Everything in Linux is considered a file to maintain consistency. That includes hardware devices, printers, directories, and processes. Regular files such as music, text, videos, and other multimedia files also have additional data associated with them called metadata.
What are Inodes in Linux? Inode entries are the basis of the Linux file system. They manage the metadata about a file and are essential pieces of the inner workings of Linux.
How Many Inodes Are You Using?
One way to run out of space in a filesystem is to use up all your inodes. Even if you have enough free space on your disk, you won’t be able to create new files.
Using up all the inodes can also result in your system suddenly stopping. To see a list of statistics about inode usage such as used, free, and percentage used, type the following command:
sudo df -ih
Additional Ways Inodes Are Used
The way inodes work in Linux make it impossible to have conflicting inode numbers. It is not possible to create a hard link across different file systems. However, you can use soft links across different file systems. You can delete the original files and still have the data available through a hard link.
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By deleting a file, all you have done is remove one of the names pointing to a specific inode number. The data will remain until you delete all names associated with the same inode number. Linux systems update without requiring a system reboot in large part because of the way inodes work.
A process can use a library file at the same time another process replaces the same file with a newer updated version and creates a new inode. The running process keeps using the old file. The next time you use the same process, it will use the new version.
Users don’t interact directly with inodes, but they do represent a fundamental component of Linux file structures.
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