Go Away, tracker-store

Mort Yao


Long story short, after an Arch update the annoying process called tracker-store started to hog my CPU and disk space (again). For some really peculiar reason, GNOME developers decided that everyone should want to use their awesome Tracker smarty-ware to index everything in pants, and you should not need to turn it off so easily…

Well, I had had enough of this due to concerns of performance and privacy, and surely uninstalled the tracker package a long time ago, but now it seems GNOME’s canonical file manager nautilus starts to depend on tracker (one of its old dependencies, libtracker-sparql, has now been fused with the tracker package since version 2.0 in Arch’s downstream repository). That explains why it’s back, uninvitedly.

A few quirks noted (in Tracker 2.0.x):

  1. The GUI configuration program tracker-preferences has been summarily removed (d4a8d6e), while tracker provides no command-line alternative for intuitive gsettings configuration yet. (Then why would they remove this very helpful GUI?)
  2. The old trick that appends Hidden=true to an overriding autostart file such as ~/.config/autostart/tracker-store.desktop (in [1] [2]) no longer works in 2.0, because….
  3. tracker ships with a systemd user service now (/usr/lib/systemd/user/tracker-store.service), since they obviously think a desktop-level autostart is not enough. While Arch Linux ships wisely with a /usr/lib/systemd/system-preset/99-default.preset containing “disable *” which disables all new units by default [3], there is no equivalent user-preset file doing the same, which means that tracker-store.service, as a user service, is enabled by default and still gets to run on every boot.

Now that uninstalling tracker is not an option, one has to take both measures to block tracker-store from running:

  1. Copy the autostart file and override it with a user-specific one: $ cp /etc/xdg/autostart/tracker-store.desktop ~/.config/autostart/tracker-store.desktop
    and append to it:
    (The same step also applies for tracker’s friends, such as tracker-miner-fs, etc.)
  2. Mask (which is the strongest yet nondestructive way to “disable” a static systemd service completely [4]) all tracker-related services:
        $ systemctl --user mask tracker-store

Look ma, no more hogs. Back to work!


[1] Ask Ubuntu, “tracker-store and tracker-miner-fs eating up my CPU on every startup”. https://askubuntu.com/questions/346211/tracker-store-and-tracker-miner-fs-eating-up-my-cpu-on-every-startup

[2] “Disabling GNOME Tracker and Other Info”. https://gist.github.com/vancluever/d34b41eb77e6d077887c

[3] ArchWiki, “systemd”. https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Systemd

[4] FreeDesktop.org, “systemctl(1)”. https://www.freedesktop.org/software/systemd/man/systemctl.html