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Old 01-25-2006, 06:01 PM   #1
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Partition Scheme /boot, /root, /var, etc

I have a 111 GB disk and plan to partition it as follows:

111.79 GB
-21.79 GB - fat32/Last Partition
100 GB

-40 GB - Win Xp/1St partition -ntfs
-30 GB - Win 2003, Vista, etc -ntfs
-30 GB - Linux - 512 swap, 28 GB /root, 1 GB /var
0 GB

My question is why do people have a seperate partition for /boot. I'll be using reiserfs so chance of data corruption is small. I understand the reason for having one for /var becuase lots of small files are being created, deleted, and written to it but what about /boot. What is the purpose of seperating it?

Also what would be the recommended /var partition size. I plan on using linux as a workstation with minimal services running and no database so var should not get heavily used, right?

Also, if I just lump linux into one big partition what is wrong with that? Is file fragementation really an issue with linux, I have to assume files do get fragemented. Or does linux just completely rewrite a file if it gets bigger in a different place on a hard drive to prevenet fragmentation?
Old 01-25-2006, 06:04 PM   #2
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The /boot partition is where your kernels are going to be stored, so it's a good idea to have one. 150MB should be big enough.
Old 01-25-2006, 06:06 PM   #3
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Why though? I understand it is where the kernel goes. I have been using slack for 4 years now. But why is it a good idea??? What is the point???
Old 01-25-2006, 06:31 PM   #4
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It is good practice to make a small (100mb or so) /boot partition at the beginning of your drive, preferably /dev/hda1 or /dev/sda1 if your using a scsi drive.

For details why, see

Note: Even though ""modern"" BIOS's don't have this problem... My laptop does, and it was made in 2002. So I suggest to just take the extra 10 seconds out and partition a little 100mb /boot partition.

I partition my drives like so:

/boot 100mb
/home 25gb
/var 5gb
/usr 5gb
/tmp 5gb
/ 10gb
/data remaining_space

Where /data is my proxy cache, email accounts, ftp accounts, et cetera.


Separate partitions or volumes have the following advantages:

* You can choose the best performing filesystem for each partition or volume
* Your entire system cannot run out of free space if one defunct tool is continuously writing files to a partition or volume
* If necessary, file system checks are reduced in time, as multiple checks can be done in parallel (although this advantage is more with multiple disks than it is with multiple partitions)
* Security can be enhanced by mounting some partitions or volumes read-only, nosuid (setuid bits are ignored), noexec (executable bits are ignored) etc.

I understand this is just a desktop system and you don't have many services running, but what if you install a new file or accidently start a service, an error occurs and it fills your drive completely, / and all. Now you have to use the rescue CD, search the culprit, delete the file and kill the service. OR, you can not by setting a separate partition. Up to you. I agree its just easy to make a big / partition, but it is not secure.

As for your fragmentation question, see


PS- All of this information [save my notes] can andwas found using search.
Old 01-25-2006, 06:40 PM   #5
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It used to be that BIOS limitations meant you couldn't boot from a partition that went past the 1024 cylinder boundary. Putting /boot on its own partition near the front of the disk solved this. Also, some people advocate putting it on its own partition and formatting it with ext2 because its easier to perform forensics from a rescue disk on an ext2 partition, but you still format your other partitions with journalling file systems.

I have no idea how valid these reasons are now, but old habits die hard...
Old 01-25-2006, 06:44 PM   #6
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Ahh, yeah I thought so. /boot is "old style", when the 1024 limit existed and it took ages to run a file system check... nowadays it is done just becuase of tradition. I thought that was the case... as i couldn't think of a logical reason... thanks for the article link. Although separting /var and what not may be usefull for cetain purposes.


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