Get The Atime Out!

I noticed my new (but old) thin client seems jerky, just what I would expect with the “atime” option on the NFS root file system. Indeed, checking the access times of some executables in the chroot:
ls –time=atime -l bin

-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 316216 Nov 1 10:17 tar
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 5720 Oct 27 18:53 tempfile
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 44096 Nov 1 10:17 touch
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 16060 Nov 1 10:18 true
-rwsr-xr-x 1 root root 47304 Nov 1 10:18 umount
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 23136 Oct 31 16:56 uname

Indeed, logging into the thin client and checking the mount shows:

192.168.0.101:/opt/ltsp/i386/ on / type nfs (rw,relatime,vers=3,rsize=524288,wsize=524288,namlen=255,hard,\
nolock,proto=tcp,port=65535,timeo=7,retrans=10,sec=sys,\
mountport=65535,addr=192.168.0.101)

So, here I am typing and any access of an executable is being logged back on the terminal server! I don’t need that extra hand-shaking. Now to turn it off…

mount -o remount,noatime,nodiratime,norelatime /dev/md0 /

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to Get The Atime Out!

  1. GNU/Linux is modular. There are configuration files and there are binary packages. The system administrator sets the noatime parameter in /etc/fstab. That’s independent of the kernel. The start-up scripts apply the configuration when / is mounted. Many ordinary users do that just to spice up GNU/Linux. On a busy terminal server it is more important to do that. Some leave atime for forensic purposes etc. but for a lot of uses, it’s not needed.

  2. Ivan says:

    That’s great, Bob. Now what do you when you reboot into an updated kernel and are left with atime on?

  3. aardvark says:

    Well, tastes differ, I guess.

    I have better things to do with my time than to fiddle around with low-level settings and watch teenagers fall off their chairs.

    Did you call the school nurse, just in case?

  4. This is just an instance of a distro optimized for single-user PC being less optimal for a multi-user GNU/Linux terminal server. It’s no problem at all, just SOP for folks who do such things with GNU/Linux. The performance gain makes the few minutes of effort very worthwhile. That other OS offers nothing in comparison. Users of that other OS are horrified that a modest machine can outperform a brand new machine when GNU/Linux is compared with that other OS. I was too, the first time I saw 30 teenagers log into my PC. One of them fell off his chair when the desktop came to life in a few seconds compared to tens of seconds with that other OS.

  5. aardvark says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to use a $300 PC (OS your choice) and not have to spend your time constantly tweaking silly little things like atime?

    I guess its fun tho.

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