Network Administration: Linux Partition Planning

Linux handles partitions a little differently than Windows. The Windows operating system installs itself into a single partition. However, Linux installations typically require three or more hard drive partitions:

  • A boot partition: This should be small — 16MB is recommended. The boot partition contains the operating system kernel and is required to start Linux properly on some computers.

  • A swap partition: This should be about twice the size of your computer’s RAM. For example, if the computer has 256MB of RAM, allocate a 512MB swap partition. Linux uses this partition as an extension of your computer’s RAM.

  • A root partition: In most cases, this uses up the remaining free space on the drive. The root partition contains all the files and data used by your Linux system.

You can also create additional partitions if you want. The installation program includes a disk-partitioning feature that lets you set up your drive partitions and indicate the mount point for each partition. The installation program can make a recommendation for partitioning your drives that will be appropriate in most situations.