Using a hard drive without partitions

Svein Halvor Halvorsen svein-freebsd-questions at
Mon Aug 8 09:20:08 GMT 2005

* Nikolas Britton [2005-07-30 03:26 -0500]
>  What are the ramifications, good or bad, of not using partitions on a
>  FreeBSD disk?.... What is wrong with just a slice?

In FreeBSD, you can newfs a disk (eg. ad0), a slice (eg. ad0s1) or a 
partition (eg. ad0s1a). Even a regular file could be newfs-ed!

You can also bsdlabel either a disk or a slice or a regular file, and this 
way you can create a /dev/ad0a device. Also fdisk can handle regular 
files, so you can slice a file. Even though this last example would make 
much sense, the former do!

I have newfs-ed the c-partition myself several times, and also skipped the 
bsdlabel-ing completely and just newfs'ed the entire slice. On dvd+rw, 
I've newfs-ed the media, without slicing or partitioning/labeling first.
I haven't tried to bsdlabel a disk, though.

I guess the problem with using such setups would be non-standardization. 
That is, other systems might not know how to interact with your particular 
setup. Otherwise it should be fine. It's not much use either, though, to 
skip to partitioning; you don't save much space by doing so.

Svein Halvor

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