/ almost out of space just after installation

Randi Harper randi at freebsd.org
Fri Oct 9 06:39:59 UTC 2009

On Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 1:02 AM, <perryh at pluto.rain.com> wrote:

> At least as far back as SunOs 3.5* the installer was able to auto-
> size the partitions based on the selected distribution sets.  Of
> course, this means that the installer must know the size of each
> distribution set -- on each of /, /usr, and /var -- and that the
> selection of what to install has to happen before the partitioning
> is actually done.  I would think that the sizing of the distribution
> sets could easily be automated as part of the release process, and
> that the needed reordering of the installation process would not
> be all that difficult for someone familiar with sysinstall and
> accustomed to coding in the language involved.

1.) Look at the PR database and search for sysinstall. See all those open
reports, some from 8 years ago? sysinstall needs some babying. There are
bugs that need to be addressed, and I'm making those a much higher priority
than feature requests, although this isn't to say that you can't submit a
feature request anyways.

2.) The problem isn't that the current default partition sizing doesn't work
with a newly installed system. It does. The problem is what happens
afterwords: compiling a new kernel or two, installing third party software
(while it's true that most files from installed ports are installed to
/usr/local, that doesn't mean that they are all configured to only write
data to /usr/local at run time, obviously), etc.

syslogd is installed by default, but there's no way for me to know if you
plan on logging to a remote host, or even using this host as a syslog server
for multiple hosts, or what your log retention is going to be, nor do I know
if this is going to be a database or mail server, so I can't guess the size
of /var.

Knowing the size of the data to be installed is easily enough done, but it's
not going to solve this problem at all.

3.) Although your comparison to SunOS isn't really all that relevant, your
complaint about default partition size is. This is something that I'm
considering changing, although I expect some backlash/bikeshed. I've not yet
run into problems with / unless I had more than 2 kernels around, but I have
seen a default-sized /tmp fill up due to some third party software.

I was thinking that a more acceptable default layout (leaving swap at it's
current default size) would be:

/ = 1GB
/var = 2GB
/tmp = 2GB

One thing to remember is that these are just suggested defaults. Most
experienced users are going to use a custom layout when setting up a new
server, so the goal here is to have partition sizes that work for everyone
else. Although FreeBSD does work on older hardware, I'd guess that most of
the hardware it is being installed on now is less than 10 years old. The
defaults we currently have in place are outdated. They are targeted more for
older systems, perhaps because sysinstall hasn't been touched in quite a

I'm looking for community input on this, so feel free to pipe up with your

-- randi

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