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1. Introduction

For strange and artistic reasons this brand new release is code named the Daybreak release.

New code names will appear as per industry standard guidelines to emphasize the state-of-the-art-ness of this document.

This document was written for two reasons, mainly because I got hold of 3 old SCSI disks to set up my Linux system on and I was pondering how best to utilise the inherent possibilities of parallelizing in a SCSI system. Secondly I hear there is a prize for people who write documents...

This is intended to be read in conjunction with the Linux Filesystem Structure Standard (FSSTND). It does not in any way replace it but tries to suggest where physically to place directories detailed in the FSSTND, in terms of drives, partitions, types, RAID, file system (fs), physical sizes and other parameters that should be considered and tuned in a Linux system, ranging from single home systems to large servers on the Internet.

Even though it is now more than a year since last release of the FSSTND work is still continuing, under a new name, and will encompass more than Linux, fill in a few blanks hinted at in FSSTND version 1.2 as well as other general improvements. The development mailing list is currently private but a general release is hopefully in the near future. The new issue will be named Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) and will cover more than Linux alone. Very recently FHS version 2.0 was released but there are still a few issues to be dealt with and even longer before this new standard will have an impact on actual distribusions.

It is also a good idea to read the Linux Installation guides thoroughly and if you are using a PC system, which I guess the majority still does, you can find much relevant and useful information in the FAQs for the newsgroup especially for storage media.

This is also a learning experience for myself and I hope I can start the ball rolling with this HOWTO and that it perhaps can evolve into a larger more detailed and hopefully even more correct HOWTO.

First of all we need a bit of legalese. Recent development shows it is quite important.

1.1 Copyright

This HOWTO is copyrighted 1996 Stein Gjoen.

Unless otherwise stated, Linux HOWTO documents are copyrighted by their respective authors. Linux HOWTO documents may be reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, as long as this copyright notice is retained on all copies. Commercial redistribution is allowed and encouraged; however, the author would like to be notified of any such distributions.

All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works incorporating any Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this copyright notice. That is, you may not produce a derivative work from a HOWTO and impose additional restrictions on its distribution. Exceptions to these rules may be granted under certain conditions; please contact the Linux HOWTO coordinator at the address given below.

In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through as many channels as possible. However, we do wish to retain copyright on the HOWTO documents, and would like to be notified of any plans to redistribute the HOWTOs.

If you have questions, please contact Greg Hankins, the Linux HOWTO coordinator, at via email.

1.2 Disclaimer

Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.

All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals.

1.3 News

The most recent news is that FHS version 2.0 is released and the work is picing up momentum. No linux distributions using FHS has been announced yet but when that happens there will have to be a few rewrites to this HOWTO. And speaking of HOWTO, I have now dropped all pretenses and removed the 'mini' prefix, as this was becoming something of a joke.

A recent addition is a new section on how best to get help should you find yourself unable to solve your problems as well as more suggestion on maintenance.

Due to an enormous amount of spam I have been forced to mangle all e-mail addresses herein in order to fool the e-mail harvesters that scan through the net for victims to be put on the lists. Feedbeck tells me some damage has already happened, this is very unfortunate. Mangiling is done by replacing the @ character with (at)

A number of pointers to relevant mailing lists are also added.

Since the 0.14 version was released there have been too many changes to list here. I have received much input and a substantial patch from kris (at) that adds many new details. The document has grown a lot, actually beyond expectations.

I have also upgraded my system to Debian 1.2.6 and have replaced the old Slackware values with the Debian values for disk space requirements for the various directory. I will use Debian as a base for discussions and examples here, though the HOWTO is equally applicable to other distributions, even other operating systems. At the time of writing this Debian 1.3 is out in beta and will soon be used as the test bench for further versions of this document.

More news: there has been a fair bit of interest in new kinds of file systems in the comp.os.linux newsgroups, in particular logging, journaling and inherited file systems. Watch out for updates. Projects on volume management is also under way. The old defragmentation program for ext2fs is being updated and there is continuing interests for compression.

The latest version number of this document can be gleaned from my plan entry if you finger my Nyx account.

Also, the latest version will be available on my web space on nyx: The Multi Disk System Tuning HOWTO Homepage.

A text-only version as well as the SGML source can also be downloaded there. A nicely formatted postscript version is also available now. In order to save disk space and bandwidth it has been compressed using gzip.

Also planned is a series of URLs to helpful software referred to in this document. A mirror in Europe will be announced soon.

I have very recently changed jobs, address etc so there will be a few delays in updates before I get the time for a more systematic updates.

From version 0.15 onward this document is primarily handled as an SGML document which means future printouts should look nicer than the old text based version. This also means that it has more or less grown into a full HOWTO. With respect to size it must be admitted it is a long time since there was anything "mini" about it.

1.4 Credits

In this version I have the pleasure of acknowledging even more people who have contributed in one way or another:

ronnej (at )
cm (at)
armbru (at)
R.P.Blake (at)
neuffer (at)
sjmudd (at)
nat (at)
sundbyk (at)
gjoen (at)
mike (at) i-Connect.Net
roth (at)
phall (at)
szaka (at)
CMckeon (at)
kris (at)
edick (at)
pot (at)
earl (at)
ebacon (at)
vax (at)

Special thanks go to nakano (at) for doing the Japanese translation, general contributions as well as contributing an example of a computer in an academic setting, which is included at the end of this document.

Not many still, so please read through this document, make a contribution and join the elite. If I have forgotten anyone, please let me know.

New in this version is an appendix with a few tables you can fill in for your system in order to simplify the design process.

Any comments or suggestions can be mailed to my mail address on nyx:

So let's cut to the chase where swap and /tmp are racing along hard drive...

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