Ubuntu – How is the /tmp directory cleaned up


How is the /tmp directory cleaned up? Is it automatic? If so, how frequently is it cleaned up?

Best Answer

Note! This answer is outdated since at least ubuntu 14.04. See other answers for current situation and if they prove correct then upvote them furiously. Also post comment so I can put link here to current correct answer.

For 14.04 see https://askubuntu.com/a/759048/1366

For 16.10 see https://askubuntu.com/a/857154/453746

Old answer from 2011:

The cleaning of /tmp is done by the upstart script /etc/init/mounted-tmp.conf. The script is run by upstart everytime /tmp is mounted. Practically that means at every boot.

The script does roughly the following: if a file in /tmp is older than $TMPTIME days it will be deleted.

The default value of $TMPTIME is 0, which means every file and directory in /tmp gets deleted. $TMPTIME is an environment variable defined in /etc/default/rcS.

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