[PC-BSD Dev] Subject: Re: 9.0 Recommendation: partitioning

Roger Marquis marquis at roble.com
Fri Sep 24 12:18:29 PDT 2010

Kris Moore wrote:
> I'm inclined to agree with Andrei here. The standard way to do
> auto-partitioning is what we've been doing, with /, /var, /usr, and
> swap.

This was the standard back when it was required by the imitations of
single disks were not large enough to accommodate an entire distribution,
but has not been standard, if by standard you mean used by a majority of
Unix and Linux installations, since.

Legacy or not I would hope that the goal of any partitioning scheme would
be to accommodate the largest number of users.  Partitioning /usr, without
an explicit rational, clearly does not meet that test.  That /usr is
still partitioned in PC-BSD indicates that the current scheme is
legacy-based as opposed to use-based.

Partitioning /var is nearly as bad in my experience, for the reasons
outlined previously.

> "/" and "/var" only take up around 2-6GB of space, leaving the
> rest for your main operations in /usr. That seems like a pretty
> reasonable amount to reserve for critical areas of the system.

But then you often have to create partitions for /tmp and /var/tmp, and
symlink them, and reduce log archiving, or archive to another partition.
Dump, cdrecord, and rsync among others often need more than a few GB on
/tmp or /var/tmp for one common use-case.

I think what we should be looking at are use-cases.  When someone pays me
to reinstall a server that became problematic due to a small root, or
var, or usr partition, or is experiencing performance issues due to root
mounts, that indicates a serious problem.  Cases where a single root
partition creates diskfull issues are far less common, by one or two
orders of magnitude.

Question is what problems would have been avoided by partitioning /var on
the same disk?  Not in theory but in practice.


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