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#1 2012-12-05 08:29:43

amadar
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Registered: 2011-04-15
Posts: 147

[SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

Before, the automatic Arch installer would create 4 partitions (boot, swap, root, and home).
That is gone now, and the Beginner's Guide now tells you to create only two partitions (root and home).

Is it safe/secure/crash-proof to have the boot loader in the root partition instead of separately? Am I right to assume that the swap partition was dropped due to memory being abundant nowadays?

Last edited by amadar (2012-12-05 08:55:07)

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#2 2012-12-05 08:37:57

x33a
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Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 3,346
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Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

They are only recommendations and not a guideline. You are free to choose any format you like. If you have low amount of RAM, then you should definitely go for swap. Or even if you hibernate etc, so basically it depends on user needs.

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#3 2012-12-05 08:41:17

ngoonee
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From: Between Thailand and Singapore
Registered: 2009-03-17
Posts: 6,831

Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

Its a wiki, not a government-issued set of guidelines. There's a wiki specifically about partitioning, which the section on partition scheme starting off with "There are no strict rules for partitioning a hard drive".


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#4 2012-12-05 08:51:34

amadar
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Registered: 2011-04-15
Posts: 147

Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

x33a wrote:

They are only recommendations and not a guideline. You are free to choose any format you like.

That's true, but beginners might not know what's better or worse (hence "Beginner's Guide"). smile

x33a wrote:

If you have low amount of RAM, then you should definitely go for swap. Or even if you hibernate etc, so basically it depends on user needs.

That's interesting, I don't have low ram, but I didn't ever set up hibernation before so I didn't know swap was required (but it makes sense if the memory has to be written somewhere that isn't a filesystem). Having the ability to hibernate, thus having swap, would be my preference. *EDIT* You don't necessarily need swap for hibernation. Memory can be dumped to a swap file instead.

Thanks guys.

Last edited by amadar (2012-12-05 09:07:47)

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#5 2012-12-05 15:44:28

srs5694
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From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: 2012-11-06
Posts: 719
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Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

I'll add that a separate /boot partition has historically risen and fallen in importance. Currently, we're at or near a low point for its importance, but it could be that it's rising again in importance, for a couple of reasons:

  • On older BIOS-based computers, a 2TiB limit exists in what can be handled by boot loaders under at least some circumstances. With 3TB (~2.7TiB) hard disks now available, creating a separate /boot partition that resides below the 2TiB mark could be important on such disks. Note that I'm unclear about just how common this 2TiB limit is on BIOS boot loaders. Most modern BIOSes are supposed to have much higher limits than that, but my one test under VirtualBox showed that GRUB 2 was unable to boot from a kernel placed above the 2TiB mark. I don't know if that was a VirtualBox problem or a GRUB 2 problem. There's a separate 2TiB limit on the Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning system, but you can use the GUID Partition Table (GPT) even on bigger disks, so this BIOS boot limitation is independent of the 2TiB MBR limit.

  • On newer EFI-based computers, some boot loaders (ELILO and the EFI stub loader; but this also means the rEFInd and gummiboot boot managers) require that the kernel be readable by the firmware. Normally this means placing the kernel on the EFI System Partition (ESP), but with the help of existing ext2fs/ext3fs and ReiserFS drivers, the EFI can read kernels from those filesystems. Since most people have moved on to ext4fs, XFS, JFS, or Btrfs for their root (/) filesystems, having /boot on a FAT, ext2fs, ext3fs, or ReiserFS partition gives you added flexibility. Many in the Arch community are simply ensuring that their ESPs are big enough to hold several kernels and mounting them at /boot, which is arguably the simplest way to do it. Having a separate dedicated /boot partition (independent of the ESP) makes sense in some situations, though, such as if you're multi-booting with another Linux distribution. If each one has its own /boot, there's less risk of getting your kernels confused.

Because both over-2TiB disks and EFI are becoming more common, IMHO it's wise to begin re-emphasizing the utility of a separate /boot partition; chances are more people will start wanting or needing it in the near future. There are also some more exotic reasons to want a separate /boot partition, such as if you're using an encrypted root filesystem or GRUB Legacy along with a RAID or LVM setup.

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#6 2012-12-09 01:52:43

hooya
Member
Registered: 2011-10-09
Posts: 95

Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

How big does /boot need to be? It seems like it's "safest" to make a separate /boot partition, presuming that in the foreseeable future it won't outgrow a certain size. 85MB? 200MB? I like the / /boot /home /swap (if using swap) setup best, never liked the not-future-proof nature of keeping /tmp and /var and whatever else in their own partitions when you can just leave all of root alone, but keeping /boot separate, since it doesn't seem like it would grow much, seems like a good idea to me...

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#7 2012-12-09 03:12:09

srs5694
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From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: 2012-11-06
Posts: 719
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Re: [SOLVED] The new 2-partition format vs the older 4-partition format.

I've just checked my currently-booted systems, and they range from 33MiB to 183MiB used on /boot. The high end of that scale is an Ubuntu 12.04 system with seven currently-installed kernels, two locally-built and five from the distribution. If you keep the number of kernels under control, 100MiB might be adequate, but I wouldn't really feel comfortable with less than 200MiB available these days. IIRC, Fedora uses 500MiB as its default /boot partition size. Overall, then, I'd say that 200-500MiB is a reasonable range unless you expect your needs to be exotic.

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