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4. Preparing the Disks

Sisällysluettelo:

4.a. Introduction to Block Devices

Block Devices

We'll take a good look at disk-oriented aspects of Gentoo Linux and Linux in general, including Linux filesystems, partitions and block devices. Then, once you're familiar with the ins and outs of disks and filesystems, you'll be guided through the process of setting up partitions and filesystems for your Gentoo Linux installation.

To begin, we'll introduce block devices. The most famous block device is probably the one that represents the first IDE drive in a Linux system, namely /dev/hda. If your system uses SCSI drives, then your first hard drive would be /dev/sda.

The block devices above represent an abstract interface to the disk. User programs can use these block devices to interact with your disk without worrying about whether your drives are IDE, SCSI or something else. The program can simply address the storage on the disk as a bunch of contiguous, randomly-accessible 512-byte blocks.

Partitions and Slices

Although it is theoretically possible to use a full disk to house your Linux system, this is almost never done in practice. Instead, full disk block devices are split up in smaller, more manageable block devices. On amd64 systems, these are called partitions.

Partitions

Partitions are divided in three types: primary, extended and logical.

A primary partition is a partition which has its information stored in the MBR (master boot record). As an MBR is very small (512 bytes) only four primary partitions can be defined (for instance, /dev/hda1 to /dev/hda4).

An extended partition is a special primary partition (meaning the extended partition must be one of the four possible primary partitions) which contains more partitions. Such a partition didn't exist originally, but as four partitions were too few, it was brought to life to extend the formatting scheme without losing backward compatibility.

A logical partition is a partition inside the extended partition. Their definitions aren't placed inside the MBR, but are declared inside the extended partition.

4.b. Designing a Partitioning Scheme

Default Partitioning Scheme

If you are not interested in drawing up a partitioning scheme for your system, you can use the partitioning scheme we use throughout this book:

Partition Filesystem Size Description
/dev/hda1 ext2 32M Boot partition
/dev/hda2 (swap) 512M Swap partition
/dev/hda3 ext3 Rest of the disk Root partition

If you are interested in knowing how big a partition (or logical volume) should be, or even how many partitions (or volumes) you need, read on. Otherwise continue with Using fdisk to Partition your Disk.

How Many and How Big?

The number of partitions is highly dependent on your environment. For instance, if you have lots of users, you will most likely want to have your /home separate as it increases security and makes backups easier. If you are installing Gentoo to perform as a mailserver, your /var should be separate as all mails are stored inside /var. A good choice of filesystem will then maximise your performance. Gameservers will have a separate /opt as most gaming servers are installed there. The reason is similar for /home: security and backups. You will definitely want to keep /usr big: not only will it contain the majority of applications, the Portage tree alone takes around 500 Mbyte excluding the various sources that are stored in it.

As you can see, it very much depends on what you want to achieve. Separate partitions or volumes have the following advantages:

  • You can choose the best performing filesystem for each partition or volume
  • Your entire system cannot run out of free space if one defunct tool is continuously writing files to a partition or volume
  • If necessary, file system checks are reduced in time, as multiple checks can be done in parallel (although this advantage is more with multiple disks than it is with multiple partitions)
  • Security can be enhanced by mounting some partitions or volumes read-only, nosuid (setuid bits are ignored), noexec (executable bits are ignored) etc.

However, multiple partitions have one big disadvantage: if not configured properly, you might result in having a system with lots of free space on one partition and none on another. There is also a 15-partition limit for SCSI and SATA.

As an example partitioning, we show you one for a 20GB disk, used as a demonstration laptop (containing webserver, mailserver, gnome, ...):

Koodilistaus 2.1: Filesystem usage example

Filesystem    Type    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda5     ext3    509M  132M  351M  28% /
/dev/hda2     ext3    5.0G  3.0G  1.8G  63% /home
/dev/hda7     ext3    7.9G  6.2G  1.3G  83% /usr
/dev/hda8     ext3   1011M  483M  477M  51% /opt
/dev/hda9     ext3    2.0G  607M  1.3G  32% /var
/dev/hda1     ext2     51M   17M   31M  36% /boot
/dev/hda6     swap    516M   12M  504M   2% <not mounted>
(Unpartitioned space for future usage: 2 GB)

/usr is rather full (83% used) here, but once all software is installed, /usr doesn't tend to grow that much. Although allocating a few gigabytes of disk space for /var may seem excessive, remember that Portage uses this partition by default for compiling packages. If you want to keep /var at a more reasonable size, such as 1GB, you will need to alter your PORTAGE_TMPDIR variable in /etc/make.conf to point to the partition with enough free space for compiling extremely large packages such as OpenOffice.

4.c. Using fdisk to Partition your Disk

The following parts explain how to create the example partition layout described previously, namely:

Partition Description
/dev/hda1 Boot partition
/dev/hda2 Swap partition
/dev/hda3 Root partition

Change your partition layout according to your own preference.

