My current view of Linux system filesystem sizes

September 18, 2006

Here's my current thoughts on how big system filesystems (or partitions, depending on what you like to call them) should be for new systems. This assumes that you have lots of disk space to play around with.

Also, note that I run non stripped down Fedora Core systems; in fact, I have a tropism towards installing most everything in sight, just so I have its documentation handy in case I need to poke at it. A stripped down system would fit in much, much less.

One of my big principles of system partitions is that I want them to be big enough that they won't run out of space during the inevitable operating system upgrades over the next five year to ten years. Painful, bitter experience has taught me that distributions only get bigger, sometimes lots bigger; given today's very big disks, a large safety margin is very cheap insurance.

/ 5G The big space eater here is /lib/modules; a current Fedora Core kernel config is about 100M of modules, and that's only going to keep on growing. Add in Xen dom0 kernels, my own kernels, etc etc and it adds up fast. (I ran out of space on a 1G /, to my surprise.)
/boot 512M This probably only really needs to be 100M or so, but I am nervous about sudden space expansions and future versions of Fedora Core deciding on random (but large) minimum space requirements here.
/usr 20G Lack of space in /usr has been the most frequent problem during distribution upgrades, so I want to be really, really sure that I don't run into this again.
/var 5G This is either vast overkill or not enough, depending on what you are doing in /var. At least this way, I have room for a few experiments before I have to find things like mach new homes.
swap 2G This much is probably overkill for my machines, but insurance is cheap. It also insures against random (but large) minimum swap space requirements in future versions of the Fedora Core installer, which have happened before.

For scale, current disk usage on a more or less stock Fedora Core 5 AMD 64 machine, with a lot of things installed, is about:

/ 798M
/boot 26M
/usr 5.6G
/var 1.5G

The /var includes 642M of /var/lib/mach, which has a relatively complete 32-bit Fedora Core 5 development environment plus some extra bits, and 335M of /var/cache/mach, which is presumably related to this.

(On the other hand, this mach install neatly demonstrates that you can get Fedora Core 5 into much less space than I usually give it.)

Comments on this page:

From at 2006-09-24 23:34:22:

In UTORmail/UTORwebmail land, 5GB just won't do justice to /var ...


Written on 18 September 2006.
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Last modified: Mon Sep 18 14:36:30 2006
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