I have a gzipped file that Ubuntu reports is 2,119,952,848 bytes in size. When I try to gunzip on a mount with 12GB free space, I get the error "No space left on device".

Here's where it gets really strange... the file is a compressed mysqldump so should be highly compressible. However, gzip reports a large negative compression ratio:

ubuntu:/mnt/tmp$ gzip -l my.sql.gz
         compressed        uncompressed  ratio uncompressed_name
         2119952848          1471106218 -44.1% my.sql

Any idea what might be going on with this?

  • Can you give the gzip version? "gzip --version" and your architecture (32 or 64 bits) ?
    – Weboide
    Jun 21, 2010 at 21:50

5 Answers 5


May be the uncompressed counter is only 32 bit and so it reset to this wrong value


Try to verify size of uncompressed data:

gzip -dc my.sql.gz | wc

If it will be smaller than your free disk size - check limits/quota.


Could be:

  • The file system /mnt/tmp only supports file sizes up to 2GB.
  • /mnt/tmp really is running out of space (gunzip -c FILE | wc -c will show you the uncompressed size)

could be inodes! df -i

  1. What about the root "reserved" area on the disk? Depending on how this is accounted for in df, some of your empty space might not be available to you and reserved to the root user.

  2. Another issue is that the compressed file is not released and deleted until the uncompression is complete. Your partition might not be able to hold both of these with the amount of space you have available.

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