Partitioning for an installation

Hey Guys,

Trying to install openSUSE 11.1 as the only OS on my HD. Would really like to seperate three pieces of the install.

/boot (Because I wanted to use grub with XFS so I think I need to make my boot partition ext3)

/ (Self Explanatory really)

/home (So that I can reinstall the OS if I want to)

swap Well that’s also self explanatory)

My question is about the partition type. Should be marking these all as a “primary” partition? Should some be extended? Does it matter?

Just use what the installer suggests, it will sort out what needs to be primary or extended
Why do you want to use xfs with grub?


My HDD is actually a RAID 5 Array from AMCC/3ware and they recommend XFS for the best performance.

The openSUSE installer doesn’t even partition out my /home directory, they just lump it into / and swap.

(1) /boot partition can not be XFS (so, go for ext3).
(2) XFS is especially good if you are going to have really large files.
(3) As you said, partition layout suggested by the openSUSE installer is generally not good.

You are right in saying that one needs to have a separate /home partition so that the OS can be upgraded, re-installed etc. at a later date by not formatting the /home.

Ok, but should those partititions be primary or extended, or does it not matter?

Since you are going to have only 4 partitions, choose just primary partitions.

But, since you have a RAID5 array, you must be having a lot of disk space (I presume). If that is the case and if you want to have more granularity with more partitions in the future, create 3 primary and multiple extended partitions.

Thank you very much.


Realize that no one file system or configuration gives you the best performance in all scenarios. XFS can give you speed increases over Ext3 in some cases, but if you work with many small files, maybe Reiser3 is a better choice. Alternatively you can configure and use JFS (I use it, even though there are warnings).

I often go for a very granular approach with the following:

/boot (100MB) Ext3
/ (~5-7GB) Ext3
/usr (~5-7GB) Ext3
/var (~7GB) Reiser3
/tmp (1.5GB) Ext3 or Reiser3
swap (2GB)
/srv (large portion of disk) JFS
/home (large portion of disk) JFS

/tmp (1.5GB) Ext3 or Reiser3

I think for /tmp, do not go for Reiser3, it is heavier than ext3 and one does not need a journalizing file system for /tmp.

true, but it does do fairly well for small files. I tend to avoid non journaled file systems as a matter of course. There are times I have had to retrieve things from /tmp and if there were an issue, I’d prefer a journal.