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4. An example

4.1 A recommended model for ambitious beginners

A common model creates /, /home and /var partitions as discussed above. This is simple to install and maintain and differentiates well enough to avoid adverse effects from different lifetimes. It fits well into a backup model, too: Almost noone bothers to backup USENET news spools and only some files in /var are worth backing up (/var/spool/mail comes to mind). On the other hand, / changes infrequently and can be backuped upon demand (after configuration changes) and is small enough to fit on most modern backup media as a full backup (plan 250 to 500 MB depending on the amount of installed software). /home contains valuable user data and should be backuped daily. Some installations have very large /homes and must use incremental backups.

Some systems put /tmp onto a seperate partition as well, others symlink it to /var/tmp to achieve the same effect (note that this can affect single user mode, where /var will be unavailable and the system will have no /tmp until you create one or mount /var manually) or put it onto a RAM disk (Solaris does this for example). This keeps /tmp out of /, a good idea.

This model is convenient for upgrades or reinstallations as well: Save your configuration files (or the entire /etc) to some /home directory, scrap your /, reinstall and fetch the old configurations from the save directory on /home.

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