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Old 12-30-2005, 12:57 AM   #1
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Location: Wentworthville NSW Australia, about 25km west of Sydney
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appropriate partitions and their sizes?

Soon I will install Fedora Core 4 onto a Dell P3 with 512MB of RAM. The 10GB hard disk will be empty (bye-bye Windows!).
This is a home/business system used primarily for internet (browsing and email) as well as light word processing/spreadsheets/databases/music.
But it will have multiple users.
I am not an applications fiend, so they will not be numerous; primarily will use Firefox, Open Office and Opera.
Might try to install WINE so I can stop using a separate Win box for MYOB (accounting software).

I have read several sources, including the HOWTO, advising several partitions be set up.
However there are variations in advice I would like to clarify:

One of the sources advised /tmp have a separate partition.
Is a separate partition for /tmp necessary and, if so, why?

One of the sources advised /data have a separate partition.
Is a separate partition for /data necessary and, if so, why?
I thought /data is just user data. Couldn't user data just be in /home? Or would one separate /data out so /home is data accessible to a single and /data is data meant to be accessible to all?

Based upon 'common' advice, the partitions I intend to set up are
/var and
swap (I know this is 2x RAM size).

What is the recommended size of these partitions (and /var or /data, if appropriate)?


Also, I wouldn't mind someone in the Sydney, Oz area being available by phone for quick questions while installing.
Also, I accidentally put this on the General forum but am not sure how to delete it. Please do, if someone else can!
Old 12-30-2005, 01:30 AM   #2
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1. Is a separate partition for /tmp necessary and, if so, why?
A separate partition for /tmp is not necessary, however it is a good idea if you have several users. If /tmp is in it's own partition, it will be mounted with the "noexec" option. Any globally writable partition should be mounted this way.

2. Is a separate partition for /data necessary and, if so, why?

I'm not familiar with a /data partition. Perhaps it is a name used when you are duel booting linux and windows, and have a vfat partition that both can write to.

Perhaps you meant the /home partition. The /home partition will be the largest. It is also where people put there personal files. By having /home on a separate partition, you could reinstall or upgrade or even go with a different distro, and retain your old documents, by choosing not to reformat the /home partition.

3. What is the recommended size of these partitions (and /var or /data, if appropriate)?

Given that the computer will be used mainly to browse the web, and not as a server, you may not need to have all of these directories ( /usr, /var ) in separate directories. This way, the sizes will be more flexible. The /usr directory is where programs are installed. As a result, this may be the largest aside from /home.

There are several reasons that a web or database server would have separate partitions. Firstly, having a partition like /tmp in it's own directory will allow you to mount it with the most secure options. Secondly, the /var partition contains the logs. If you had a server setup like many desktop computers, with a swap partition and one other partition, a hacker could bombard you computer with bogus request, in the hope of filing up your drive with log files. Also, there are some partitions that you may not want an upgrade to touch. One such is /usr/local. This is where programs you install yourself would be located. A new install will not write anything to this location. There may be performance issues also, if certain partitions are located on separate devices. Actually, in a homogeneous environment, many of the system partitions will be shared on the network which can make it easier to maintain a large group of hosts.
Old 12-30-2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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Looking at replies here and in another (closed) thread......WAY too complicated......

All you need is 3 partitions: /, /boot, and swap If you have data on a different physical drive, then you can also mount that to /home.

BTW, 10GB is going to get very cozy in a hurry. I would put the OS on that one, and then install a larger drive for data.


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