Partitions

We touched upon partitions during the installation of SUSE in Chapter 1, and the configuration and creation of these is relatively easy using the YaST graphical installer. Several different tools are available for managing partitions. In Chapter 1, you saw the basic operation of YaST's partitioning module. Here we shall primarily be using a lower-level tool, fdisk, to create and modify partitions.

i- : i , To use the YaST partitioning utility after installation, choose System O Partitioner

; ^ ^ .■¿•CV..\* * from the YaST menus, or type yast disk (for a text-based interface) or yast2 disk (for a graphical interface) at the prompt. You have to be logged in as root to make changes to partitioning.

Different computer architectures allow different partitioning schemes. Almost all readers of this book will be installing Linux on a desktop or server that is based on the PC (x86 or x86_64) architecture, which derives ultimately from the original IBM PC. Everything that follows in this chapter assumes that your hardware is of this type.

Each disk has a special section at its start, 512 bytes in size, called the master boot record (MBR). This contains the boot code, which gets the computer to start booting, and also the information about the partitions on the disk. Of these 512 bytes, the boot code takes up the first 446 bytes. The partition table is the next 64 bytes: the last 2 bytes are fixed (the MBR signature).

So the partition table was not designed to contain a great deal of information. That is why there are certain limitations on the partitions that can exist on a disk: in particular there can be a maximum of four primary partitions on a disk.

p : I , The low-level fdisk and the graphical YaST partitioning tool are not the only parti

; ^ ^s tioning tools included with SUSE. The parted program is also an interesting one to explore: it has more capabilities than fdisk, but like fdisk is a command-line tool. There are also two variants of fdisk: sfdisk and cfdisk. Once you understand the principles of partitioning on Linux, you should choose the tools that best suit your needs.

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