Partitions size for 80GB HDD and 2GB RAM

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Thu Dec 20 11:45:52 PST 2007

On Wed, Dec 19, 2007 at 05:17:50PM -0800, Alexander Rudyk (Akvelon) wrote:

> Hi all
> I am planning to install FreeBSD 6.2 on my dell laptop with 80Gb HDD and 2GB
> RAM. FreeBSD will be the only OS on the laptop. Laptop will be used to web
> development (RubyOnRails), entertaiment (photo, music, video),
> web browsing and emailing, so no server side task will be handled.
> How you suggest to split 80GB between partitions to solve all laptop tasks.
> Here is partitions:
> /root
> /var
> /usr
> /home
> /swap

I would recommend two possibilities, depending on how you you use
the machine and how many ports you intend to install.

One is to have only / and swap.
For that, make swap  4096 MB
and root the rest.
This presumes you will not be running any server which is a realistic
for a laptop and then you will not be doing backups very much and that
you will be the only one with accounts on the machine.

The other would be a more standard division which makes backups easier
and tends to protect the system from runaway users and processes more.

 a:  /  (root)   256 MB
 b:  /swap      4096 MB
 d:  /tmp        768 MB
 e:  /usr       4096 MB
 f:  /var       2048 MB
 g:  /home      all the rest.

Some combine root and /usr in to one large partition and then make
the rest as above.  Others make root, /usr and /var one partition
the size of the sum of those above and then keep the rest.  I like
to at least keep /tmp and /home separate from the OS partitions,
namely /, /usr and /tmp.   And, of course, at least some swap should 
be in its own partition.

Alternatively, you could make /var and /usr smaller
and move /var/log, /var/spool, /usr/ports and /usr/local to /home
and make symlinks for them.   Then /var might be 1024 MB
and /usr might be 2048 MB.   If you let your Email inbox grow to large
size before cleaning it out, then you might also want to move /var/mail
to /home.     They all would take up just as much room, but it would be 
out of /home where they could grow as needed without having to know how 
much in advance.    You want the initial /usr to be at least 2048 MB
in order to initially install source and the base ports tree.  Then,
before you do your fisrt csup of the system and of ports and installation
of any of the ports, you do the move and make the symlinks.  That will
leave /usr a little empty, but no problem.

If you are running some database that uses /var/db, you have to take
that in to account as well.   It can grow pretty fast.

Note, I find the handbook suggested partition sizes to be a little out
of date because of the current trend of increasing size of source and 
the ports tree, plus,  /usr no longer seems to be the assumed location 
of user's home(login) directories any more.  They now tend to go in /home.

But, this tends to end up being a religious issue, so find what works
for you and go with that and ignore all we soothsayers.

> Thx
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