Are partitions the same as folders?

Posted on 2000-02-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
When partitioning for Red Hat, I just created root and swap file. But the book mentions most people would create some more, like /tmp, /home, /usr...

However, I noticed that without creating those, actually I already have them when I checked from File Manager. And they are simply folders.

So since File Manager can create folders after the installation, IMHO if it is true partitions here are the same as folders, why bother to create several partitions for root, /tmp, /usr, /home...?

If this is not true, please give me a  sample of what are the TYPICAL partitions should be created and how large each of them would be.

Question by:simala
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Accepted Solution

mixerfix122699 earned 80 total points
ID: 2483927
partitions are NOT the same as directories (folders). Partitions are physical extents of the disk, addressed as separately and distinctly.

In effect, a partition is a "minidisk", seen as a separate entity by the operating system. An "unpartitioned" disk is actually partitioned into a single partition (when ready for use).

However, under Linux (and Unix), partitions and whole disks are "hung" (mounted) on "mount-points". Mount points are directories. When a partition is mounted on a mount-point, a chunk of space is added at THAT POINT ONLY.

The filesystem and directory trees are contiguous. Space allocation is NOT contiguous.

In Unix it is quite common to refer to partition by their mount-point names, e.g. /var partition, /home partition...

As for reasoning - It is well worth dividing a disk or disks into partitions in the interests of security, survivability and robustness.

If someone fills the partition mounted on /home with data (files), the machine itself can continue to operate since the system partitions (/var, /usr, /) are not affected.

In my experience, the following partitioning is quite reasonable:

/ - 30-150MB
swap - 2*RAM
/usr - 1000MB-2000MB
/var - 200MB-8000MB (depending on role)
/home - everything else

optionally, add a /tmp partition of 150MB size.

/var of 200MB is ample for home use, of 8000MB for a medium new server or proxy.

Author Comment

ID: 2484570
Thanks a lot, mixerfix.

Could you tell me a bit more, for a learner of RedHat not going to spend more than 1.8 G for server and 1.8 G for workstation, how should the partitions be arranged? Please show the MB amount of each partition. And where the application programs will reside?

I will only add a limited amount of users for practice purposes. I don't have the chance to practise in a business environment so I am trying to learn at home to grasp the entry level to medium level skills.

Expert Comment

ID: 2484906
Workstation & server
/ - 150M (configs, some execs, tmp)
/usr - 1000M (most execs)
/var - 200M
/home/swap - rest

This for a basic (small) server setup. For a larger server you might require more space in /usr or /var.

Author Comment

ID: 2485010
Thanks mixerfix!

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