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  1. #1

    Question Linux Partitons

    Hi, I'm new to linux (yes, yes, another windows refugee). I'm not looking for a windows on a linux kernal but a better experience then that of windows (i'm not a windows basher - just tired of doing things the Redmond way). However i've hit my first hurdle:

    Linux partiton tables. I need to know what the difference is between:

    1. Linux swap = windows paging file? If so, how large should this be on a system wtih 2Gb of RAM?
    2. Linux native
    3. Journalised FS: ext3, Reiser FS, XFS, JFS.

    All I want is to setup a 100Gb program/OS partiton, the swap partition and a last partiton for the rest for my files/data.

    I would greatly appreciate your help.

  2. #2
    Blackfooted Penguin daark.child's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    West Yorks
    Linux Native means any Linux filesystem e.g. ext3, reiserfs etc. Most people use ext3 or reiserfs. They are called journaling filesystems because they keep a journal/record of changes to be made to the filesystem which makes it easier and faster to do filesystem checks if the system does not shut down cleanly. As for swap, you can make it any size you want depending on how you think you will use the system. Most people with a lot of ram probably won't use much swap space, so avoid making it too big because you will just waste disk space. I have a system with 1GB RAM and 512MB swap. The swap is hardly used.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Regarding swap size, I have the same RAM and swap space as daark.child and my swap partition is never used. With 2GB of RAM, you shouldn't need much swap space unless you have lots of memory intensive packages opened at one time.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Córdoba (Spain)
    Quote Originally Posted by proxywall View Post
    1. Linux swap = windows paging file? If so, how large should this be on a system wtih 2Gb of RAM?
    Yes, it is paging space. Dedicated partitions should work -slightly- better than swap files, though.

    I would leave a small partition just in case you start using heavy stuff. If you have no experience in linux, there's no way we can tell how much ram are you going to be wasting. It depends on a large number of factors.

    In case you don't want to make a partition, you must know that it is perfectly possible to dinamically add swap while running from a loopback file, which would be basically a swap partition INSIDE a file (yes, in linux you can "format" files, so they contain filesystems instead of word documents).

    So, no big deal, but as I said, using a dedicated partition is always better if you have bytes to spare on your hard disk. 1 or 2 gb is fine, you might run ok with less, or even without swap... But I would reserve the space just in case. Then you can choose to use or not use it, and if you don't use it, you can always reformat it and do any other thing with it (there's never enough partitions on a linux system).

    2. Linux native
    Here you install your programs, or save your documents or whatever. There are lots of filesystems in linux which you can use to format a linux native partition. Some of them are:

    3. Journalised FS: ext3, Reiser FS, XFS, JFS.
    And amongst these, ext2/3 is "the linux fs". All the rest are not really linux stuff, but ports from other OSes, or independent projects like reiserfs.

    I personally advise using ext3 if data safey is a concern, and ext2 where it is not.

    A journal fs is a fs that while working saves info about the operations that are being made, so, if something fails it can hopefully read that meta-info and finish the work that was interrupted (by an electrical blackout, for example). There are many types of journaling, and some fs's are better than others at that.

    Journal fs's are usually much faster to recover from crashes, because the journal can be replayed and the pending operations finished. This way, there is a much smaller chance that there is any corruption at all, and the check and recovery times when booting after a crash are much smaller.

    However, jounaling does take some storage space and also some cpu power (nothing big when the fs is well designed, but it does). Ext3 and all the filesystems you named above are journaled as far as I can remember (at least by default). Ext2 is the previous version of ext3, and it is not journaled. However, ext2 and ext3 are compatible, so, you can format with ext2 and then start using journal when you like and the filesystem will be ext3, or viceversa. They are 100% compatible. Ext4 is the next generation, experimental, and breaks this compatibility when using some options.

    I hope it made some sense. :P

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