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Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:13 am
by ObelixXXL
So, my question is basically as the title says. Just yesterday, I decided to reinstall Linux Mint, and had asked a few questions about disk partitioning here http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=154730 . Unfortunately, after wiping out nearly 1GB of what I thought was obsolete data using bleachbit, I could no longer boot into Mint (The Mint logo stood still for nearly half an hour before I made a decision to reinstall LM yet another time). My former partition setup was: 15 GB for root, 17 GB for home and the 8GB left was swap area. At this point, I have been wondering that: What are the functions of a home partition? From what I have read, the home partition is where the user stores all of his important files (documents, mp3s, videos, pictures etc.) and some configuration files like themes, conky, etc. Considering that I have a separate partition of 300 GB to save all my important files in Windows 7, my question is that: Do I still have to assign that much of disk space (15 ~ 17 GB) for home partition in particular and nearly 41 GB for Linux setup? Thank you very much!

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:26 am
by passerby
The /home partition is as you've described. It's where user documents, downloads, videos, etc. are placed by default, where various configuration and cache files are stored, and where individual users keep their data. In some cases, such as with Steam, programs will store most if not all of their data in /home. In the case of Steam, any games downloaded are stored (by default) in /home, making it increase in size rather quickly.
It's primarily used to store non-system data, ie. anything that isn't vital for your operating system to run. As such, by having /home separate to your root partition, when reinstalling you needn't wipe /home. You could wipe/install on the root partition, not formatting /home, and thus keep all of your data, user settings, customizations, etc.

But since you have a separate shared partition, you certainly don't need to allocate too much space to /home. You could indeed reduce the size of your /home partition.
Moreover, if you're familiar with (or once you learn of) symlinks (basically shortcuts) you could have most of your /home data go directly to the shared partition anyway. eg. by creating a Downloads symlink in your home directory that points to a folder on your shared partition, you would seamlessly integrate your shared partition into your home folder and have it store your downloads.
If you do use the shared partition for most of that data, and you aren't installing a lot of games or other stuff that takes a lot of room, you could probably get away with a total of <15GB for your Mint installation.

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:04 am
by Tejas_0
ObelixXXL wrote:My former partition setup was: 15 GB for root
passerby wrote: you could probably get away with a total of <15GB for your Mint installation.
I'm getting away with 1 plus a bit GiB. But then not too demanding of the system. 2 GiB sounds ample. So including 1 for the pot, 3 Gib should do the trick. After all you can always use gparted to increase size of /root if need be, my tuppence worth. :)

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:24 am
by Reorx
I never hibernate my system so...
...assuming you want to go "minimalist"...
I'd probably go with a 20 GB Linux installation >>>
/ = 19 GB
swap = 1GB
:mrgreen:

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:30 am
by Flemur
Considering that I have a separate partition of 300 GB to save all my important files...

That's the smart thing to do.

I consider /home to be part of the OS - mostly for user settings - and not inherently related to mp3s, movies and such. One of the worst of the many bad design features in windows was putting the user's data (not settings) on the same partition as the OS as a default that hardly anyone would change.

FWIW, I have 4 linuxes installed, they each take up about 4 to 5.5G, all including /home. My M16 home is 116M: 47% is ~/.mozilla and 33% is ~/.thunderbird, 11% is cache - so there's not much else there, as far as disk usage; ~/.wine is a link to another directory on the data partition, and all the OSs use the same ~/.wine.

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:49 pm
by Neil Edmond
Flemur wrote: ~/.wine is a link to another directory on the data partition, and all the OSs use the same ~/.wine.
Interesting... How would one set that up?

Re: Home partition. What does it do?

Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:06 pm
by edwardr