May 25th, 2007

question is a geek

Attention Linux friends (non-geeks may want to avoid the following post)

So, I've built my new PC, and I'll be installing Linux* on it. But before I do so, I need to decide how I'm going to partition the drives.

I have three 250GB SATA-2 drives in here, which I'll be using in a software RAID array. My current plan is to partition them like this:
  • /boot will be a RAID-1 array, so it can still boot even if a drive goes down (RAID-1 is the only RAID that the bootloader understands, because it looks identical to a non-RAID partition)
  • "main", a RAID-5 array, will be an LVM volume group, divided up into a few logical volumes (mostly to make backing up easier, but also to allow for different mount options) and holding most of my data:
    • / (root)
    • /home [nosuid]
    • /usr [nodev]
    • /var [noexec, nosuid, nodev]
  • "volatile", a RAID-0 array, will also be a volume group, specifically for files with short lifetimes:
    • /tmp [noexec, nosuid, nodev, noatime, nodiratime]
    • /var/tmp [same as above]
    • /var/spool [noexec, nosuid, nodev] - since this won't be a server, /var/spool/cups will probably be the bulk of this directory
    • Mozilla cache (mountpoint to be set later) [noexec, nosuid, nodev, noatime?]
  • swap (18GB total, 6GB each) - I only have 4GB of RAM (4x1GB DIMMs), so this is more than twice what I'd need (going be the "swap = 2xRAM" guideline), but I may upgrade to 2GB DIMMs later on (that'd be 16GB, but that doesn't divide evenly into 3 drives)
The logical volume groups may contain some space not assigned to specific volumes, to make it easier for me to adjust and possibly add new volumes later if necessary.

The sticking points are these:
  • How big should /boot be? I've seen suggestions of 10MB, 25MB, and even 100MB. I don't think I'll be doing any kernel hacking, so I don't think I'll need space for a bunch of spare kernels. What size would be safe yet not excessive?
  • How much space will the temp directories take up, in general? I know /tmp should be larger than 4.7GB to allow room for DVD burning, but I'm not sure how much other applications will typically need.
  • Should /usr be mounted read-only, and just remounted when installing new software? It may be more secure, but could also be more hassle.
  • One suggestion I've seen is to make /opt a symlink to /usr/local (or vice versa), because they have the same basic purpose, but some apps use one and some use the other. Putting them together shouldn't result in any collisions, and may make it easier to back up. If I did that I may make them a separate volume on main (which I'd probably do anyway for /usr/local if I make /usr readonly, so I could keep it read/write).
Thoughts? Suggestions?

*Fedora 6, to be precise
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