When we need to install linux on our systems, we need to partition our hard disk as we do for windows. In the case of windows, partitions are called as c: ,d:, e:, etc. But on linux they are represented in the form of following (there are many others, but these are the most essential):
This is meant for use by the system when it runs out of memory (RAM); it’s much like virtual memory in windows where the system utilizes that space as extra memory.
This is called the root partition; the most important partition, where all the system files are stored.
This partition is meant for use by the users of the system to store their files and preferences. Although it can be merged with the / partition, but it is advised to have this as different partition so that you can store your files and preferences and reinstall the system (in /).
You don’t see the partitions as different drives (as in windows) under linux, they are visible as directories inside the root partition (/).
After a lot of searching and reading on the topic. I have decided on the following scheme to be very suitable for most (home desktop) purposes:
- swap – 1.5 to 2 times [size of RAM] (e.g. I have 1.5 GB RAM so my swap is 3GB)
- / – 5 to 10 GB (5 GB is sufficient in most cases, but if you have large harddisk, like me, allocate at least 10 for /)
- /home – Greater than 10 GB or rest of the space (because this is where you will save all your work and downloads, etc; 40 GB in my case). And yes, you can leave other space on your hard disk as a storehouse for games, videos, music or files in the form of NTFS partitions, if you happen to use windows also (else make more room for /home).
Remember: things are not that complex, we make them complex. So, stick to a simple partition scheme like this and keep things simple.
Gparted showing my hard disk partition structure
Bonus Tip: Use Gparted instead of the partition editor that comes within the installer of most linux installers to have a complete control over your hard disk’s partitions.
This article first appeared at http://www.digimantra.com/linux/recommended-linux-partitioning-scheme/