FreeBSD Install config

Paul Richards paul at
Thu Dec 20 21:21:34 GMT 2001

--On Wednesday, December 19, 2001 13:28:53 +0000 Jonathan Perkin
<sketch at> wrote:

> [ Format fixed, wrap lines at 72 chars if possible in your mail client ]
> On Wed Dec 19, 2001 at 01:08:23PM +0000, mark.stewart at wrote:
>> Can someone advise me on how to split up the hard disk sensibly in
>> working FreeBSD machines. I know this is individual to most users but
>> I'm sure there must be some standard practices used that experienced
>> admins have learned from experience ??? 
> You're probably just going to get a lot of personal opinions :)
> I generally go for around 128Mb root filesystem, you certainly shouldn't
> need more than that, and if possible mount it read-only.  On my NetBSD
> machines I make it smaller (usually 64Mb).  The general idea is to
> minimise writes to the root filesystem, therefore reducing the chance
> of corruption.  If you can keep / in a healthy working order you will
> always have enough tools around to fix any problems you might run into
> with other filesystems.

I tend to go for 256M these days, a couple of different kernels (and all
the modules) eats up a lot of space and on any newer disk 256M is not a
significant chunk.
> Then comes swap.  The 2 * (amount of ram) rule has been around for years
> and is still pretty spot-on.  If you're like me and also have /tmp
> mounted on swap you can make it slightly bigger.  Also can't hurt to
> increase size anyway, diskspace is cheap and running out of swap isn't
> something you want to run into.

I think the 2 * rule is overkill these days. If I remember correctly it
started with Sun but my memories hazy.

Anyway, it's not relevant at all to FreeBSD or the current situation with
memory being one of the cheapest components of the system.

You don't really need swap at all, it's only there to provide support for
swapping out programs from "expensive" memory to "cheaper" disk so you can
run more programs than you otherwise could. If you're box is swapping these
days then just put more memory in it :-)

The one criteria for swap that still holds is that you need enough to dump
the whole of memory if you want a crash dump. My usual rule for swap is
therefore (max anticipated amount of memory in this box + 256M). That
usually results in a huge of amount of swap that's never used except when I
get a crash dump :-)

You're other suggestions are pretty much exactly what I do.

Paul Richards
FreeBSD Services Ltd

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