When installing UNIX, you need only two partitions (root and swap). It is also recommended that you make the usr, var, home and tmp partitions to help organize your hard drive.

  • The root partition
    The root partition is the top level in the disk heirarchy. It is mounted automatically and cannot be unmounted. The root partition holds the boot information, the bootable UNIX kernel, a backup of the kernel, system configuration files, and any stand-alone applications like diagnostics that can run independently of the operating system.

  • The swap partition
    UNIX uses the swap partition for virtual memory. The general rule of thumb is to have at least twice as much swap space as your physical RAM.

  • The usr partition
    The usr partition holds the remaining portions of the UNIX operating system and the utilities.

  • The var partition
    This directory holds the spool directories for printing queues and also the mail queue. It also holds log files. The var file system cannot be shared, but subdirectories can be.

  • The home partition
    The home partition is where the local user login directories are placed. Create a partition large enough to hold multiple users, even on a home system.

  • The tmp partition
    The tmp directory holds temporary files. If it does not exist, it can eat up root space. Very large temporary files can be created in /var/tmp. UNIX clears the tmp partition on reboot.
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