ok .. many thanks for the info, will have a look at tune2fs. i was feeling cautious about setting any of parameters manually through the command line incase of any possible incompatibilities with software (eg: partition magic, disk drake, & explore2fs/ext2fsd for windows etc.) that might expect as a 'standard' filesystem.
actually the whole reason this question arose is because the disk i currently have is ntfs formatted, but i wanted it to be ext2/3 and was more than a little surprised that a good 10gb's wouldn't fit!
i find it interesting that you both seem rather in favour of this method of reserved space ... disregarding the 12gb of space lost, it just creates a 'no mans land' of data that can't be accessed by all and creates a bit of a management headache as the drive is no longer 'one drive'. why would a user want to have 5% of the disk space reserved so they can then log in as root "fix any problems they encounter" ... if a disk is getting full you delete something off it or get a new disk ... why does it need to be any more complicated than this?
actually while i was hunting around for information on the subject one of the thoughts going through my head was the number of people using linux as file servers etc. and what kind of setup they work under ... if i have 4 x 250gb (and i do) thats 50gb out the window
it just seems like another ancient legacy of unix built into the system when disk sizes were like 10mb .. as far as i'm aware even ext3 doesn't change this principal, and i'm just amazed that nonne seems to be advocating a change to this while all the time disk sizes keep getting larger
if anyone has anything to add, please do, as this one issues been holding me off from moving the server over to linux for a while now