really, I don't think it is for what
> this box is doing.

I suppose it could have some security implications, but it is not so much 
a security risk as a potential functional problem.  It is possible for 
something to begin writing an unexpectedly large amount of stuff to /tmp.  
If it is a separate file system, then that process will die or at least 
get stuck waiting when /tmp fills up.   It could also affect any other 
processes trying to use /tmp for scratch space too.  But, if you catch 
it reasonably soon, you can usuall just go in a nuke some unnecessary 
files and it will clean up OK.

But, if it is in  the root file system that means that root will get 
filled up.   That makes it much more likely that the system will come 
to a grinding halt and be harder, probably impossible,  to clean things
up without taking the system down and mucking around in single user.


> -CM

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