file system setup for new system - recommendations?
dkelly at HiWAAY.net
Sat Aug 7 10:06:07 PDT 2004
On Aug 6, 2004, at 7:29 PM, Jay O'Brien wrote:
> I've learned that I need another partition to which I can write tar
> backups and then ftp them to one of my windows machines on my LAN.
How have you learned this lesson? Tar isn't really the best thing for
backing up the OS. Besides, you don't need to backup the OS if you have
the install CD and careful notes as to your selections during
> So, I've tried to identify the optimum configuration for the
> rebuild of my machine to accommodate that need. I have a 120GB IDE
> HD, so I don't have space problems. I presently have 128MB of RAM,
> but it looks like I should plan to accommodate an increase to
> 1024GB in the future.
> I plan to host a few web pages, and hope to be able to ultimately
> run a MTA and mail lists using majordomo or mailman in the future.
> I have static IPs and permission to run a server on my internet
I think you will have to run your system a while guessing then
reconfigure when you identify the deficiencies. A 120G HD is in the $70
to $90 range these days so when the time comes to reconfigure just put
another in with the new layout and shoot your data over.
A single root filesystem for the OS is possible but when disk space is
so cheap then there are good reasons to stick with tradition of
separate /, /var, /tmp, and /usr filesystems. One of the elegant
beauties of mature Unix is how one can mount a new filesystem anywhere
within the directory hierarchy which appears just like a directory to
casual inspection. So when a 256MB /var isn't big enough to hold your
/var/mail you could mount another partition on /var/mail or create a
mail directory elsewhere and replace /var/mail with a symbolic link
pointing at the new one.
Rather than a GB root filesystem with the entire OS on it let me
suggest sticking with the defaults but limit /usr to 1GB (or 8GB as
disk is cheap). Name the remainder something like /home. Segregate OS
and utilities from user data. Put all user data and accounts here.
Might symlink /var/mail to /home/mail/. Last time I tried, sysinstall
was smart enough to notice /home was a fs and didn't try to create the
When using tar to do backups, bite off directories, not filesystems.
For system backups keep a list of files which define your system:
/etc/rc.conf, /etc/hosts, ... then use the -I option to tar to read
that file list when performing the backup. Write your backups to a
directory outside of the backup scope. I find /root/tar.filelist to be
a good place to stash my precious file list.
If the tar archives are too big for the Windows machine then one can
always chop them up into tarballs.
> A Reference says keep the root section small, another says include
> /usr and
> /var in root, there's a discussion of the relative speed of the
> outside of
> a spinning HD to the middle of the HD, there's not an agreement on the
> size of the swap space, and, as I said, I'm confused.
You don't say if this is 4.x or 5.x. If a 120G filesystem is dirty at
mount time one might have to wait a long time on fsck. Possibly
"background fsck" has been backported to 4.x, but is in 5.x and gets
the system up and running faster. With traditional / there is very
little changing on / with a running system so its much safer to mount /
dirty. If / had user data then its more risky.
The rule of thumb says swap should always be twice core. I don't know
if there is any overhead penalty for having too much. It is best to
distribute one's swap across spindles for maximum performance.
David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly at HiWAAY.net
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.
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