Disk Space Shortage

My recent encounter with system log files eating up disk space (see Low disk space warning) has me second guessing how much disk space is in use around my system. So, a recent how-to article entitled “5 ways to check your disk usage on Linux” grabbed my attention.

The author gives a brief overviews of five programs that report on disk usage, namely: baobab, cdu, ncdu, JDiskReport and Filelight. In particular, the programs categorize space usage by files and/or folders, and present the results in a graphical format.

As noted, the selection includes Baobab, now named Disk Usage Analyzer, that is included in the Ubuntu distro. (The name of this program was always a mystery to me until I realized it relates to a tree – directory!) While this program lists the space taken by individual folders rather nicely, I never found the ring chart of the treemap to be of much use. While both options display diagrams of the disk, with individual areas marked in pretty colours, neither method provides a good indication of which folder is which. And, personally, I find having to hover the mouse over the display to find out just really annoying.

So, the horizontal-bar chart provided by JDiskReport was a most welcome feature of this disk space analyzer. As noted in the following image, the major disk space “hogs” are clearly identified.


The program is very configurable. For example, the display can be changed for horizontal bars to a pie chart (or even a ring chart!) simply by clicking the relevant icon at the bottom of the right-hand window. A detailed list that includes the folders, their sizes, and the number of files that each contains is similarly available. In addition, clicking on one of the folders in the tree listing in the left-hand window, produces a chart for its sub-folders.

One glitch in the program that I encountered was when exploring the preferences. The various tabs and their settings were shown, but the “window” expanded across the width of the screen with no scroll bars in evidence, and no obvious way to return to the main menu. Closing Terminal provided a somewhat kludgey solution to this little difficulty!

While the use of JDiskReport is pretty intuitive, a note on downloading and running the program may be useful. The package can be downloaded as a .zip file from which the archive manager will extract the folder jdiskreport-1.4.0.jar. Somewhere in the convoluted series of folders is the executable program; however, the easiest way to run it is to use the following command (provided by “Sergey” on Ask Ubuntu):

java -jar jdiskreport-1.4.0.jar

Since this command is rather difficult to remember, my preference is to run it from a bash script file which, for my application, takes the form:

echo "JDiskReport"
cd jdiskreport-1.4.0
java -jar jdiskreport-1.4.0.jar

The script simply changes the directory to the JDiskReport folder and then issues Sergey’s command.

So, for my money, JDiskReport is a neat alternative to Baobab and its cousins…


5 ways to check your disk usage on Linux


equivalent of JdiskReport on Ubuntu

This entry was posted in Applications, Bash script, Commands. Bookmark the permalink.

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