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Old 09-27-2004, 11:28 AM   #1
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Suggested partition sizes

I've taken the jump. I've finally decided to give Linux a try. I'm going to use SUSE Personal 9.1 for its noob-friendlyness.

I'm going to keep my exsting Windows XP OS. Luckily, it was installed in FAT32 and not NTFS, and I didn't have any problems spliting C:\ into 2 parts in fips.

Right now I have:

/hda1 FAT32 WIN XP (22GB)
/hda2 blank for linux (16 GB)

Now I don't really know how much space I should allocate for /, /home or whatever.
Note - I'm a regular desktop user: not interested in using my computer as a server or anything like that. My computer (Pentium 4 1.6GHz, 256MB RAM), is not connected to a network.

What I was planning on was:

/hda1 FAT32 WIN XP (22GB)
/hda2 Linux root partition (??MB)
/hda3 /home partition (any space left over)
/hda4 swap partition (128MB)

Question A - The root partition. I plan to stuff my Linux system files and installed applications here. It'll be like having the Linux equivalent of the C:\WINDOWS and C:\Program Files folder on one partition. That's OK isn't it? What size should I put it to?

Question B - Is /home what I think it is? Is it where you put all your documents, pictures, work etc, making up the bulk of the drive? Is it like Windows' "My Documents"? (yeah, I know. Another Windows analogy.)

Question C - swap: the general rule is swap size = 2x physical RAM. I've got 256MB physical RAM and a 512MB swap seems too large. Will it be OK if I reduce it to 128MB? That'll be enough won't it?

So basically, could you suggest a good partition arrangement for my system? Should I add a /usr partition as well? If the way I'm going to use / and /home is totally wrong, and possibly fatal to the system, please let me know.

Old 09-27-2004, 02:05 PM   #2
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On a 22Gb disk, you may need to create a /boot partition in order for the bootloader to see the kernel image. But you can deal with that when you install.

128Mb of swap + 256Mb of RAM is possibly cutting it a little bit fine for memory-hungry programs like KDE or; Linux will run OK but I'd consider using something like Gnome, or even WindowMaker, or AfterStep as your desktop/window manager. You can always add more swap space with a swap file if you want to, but it will act slower than a swap partition.

For SuSE, you will probably want quite a large root partition; I'd say play it safe and choose around 2Gb. Note that you don't have a seperate /var partition, and so all of your log files will go in here as well. Plus documentation, program resources, etc.

/home is, indeed where your home directory lives. You'll get something called, say, /home/himm which is where all your personal settings go. To use your Windows analogy, it's a bit like a combination of your My Documents folder, your desktop and your roaming profile.

If you're really unsure how much space to allocate, then go with whatever the SuSE installation suggests; it's usually quite sensible about these things.
Old 09-27-2004, 02:24 PM   #3
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By far, the easiest arrangement is to have two partitions, / and swap. If your in a single user evironment and not running a server there aren't too many good reasons not to do it that way and it's much more convenient IMHO. I can virtually guarantee that if you set up multiple partitions now, you will be posting back in six months asking how you resize partitions because you are running out of room on one partition or another.
I'm sure others will disagree with me but I have yet to see any compelling reason for having multiple partitions on a linux setup in a single user, no server environment. If you keep your permanent data like mp3s, photos, docs on a separate data partition which I would recommend if your running multiple OSes, having just / and swap is the easiest way.
Old 09-27-2004, 02:28 PM   #4
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Suggestion for a 16 GB drive:


the / partition (including /, /usr, /opt, /var) = 7 GB

Swap = 768 MB

the /home partition [keep it seperate, incase of upgrades or re-installs] (particularly if you will be playing games installed through WineX, or doing a fair amount of video/audio stuff) = 8 GB

/, /usr, /var, and /opt are for programs that are installed to the system. You actually get very little choice where most stuff goes,... it follows conventional *nix system architecture.

Seperate /usr, /opt and / partitions are really unnecessary on a personal machine. They make backup and such easier on servers and multi-user machines... but there's no real advantage when you are talking machines of this size. Having it be as big as 7 GB is necessary if you will be installing things like Unreal Tournament 2004, etc., as well as many other space-hungry apps. Better safe than sorry.

A large /home partition will keep you from running out of space. WineX/Cedega installations will put the installed programs into your /home/himm partition/subdirectory. So space might be necessary there. As far as downloads and such, with a shared FAT32 partition, you will have access to the Windoze side for reads and writes... and therefore storage.

Also, strongly consider using ReiserFS or EXT3, preferably Reiser as your filesystem.


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