Controlling Netscape Caching

Many users are inadvertently filling up a quarter of their /home disk guideline on the AXPs with useless netscape cache files.

By default, netscape uses the /home/user/.netscape/cache directory to temporarily hold documents gleaned from web browsing, so that it doesn't have to go back out onto the net to summon up pages as you work through a document. The problem is that by default the cache size is 5MB, which is 25% of the guideline usage of /home space. It is absurd to fill up our prime backed-up storage with useless transient junk.

There are several ways to do something about this. Each begins with entering netscape and pulling down the Options menu to Network preferences. The resulting dialog box allows you your choice of

  1. Reducing your disk cache size: Change the Disk Cache size (e.g. use 1000 Kilobytes instead of 5000) by simply overwriting the current entry.
  2. Changing the Disk Cache Directory: By default it is something like /home/user/.netscape/cache. You can change it to something like /tem/user/.netscape/cache, but first you need to create the directory /tem/user/.netscape/cache directly using mkdir from the shell. Although this technique doesn't reduce the amount of disk space you use, at least you won't be taking up space which has to be backed up daily (and after two weeks, it will disappear spontaneously).
  3. Using a proxy cache: Instead of having your copy of Netscape do your individual network fetches, you can have a central server do your fetches along with everyone else's, caching them on a centralized disk pool. From the network preferences dialog box, select Proxies on the top line. This calls up a Proxy Configuration table. Select Automatic Proxy Configuration, set the "Location (URL)" to http://www.lns.cornell.edu/proxy.pac and press OK. Now follow the instructions in (1) above to reduce your disk cache size to a small value (zero is best). The pros and cons of choosing this option are discussed at some length in the Caching proxy on lns542:3128 document.

Reminder: You should run Netscape from your desktop Alpha (if you have one) or lns101, NEVER lns111 or lns121.
Topic revision: r1 - 23 May 2006, ChristopherTerranova
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