Viewing the Current Partition Layout

fdisk is a popular and powerful tool to split your disk into partitions. Fire up fdisk on your disk (in our example, we use /dev/hda):

Koodilistaus 3.1: Starting fdisk

# fdisk /dev/hda

Once in fdisk, you'll be greeted with a prompt that looks like this:

Koodilistaus 3.2: fdisk prompt

Command (m for help): 

Type p to display your disk's current partition configuration:

Koodilistaus 3.3: An example partition configuration

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 240 heads, 63 sectors, 2184 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 bytes

Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1             1        14    105808+  83  Linux
/dev/hda2            15        49    264600   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda3            50        70    158760   83  Linux
/dev/hda4            71      2184  15981840    5  Extended
/dev/hda5            71       209   1050808+  83  Linux
/dev/hda6           210       348   1050808+  83  Linux
/dev/hda7           349       626   2101648+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8           627       904   2101648+  83  Linux
/dev/hda9           905      2184   9676768+  83  Linux

Command (m for help): 

This particular disk is configured to house seven Linux filesystems (each with a corresponding partition listed as "Linux") as well as a swap partition (listed as "Linux swap").

Removing all Partitions

We will first remove all existing partitions from the disk. Type d to delete a partition. For instance, to delete an existing /dev/hda1:

Koodilistaus 3.4: Deleting a partition

Command (m for help): d
Partition number (1-4): 1

The partition has been scheduled for deletion. It will no longer show up if you type p, but it will not be erased until your changes have been saved. If you made a mistake and want to abort without saving your changes, type q immediately and hit enter and your partition will not be deleted.

Now, assuming that you do indeed want to wipe out all the partitions on your system, repeatedly type p to print out a partition listing and then type d and the number of the partition to delete it. Eventually, you'll end up with a partition table with nothing in it:

Koodilistaus 3.5: An empty partition table

Disk /dev/hda: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3876 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System

Command (m for help):

Now that the in-memory partition table is empty, we're ready to create the partitions. We will use a default partitioning scheme as discussed previously. Of course, don't follow these instructions to the letter if you don't want the same partitioning scheme!

Creating the Boot Partition

We first create a small boot partition. Type n to create a new partition, then p to select a primary partition, followed by 1 to select the first primary partition. When prompted for the first cylinder, hit enter. When prompted for the last cylinder, type +32M to create a partition 32 Mbyte in size:

Koodilistaus 3.6: Creating the boot partition

Command (m for help): n
Command action
  e   extended
  p   primary partition (1-4)
p
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-3876, default 1): (Hit Enter)
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-3876, default 3876): +32M

Now, when you type p, you should see the following partition printout:

Koodilistaus 3.7: Created boot partition

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3876 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1          1        14    105808+  83  Linux

We need to make this partition bootable. Type a to toggle the bootable flag on a partition and select 1. If you press p again, you will notice that an * is placed in the "Boot" column.

Creating the Swap Partition

Let's now create the swap partition. To do this, type n to create a new partition, then p to tell fdisk that you want a primary partition. Then type 2 to create the second primary partition, /dev/hda2 in our case. When prompted for the first cylinder, hit enter. When prompted for the last cylinder, type +512M to create a partition 512MB in size. After you've done this, type t to set the partition type, 2 to select the partition you just created and then type in 82 to set the partition type to "Linux Swap". After completing these steps, typing p should display a partition table that looks similar to this:

Koodilistaus 3.8: Partition listing after creating a swap partition

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3876 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1 *        1        14    105808+  83  Linux
/dev/hda2         15        81    506520   82  Linux swap

Creating the Root Partition

Finally, let's create the root partition. To do this, type n to create a new partition, then p to tell fdisk that you want a primary partition. Then type 3 to create the third primary partition, /dev/hda3 in our case. When prompted for the first cylinder, hit enter. When prompted for the last cylinder, hit enter to create a partition that takes up the rest of the remaining space on your disk. After completing these steps, typing p should display a partition table that looks similar to this:

Koodilistaus 3.9: Partition listing after creating the root partition

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 30.0 GB, 30005821440 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3876 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1 *        1        14    105808+  83  Linux
/dev/hda2         15        81    506520   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda3         82      3876  28690200   83  Linux

Saving the Partition Layout

To save the partition layout and exit fdisk, type w.

Koodilistaus 3.10: Save and exit fdisk

Command (m for help): w

Now that your partitions are created, you can now continue with Creating Filesystems.

4.d. Creating Filesystems

Introduction

Now that your partitions are created, it is time to place a filesystem on them. If you don't care about what filesystem to choose and are happy with what we use as default in this handbook, continue with Applying a Filesystem to a Partition. Otherwise read on to learn about the available filesystems...

