Jerry McAllister wrote:

The long ago origins of making things in many partitions was when
disks were much much smaller.  So were backup media.   It was common
to have each piece on a separate disk.   Then disks got big enough
to put more than one part on and so on.

Now, there are a couple of good reasons to still divide a disk in to
partitions.  One is mentioned, sort of, above.  You want to isolate
areas that may grow unexpectedly from critical disk space.  So, /var
which contains logs and database stuff and spools gets its own partition
to keep it from over-filling root.   /tmp and user home directory space
are also such disk areas whose growth might not be predictable.

Another reason is for convenience with backups.   You may want to
reduce the size of partitions that are being backed up, either to
fit media or to be more convenient.  If only stuff in the partition
with users' home directories changes, then you only have to make
regular backups of that.  The other parts you only backup when you
make a new install or whatever.  Some things like /tmp you don't bother
to ever back up. It also can be less to have to restore if one partition goes belly up, though that is less true nowdays when the users' space (not necessarily /usr - that is an old convention. Now it is common to use /home for users' home directories, since /usr really contains installed software) may be by far the largest space on a system, depending on how the system is used.
Another reason to break things up is to have to load the least amount
possible when there are problems.   You have to have / to boot in to
single user mode to work on things.  But you don't have to have the
rest of the stuff.   The smaller you make root the less likely some
disk problem will show up in the root partition, making it more likely
you can get at least some of the system up to work on the problem.

The fourth reason to have separate partitions is to make it easier
to isolate things.   You may want to make a certain amount of space
available for users to write in, but want to keep them out of other
space.   There are various ways to do it.   Having things grouped
conveniently in some defined area makes it a little easier.

What Jerry said ;-).  Thanks for expressing what I couldn't OTTOMH.

Incidentally, 150MB doesn't seem very large for a root partition IMHO. I've not read the handbook recently, but I generally use a gig for /.

If you divide out /var and /usr and /tmp and /home, then 150 MB is
plenty for root.   I am currently using about 120 MB on this machine
which is due a good cleanup.

I only partition /, /var/, and /usr/, so /tmp stays in the root slice; I make mention of this fact (150M being small) because of the previously-mentioned case in which installworld puked because / was full (this *was* with a separate /tmp) and there was nothing really there except default stuff (had been a DesktopBSD system, maybe someone with more experience there could comment). The box was going from 5.3 under an (older) DesktopBSD test install to FBSD 6.2; I worked 'round the issue by moving /stand, but ended up re-installing 6.2 from CD to give a slightly more junior guy more experience with sysinstall (AAMOF I've made him do it on two boxen today, heh heh heh)....

Kevin Kinsey
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
                -- John Lennon, Beautiful Boy
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