Best of Technical Support

Our experts answer your technical questions.
Mysterious Temporary Files

I have 160 users in my system. They all use this system strictly as an e-mail server with Netscape as the client. I have noticed that my free disk space has been shrinking over the year. Looking around, I found a whole boatload of files in the /tmp directory which appear to be mail messages with graphic attachments. The file names are pop3a0XXXX and many of them are the same size, have the same owner and have creation dates 2-5 minutes apart. How do I fix this? Does the in.pop3d have a problem? —Mike Gasiorowski Slackware

It looks like your daemon is losing its temporary files; this can happen when users hang up without closing the connection. (Even though the user is causing it to happen, it should still be considered a bug.)

The easiest solution to the problem is to use cron to do a periodic check of /tmp with the following command:

find /tmp -daystart -atime 1 -exec rm \{} \;

--Alessandro Rubini

Mounting a DOS Partition in Linux

Can I mount a DOS logical partition in Linux? I am trying to mount my DOS D: and E: drives. They are both logical partitions within an extended partition of my DOS system. Is this possible in Linux? If so, how do I mount them? Thanks for your help. —Andrew Hamlin Slackware

Yes, this is possible. When Linux boots, you receive a message describing the partitions found on each drive. You can review these messages after Linux boots using the dmesg utility.

Primary partitions are numbered from 1-4, for example, hda3. Extended partitions will be numbered from 5 and up, so the first extended partition on drive hda will be hda5. Add an entry for this drive to your /etc/fstab file, and you will be able to mount it. You can test this manually by typing:

mount /dev/hda5 /mnt -t msdos
Chad Robinson
Installing on a ESDI Drive

How can I install Linux on an ESDI drive? The machine is an IBM portable. The drive is not recognized by the following boot disks: bare, SCSI and idecd. —Chriptopher Ochal

If the hardware is Micro Channel-based, you'll need to get a modified boot disk from the Micro Channel Linux Home Page ( Instructions are located at —Steven Pritchard


I started with Slackware 1.0.2, and top worked fine. I recompiled the kernel for some reason, and top no longer worked. I installed 2.0.0 when it was released and have patched it up to 2.0.31. top still doesn't work. It thinks for a moment then blows out, usually taking the xterm or rxvt with it. I have downloaded all the supporting stuff listed as required for 2.0, and I have installed more memory. free and ps work fine. I do not have a clue where to look for top information. Man pages don't have much. Help! —Bill

Make sure you are running the latest version of procps, available from

Occasionally the layout of proc files changes, which breaks older versions of the ps utilities, including top.

You might also wish to make sure your termcap, curses and ncurses are all up-to-date. —Steven Pritchard