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I'm going to repartition my 80GB I know that my swap partition should be double my ram but what about the boot? all my books and posts i've looked through just give ranges. How much does it need? also on install will the installer see them and know what to do with them?
Swap doesn't necessarily have to be double your ram, but you've got the room so I'll leave it at that...
/boot should be at least 50MB, since you've got the room. It could be as small as say 8 though if you were tight. More than 100 is really wasting the space though.
And will the install pick em up? Not likely, maybe the swap, if it's partition ID is linux swap, but not likely the boot, not as /boot anyway, you'll have to specify that during the install (probably).
Its up to you whether you want to use a boot partition or not - but it isnt neccesary - in general - when there's no boot partition present the kernel and related files will reside in the boot directory of the relevant root partition.
basically, most things i've read say that /boot should be 100 megs, the / (root) should be whatever size is necessary to install your distro and have enough space to do what u need (it depends, if you're a gamer, put in lots of space, a student or someone who just needs office tools, probably not more than 2 gigs plus whatever your distro needs); and swap, like said before, is not necessary but go ahead and put it in there, twice the ram is what all things i've read say
i used partition magic and my distros pretty much automatically picked up /boot and swap (i know with redhat, if it is the first linux distro u install, just leave some space unpartitioned and redhat will detect that and format it for u, making the /boot, / , and swap; for my other ones, i had to use partition magic and format the / in ext3 so that the installers could pick them up and then i had the installers format them again to whatever i liked or it needed
as for making a separate /boot partition, i recommend making it a partition in itself just so that if u install other distros, all the kernels will be in one simple place and makes configuring the boot loaders a lot more simple (since they will only need to look into one partition for all kernels)
For SWAP, how much RAM do you have ?
If you have 1 GB of RAM, creating a 2 GB swap partition is a waste of space.
I suggest 128MB to 512MB max.
If your computer ends up using more than 256 MB of swap, then you need more RAM.
As for the /boot, 50 MB to 75 MB is good enough.
RedHat 9 will create, by default, a 100 MB partition for /boot
More than 100MB is a waste. RedHat does this because some users forget to uninstall old kernels after a successful upgrade of the kernel RPM.