Hosting Parts of the Linux File System on Separate Partitions

Your choice of specific partitioning scheme will depend on how Ubuntu will be used. On a system being designed for expansion, greater capacity, or the capability to host additional software or users, you can use separate partitions to host various parts of the Linux file system. Some candidates for these separate partitions include

• /home Users will store hundreds and hundreds of megabytes of data under their directories. This is important data, perhaps even more so than the system itself. Using a separate partition (on a different volume) to store this user data helps make the data easier to find and it segregates user and system data. You must decide ahead of time how much storage to allocate to users. For a single workstation, you should reserve several gigabytes of storage.

• /opt As the home directory for additional software packages, this directory can have its own partition or remote file system. Ubuntu does not populate this directory, but it might be used by other software packages you install later. One gigabyte of storage should be adequate, depending on applications to be installed.

• /tmp This directory can be used as temporary storage by users, especially if disk quotas are enforced; as such, it could be placed on its own partition. This directory can be as small as

100MB.

/usr This directory holds nearly all the software on a Ubuntu system and can become quite large if additional software is added, especially on a workstation configuration. Using a separate partition can make sense. A full install requires at least 6GB for this directory or more if additional software is added.

• /var Placing this directory (or perhaps some of its subdirectories) on a separate partition can be a good idea, especially because security logs, mail, and print spooling take place under this tree. You should reserve at least one gigabyte of storage for /var, especially if using Ubuntu as a print server (as spooled documents will reside under /var/spool).

As a general rule, it is a good idea to segregate user and system data. Although a Linux system can be quickly restored, user data has a much greater value and can be much more difficult to replace. Segregating data can make the job of backing up and restoring much easier. If you ever have a problem accessing your partition, we recommend that you get the excellent Knoppix distribution that boots and runs entirely from CD. This will enable you to access your partitions and make any necessary repairs. We never go anywhere or deal with any computer unless we have a CD with Knoppixyou never know when it will be useful!

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