I'm not as experienced as many others on this list, some of whom have already 
given you their advice.  But, I have used FreeBSD for many years and will 
gladly share what I think I have figured out about these topics with you.

Your planned usage sounds alot like the way I use FreeBSD.  I use it as a mail 
server, Mailman list server, Samba file server and a web server for my 
personal use.  All I can say about a 120GB is, "that's a ton of space".  I 
have been using somewhere around 10G with about 40% free for years.  I 
recently upgraded my failing SCSI drive with a 20G IDE.  And, I have plenty 
of space for doing what I want to do (and what it sounds like you want to 
do).  The only thing that I wish I had was more room to do backups.  But, as 
someone else mentioned, you really don't have to backup anything other your 
config files and your personal data (unless you want to backup other boxes to 

Now, about dividing it up.  I can speak from experience that you want /var on 
its own partition.  It is where alot of log files and public ftp space goes.  
If it fills up, you can easily recover from it.  And, mine has done it.  
Don't worry too much about monitoring that.  You will get a nice email from 
your box telling you if /var filled up.

The other directory that tends to grow is /usr.  This is where all of 
your /home, /www and /ports directories are.  In other words, you put alot of 
stuff in /usr.  I never put anything in /root.  So, once the system is built 
it is nearly 100% static.

I hardly have to touch my FreeBSD box.  It pretty much just runs and runs.  
So, whenever I do something like add a drive or replace a drive or something 
like that, I always have to go back and re-read up on how to do it.  So, I 
would recommend that whenever you use programs that you don't tend to use 
very often like disklabel to partition or newfs, make good notes to yourself 
and keep them somewhere like /usr/local/www/HOWTO.

One more suggestion.  Make learning portupgrade one of your first tasks.  It's 
a little awkward at first.  But, keeping your box up to date and adding new 
programs is easier that way.

Finally, back to what you really wanted to know, since you have plenty of 
space, I would do something like what I have (see below) but with a 
larger /usr and an additional /backup partition that was large enough to do 
your backups (roughly the size of /usr + cushion).  Notice that my / is only 
52M,  /tmp is 3.8M and /var is 81M.  My /hd2 is a small scsi drive that I do 
backups on.  And, /usr is where I use all of my space.  So, if you doubled my 
"/", "/tmp" and "/var" and split the remainder between /backup and /usr, I 
think you would be in good shape.  Oh, and BTW, my /usr wouldn't be so big if 
it just contained FreeBSD stuff.  But, I copied all of my mp3's from my 
Windows box there for backup reasons.  I think that accounts for close to 4G 
of the 5.5G it is using.

scsibox# df -h
Filesystem    Size   Used  Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/ad0s1a   190M    52M   123M    30%    /
/dev/da0s1e   3.5G   339M   2.9G    10%    /hd2
/dev/ad0s1e   139M   3.8M   124M     3%    /tmp
/dev/ad0s1g    18G    11G   5.5G    67%    /usr
/dev/ad0s1f   242M    81M   142M    36%    /var

Good luck.


On Friday 06 August 2004 07:29 pm, Jay O'Brien wrote:
> I'm confused, and I ask for your collective help.
> I successfully built a FreeBSD system using defaults. It works fine,
> so far. I will start over and rebuild the system now, carefully
> documenting each step. I will make some changes the second time. What
> I have right now is not mission critical, I'm just using it to learn.
> I've learned that I need another partition to which I can write tar
> backups and then ftp them to one of my windows machines on my LAN. So,
> I've tried to identify the optimum configuration for the rebuild of my
> machine to accommodate that need. I have a 120GB IDE HD, so I don't have
> space problems. I presently have 128MB of RAM, but it looks like I
> should plan to accommodate an increase to 1024GB in the future.
> I plan to host a few web pages, and hope to be able to ultimately run
> a MTA and mail lists using majordomo or mailman in the future. I have
> static IPs and permission to run a server on my internet access.
> I've tried to absorb input from the FreeBSD on-line handbook, from Greg
> Lehey's "The Complete FreeBSD", and from Michael Lucases' "Absolute BSD".
> What I read either conflicts or I just can't comprehend. Maybe I shouldn't
> have tried to compare these sources?
> A Reference says keep the root section small, another says include /usr and
> /var in root, there's a discussion of the relative speed of the outside of
> a spinning HD to the middle of the HD, there's not an agreement on the
> size of the swap space, and, as I said, I'm confused.
> Here's where I am, and I would appreciate your collective comments. I'm
> persuaded to use 1026MB for swap, 8GB for root (/), 30GB for /backup tars,
> and the remainder for /home.  The /tmp, /usr, and /var directories would
> be included in the 8MB root. Web pages and mailing lists would be in home.
> I would be able to backup directories (or subdirectories) to tar files in
> the backup directory of sizes that wouldn't choke my windows machines when
> ftp'd to them for storage.
> When I rebuild my system, I don't want to do it again for a while. Should
> I make root bigger? Should I have /tmp, /usr, and /var as separate
> partitions as the default install did for me when I built the system I'm
> learning on at present?
> If you had it to do all over again, given my parameters, what would you do?
> Jay O'Brien
> Rio Linda, CA USA
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