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Old 03-23-2006, 08:08 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian -unstable
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Partitioning Scheme

Hello ! I'm planning to install Debian. As I haven't done this ever before .. I'm having difficulty deciding on a partitioning scheme (because I have no idea which partitions Debian would "stress", which it would not..)

These are the partitions/sizes/use I currently use (Gentoo System) and I'd like to think if this scheme would be successful for a Debian Install:

# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda5 291M 65M 226M 23% /
/dev/hda7 2.0G 971M 991M 50% /usr
/dev/hda8 1.2G 90M 1.1G 8% /var
/dev/hda9 495M 33M 463M 7% /tmp
/dev/hda10 32G 434M 32G 2% /home


The Debian System will be used as a Development Workstation built mostly of command-line tools + + A GUI Browser (Opera or Firefox) + Valknut (a DC++ client) [I state the GUI tools because I realise they're the ones who usually take the most resources).

The only servers run will be OpenSSH (hardly ever used and even then by ~ 1 user) and *maybe* a light-weight HTTP server like Boa (minimalistic HTTPD) which will be on light-duty (only will be up from time to time and even then for short periods of times, accessed by at most ~ 1/3 users) (will probably serve only 1 file at any given time too).

The filesystem I plan to use on all partitions is ReiserFS.

The HD is 40 GB (as you can probably figure out from the "df -h" output), 512 MB will be alocated for SWAP space (I've got 256MB RAM)


So .. heh .. will such a partitioning scheme be successful for the system described above ? [*Note: I'd also find helpful examples of other systems together with descriptions (as I can make "analogies")]

Thank you for your attention, I'm anxiously waiting for a reply so that I can get to installing
Old 03-23-2006, 08:29 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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That partition pretty much matches mine (80Gb Drive)

handrich@debian:~$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hdb1             897M  205M  645M  25% /
tmpfs                 218M     0  218M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hdb9              62G   22G   37G  38% /home
/dev/hdb8             449M  8.1M  417M   2% /tmp
/dev/hdb5             6.0G  2.5G  3.3G  43% /usr
/dev/hdb6             3.3G  1.1G  2.1G  35% /var
If I was doing it again, I would increase /tmp to 1 Gb to allow for the creation of CD-R images. Seems like I'm always changing the default ~/tmp directory in some program or other to create images.

Also, I like to keep two complete kernels on my system. The current one and the previous one I was using. Your / partition might get a little cramped doing that.

Last edited by rickh; 03-23-2006 at 08:32 AM.
Old 03-23-2006, 12:12 PM   #3
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Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Slackware, SysrescueCD
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As a point of reference, here are my two Debian system's current usage (output manually edited to only display the "standard" Linux filesystem mountpoints and not all the other stuff I have on the disk!)

Work system, Debian Sarge r3.1, default workstation install and not much else:
Filesystem               1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda7                   918322    141401    727925  17% /
/dev/sda5                    45130     18196     24526  43% /boot
/dev/mapper/vg0-usr        2445053   1906963    433724  82% /usr
/dev/mapper/vg0-var        1920391    138420   1679571   8% /var
/dev/mapper/vg0-opt         242191    156698     72591  69% /opt
/dev/mapper/vg0-home         49893     33644     13587  72% /home
/dev/mapper/vg0-tmp         479842      8383    445859   2% /tmp
swap is 512Mb, memory is 2Gb
Home system, Debian Sid, default workstation with Apache, MySQL, MythTV:
Filesystem               1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda8                   293555    100529    177365  37% /
/dev/hda9                    30075      4648     23823  17% /boot
/dev/mapper/vg_linux-usr   2925148   2548908    282606  91% /usr
/dev/mapper/vg_linux-var   1462324    491588    908313  36% /var
/dev/mapper/vg_linux-opt    628411    473551    134831  78% /opt
/dev/mapper/vg_linux-home   100269     59053     36957  62% /home
/dev/mapper/vg_linux-tmp      5952      6013     84819   7% /tmp
swap is 512Mb, memory is 1Gb
Note that on both systems, /usr/local is a symlink to /opt, so adjust usage estimates under /usr and /opt accordingly if you won't be having this symlink.

On Debian, if you do something large like a "dist upgrade" (where you move from Sarge to Etch for example), your usage in /var will jump quite a bit during the upgrade. You would probably need 1.5Gb to 2Gb of space in /var to do an upgrade like this.

You might want to investigate LVM so you can adjust sizes on the fly later. Makes all this initial partition sizing worry irrelevant. I'm using LVM on both of the above systems (that's what that "dev/mapper/..." stuff is all about). Using LVM is an option presented to you during a Debian install. I consider the installation presentation a bit cryptic for somebody who's not already familiar with LVM. It's not entirely obvious what it is you need to do. If you decide to go the LVM route, many here can help you through the initial setup. Check out the LVM HowTo at to see what it's all about.

Last edited by haertig; 03-23-2006 at 12:16 PM.
Old 03-24-2006, 06:48 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2004
Distribution: Debian -unstable
Posts: 700

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I installed Debian. I've got most of what I need already installed, here's a df -h:

Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda5 291M 103M 188M 36% /
tmpfs 118M 0 118M 0% /dev/shm
/dev/hda7 2.0G 355M 1.6G 19% /usr
/dev/hda8 1.2G 89M 1.1G 8% /var
/dev/hda9 495M 34M 462M 7% /tmp
/dev/hda10 32G 153M 32G 1% /home
tmpfs 118M 92K 118M 1% /dev
All is working great! I'm new to Debian so it was a bit difficult finding out how to disable services from being brought up on startup (I know now, via update-rc.d), the distribution is amazingly fast, I'll spend the better part of this weekend exploring it, configuring it and getting familiar with it.

Thanks for your replies!
Old 04-02-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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This is my partitioning scheme of Debian on a 40 GB disk. I use it in a desktop machine running KDE for home use and development.

Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hdc1             1.8G  424M  1.3G  26% /
tmpfs                 126M     0  126M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hdc6              15G  1.5G   13G  11% /home
/dev/hdc5             9.2G  2.4G  6.4G  27% /usr
/dev/hdc7             9.2G  3.9G  4.9G  45% /var
I have to stress that I think that your /usr partition is way too small. If you are running KDE + Gnome applications the size of /usr will increase to 1.6 - 2.0 GB very soon.



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