Filesystems?

Several filesystems are available. Some of them are found stable on the amd64 architecture, others aren't. The following filesystems are found to be stable: ext2 and ext3. jfs and reiserfs may work but need more testing. If you're really adventurous you can try the unsupported filesystems.

ext2 is the tried and true Linux filesystem but doesn't have metadata journaling, which means that routine ext2 filesystem checks at startup time can be quite time-consuming. There is now quite a selection of newer-generation journaled filesystems that can be checked for consistency very quickly and are thus generally preferred over their non-journaled counterparts. Journaled filesystems prevent long delays when you boot your system and your filesystem happens to be in an inconsistent state.

ext3 is the journaled version of the ext2 filesystem, providing metadata journaling for fast recovery in addition to other enhanced journaling modes like full data and ordered data journaling. ext3 is a very good and reliable filesystem. It has an additional hashed b-tree indexing option that enables high performance in almost all situations. You can enable this indexing by adding -O dir_index to the mke2fs command. In short, ext3 is an excellent filesystem.

ReiserFS is a B*-tree based filesystem that has very good overall performance and greatly outperforms both ext2 and ext3 when dealing with small files (files less than 4k), often by a factor of 10x-15x. ReiserFS also scales extremely well and has metadata journaling. As of kernel 2.4.18+, ReiserFS is solid and usable as both general-purpose filesystem and for extreme cases such as the creation of large filesystems, the use of many small files, very large files and directories containing tens of thousands of files.

XFS is a filesystem with metadata journaling which comes with a robust feature-set and is optimized for scalability. We only recommend using this filesystem on Linux systems with high-end SCSI and/or fibre channel storage and an uninterruptible power supply. Because XFS aggressively caches in-transit data in RAM, improperly designed programs (those that don't take proper precautions when writing files to disk and there are quite a few of them) can lose a good deal of data if the system goes down unexpectedly.

JFS is IBM's high-performance journaling filesystem. It has recently become production-ready and there hasn't been a sufficient track record to comment positively nor negatively on its general stability at this point.

Applying a Filesystem to a Partition

To create a filesystem on a partition or volume, there are tools available for each possible filesystem:

Filesystem Creation Command
ext2 mke2fs
ext3 mke2fs -j
reiserfs mkreiserfs
xfs mkfs.xfs
jfs mkfs.jfs

For instance, to have the boot partition (/dev/hda1 in our example) in ext2 and the root partition (/dev/hda3 in our example) in ext3 (as in our example), you would use:

Koodilistaus 4.1: Applying a filesystem on a partition

# mke2fs /dev/hda1
# mke2fs -j /dev/hda3

Now create the filesystems on your newly created partitions.

Activating the Swap Partition

mkswap is the command that is used to initialize swap partitions:

Koodilistaus 4.2: Creating a Swap signature

# mkswap /dev/hda2

To activate the swap partition, use swapon:

Koodilistaus 4.3: Activating the swap partition

# swapon /dev/hda2

Create and activate the swap now.

4.e. Mounting

Now that your partitions are initialized and are housing a filesystem, it is time to mount those partitions. Use the mount command. Don't forget to create the necessary mount directories for every partition you created. As an example we mount the root and boot partition:

Koodilistaus 5.1: Mounting partitions

# mount /dev/hda3 /mnt/gentoo
# mkdir /mnt/gentoo/boot
# mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/boot

Huomaa: If you want your /tmp to reside on a separate partition, be sure to change its permissions after mounting: chmod 1777 /mnt/gentoo/tmp. This also holds for /var/tmp.

We will also have to mount the proc filesystem (a virtual interface with the kernel) on /proc. But first we will need to place our files on the partitions.

Continue with Installing the Gentoo Installation Files.


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Tämä sivu on viimeksi päivitetty 1. tammikuuta 2006

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Tiivistelmä: To be able to install Gentoo, you must create the necessary partitions. This chapter describes how to partition a disk for future usage.

Sven Vermeulen
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Daniel Robbins
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Chris Houser
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Jerry Alexandratos
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Seemant Kulleen
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Tavis Ormandy
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Aron Griffis
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Brad House
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Guy Martin
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Pieter Van den Abeele
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Joe Kallar
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John P. Davis
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Pierre-Henri Jondot
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Eric Stockbridge
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Rajiv Manglani
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Jungmin Seo
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Stoyan Zhekov
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Jared Hudson
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Colin Morey
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Jorge Paulo
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Carl Anderson
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Jon Portnoy
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Zack Gilburd
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Jack Morgan
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Benny Chuang
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Erwin
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Joshua Kinard
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Xavier Neys
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Grant Goodyear
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Gerald J. Normandin Jr.
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Donnie Berkholz
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Ken Nowack
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Lars Weiler
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Flammie Pirinen
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