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03 April 2012, 10:54

Fedora 18 to use tmpfs by default

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A feature proposal by Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers to mount the /tmp directory using tmpfs by default in Fedora 18 was recently accepted by the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo). This means that the next version of Fedora will store the temporary directory in RAM rather than on a partition on the disk. This makes the system gain some performance and improves the lifetime of solid state drives (SSDs) as it limits writes to the disk.

As Poettering and Sievers point out in their feature proposal on the Fedora Wiki, mounting /tmp in volatile memory has been a staple of traditional UNIX systems for years and other Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Debian are also planning to move to this model. Arch Linux is already recommending the use of tmpfs in this way.

Now that the proposal has been accepted, work is progressing to bring this change to Fedora 18 which is expected to be released in November. According to the wiki, the implementation of the proposal currently sits at ten percent completion but the document points out that not many changes need to be made in order to finish it. Upstream systemd has already switched its default regarding the /tmp directory and the work that remains to be done is patching "a couple of packages" to store files that need to be preserved across reboots in /var/tmp instead of /tmp.

If everything goes according to the plan laid out in the proposal, there should be next to no visible change to the end user except some slight performance improvements and longer SSD lifetime.

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