FreeBSD 8.2 Partition Sizing question

Polytropon freebsd at
Sat Sep 17 07:34:28 UTC 2011

On Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:04:31 +0000 (GMT), Thomas Mueller <mueller6727 wrote:
> I can't really see the rationale for putting / and /usr
> on separate partitions.

The idea is that even if /usr partition gets some problems
(e. g. filesystem defects), / will be enough to bring the
system up in SUM, and maybe do some backup or recovery in
this (limited) state.

> I like to put /home on a separate partition, and don't like
> the idea of /usr/home.

I agree with that. I've also created systems where /home was
on a physically different disk, so being fully independent
of the OS disk.

> I also don't like to put /var and /tmp on separate partitions:
> problems with size and fitting the disk space.

But that can turn against you: Imagine some user is filling
/tmp with big files until the disk is full. Now logs to /var
cannot be written anymore. Even operations that go to / can't
be successfully finished.

On the other hand: If you "connect" /tmp to a file with a
static size that is located on /, this problem would not

In cases where you can't predict how the usage of /tmp, /var
or /usr will develop in the future, putting everything into
one partition might be the best solution - expect, of course,
using ZFS instead. :-)

> Putting /home on a separate partition allows the whole system
> to be upgraded, even newfs and reinstall, without touching
> user data.

Correct, and this can be very useful sometimes. The "second
disk approach" even enables you to change partitioning type
(fdisk / GPT) and scheme without dealing with the data on
the /home disk.

Using diffrent partitions allows you to accomodate to differences
in UFS formatting options (e. g. inode size to reflect if it
will store many small files or just some very big files), as
well as mount options (e. g. noexec) which may be requirements
for performance or security. But this depends on your specific

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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