Linux partition creation guide
DISCLAIMER: I MAKE NO GUARENTEE THAT
THIS INFORMATION IS CORRECT. IF YOU DAMAGE YOUR SYSTEM AFTER CONSULTING
THIS, THEN YOU MUST BEAR COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY.
My favourite FS
This is a subjective question, and I can't give anything more than a
subjective answer. The answer I have for all filesystem problems is
XFS. I've been using SGI's XFS filesystems ranging from x86, ppc, and
even DEC Alpha running Linux. It's quicker than the rest, and it's
journalled. For me, it is the filesystem of choice. You may disagree,
please don't mail me complaning about it! If you disagree, then simply
use another filesystem.
Why create many seperate partitions?
A Unix filesystem has some specific componets. For instance /var is
accessed more often and modified than say, /usr. So, pretty much,
indpedant of which filesystem you use (ext3, xfs, jfs, reiserfs etc),
you will still experience external fragmentation. This will inevitably
make things slow if you simply have one large monolythic filesystem.
This effect is something that I have observed, even in the machines of
Elegance with the x86 partition map
One can argue that the
x86 partition map is the ugliest of them all (except some Unix
partition slices are pretty ugly). With the x86 partition map, there
can exist only 4 primary partition. Newer versions of MS operating
systems do not even support more than one primary partition. By
default, they create an extended partition and put logical volumes into
there. With Linux fdisk, you can fine tune everything.
When installing Linux on a machine, two different scenarios that can
arise. First is the trivial one - dual boot. Here, you need to
neccessarily make the Windoze partition hda1 and create an extended
partition hda2. You can embed
all other Linux/Windoze under this extended partition. The second less
obvious approach is when you have a dedicated Linux system. There are
two ways in which you can structure this type of partition. Most people
would take the naieve approach and create a Linux partition (primary)
in hda1 and an extended hda2. In my view, the elegant
approach is to make hda1 the
extended partition (With newer bios', you can make a extended partition
the active one, and the Bios will still load the Bootloader).
This way, you can create as many partitions as you like, and they will
all be logical volumes.
My approach to a healthy fstab
Generally, I use separate partitions for /, /var, /usr, /home. This
way, fragmenting /var will not cause a slow down of accessing data in
/usr. Likewise, one can expect /home to be accessed and modified more
often. In essence, you really want to protect /usr from being
fragmented, because most of the program code is often stored there.
However, if you have a small disk, then it's excusable to only have two
seperate physical partitions - / and /usr. If you're a kernel freak,
and do lots of kernel compilation (or compilation in general in
/usr/src) then I would make /usr/src a seperate partition. Otherwise,
you're going to end up with fragmentation in /usr.
Guide to file system sizes
It all depends on what you do, and which
distribution you use. Here, I will talk about the sort of space I've
allocated for my Debian systems. Generally, I allocate:
You can take this in proportion to the space I've used, and then reduce
the sizes proportionally. That should work. Under Debian, we need lots
of space for /var because thats where apt caches its package downloads.
I find that for my setup, 700MB is extremely sufficient.
- 500 MB to /
- 700 MB to /var
- 2000 MB to /home
- 5000 MB to /usr
- 1500 MB /usr/src
Keeping your filesystems healthy
You need to make sure that your filesystems stay healthy. In my
opinion, under a Unixy system, the most important thing is that you
don't make access to your program code as fast as possible. So, don't
pollute /usr. Anything that you think is going to cause heavy
modification of files will probably cause external fragmentation no
matter how hard your filesystem tries to avoid it (XFS does it well
with access lists). So, seperate anything of the sort to a different
Back | Home