File Size Limit Exceeded Error Solved

30 November -0001
by Justin Klein Keane

This one was a doozy. I got this error message when I tried to su from a regular user account. This is what I would get

[jkeane@laptop jkeane]$ su
Error:  file size limit exceeded
[jkeane@laptop jkeane]$

and I was stuck. It took me forever to figure this one out online. First I checked proc/sys/fs and the files in there. Issuing 'cat file-max' will show you the maximum files that a user can open. Issuing 'cat super-max' will show you the same information for the root user. I increased both of these, but unfortunately it didn't help. I finally found the answer in a very obscure corner of the net (and my file system).

You have to check etc/security/limits.conf. Don't ask me why this file is here, but it sets the max limit for user files to 100mb. This is completely insufficient so I edited the file and changed the appropriate line (the last I think) to the following:

# limit size of any one of users' files to 100mb
# originally set to 100000, reset to 500mb
*       hard    fsize   500000

This fixed the problem and I was good to go.