Subject: Re: packages outside of /usr/pkg (was: Re: PROPOSAL: Move /usr/pkg/etc to /etc/pkg)
To: NetBSD Packages Technical Discussion List <tech-pkg@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 05/25/2002 13:52:21
[ On Saturday, May 25, 2002 at 15:17:24 (+0200), Martin Husemann wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: packages outside of /usr/pkg (was: Re: PROPOSAL: Move /usr/pkg/etc to /etc/pkg)
> > in var (for extra packages installed). For example, /var/www, /var/postgresql,
> > /var/... I tend to put those things under /home, so I keep /var small.
> > 
> > Is this "wrong"?
> No, of course not. It's a matter of the useage pattern of your machine and
> personal preferences.
>[[ .... ]]
> On a personal machine many things are easier and some of this precautions are
> not needed.

Exactly.  (though even a personal machine needs some care in allocation
of resources if it provides services while not under the direct
attention of its owner)

What's "wrong" is the making of a very limiting assumption in sysinst.

Even though the vast majority of end users who use sysinst may indeed be
installing personal workstations and not multi-user or general purpose
systems, sysinst should not assume this to be the case and in doing so
make it much harder for people who don't fit that one profile.

What's bad about the defaults of sysinst is that they are, IMNSHO at
least, the worst possible combination of all choices.  A small root,
/var on root, no separate /home, not even a separate /tmp.  Now with the
"Choose filesystems" menu it's not too hard to fiddle these around, but
as I say the defaults are all wrong for anyone.  You almost always want
a separate /var, regardless of what you do with your machine, and you
don't need or want a separate /usr unless you've got small and/or slow
but multiple disk spindles (but then sysinst has trouble dealing with
multiple spindles).  For modern machines (which is undoutably where the
majority of sysinst uses will always be), you want a big root FS
containing /usr (and /usr/pkg), and you want a separate /var, and you
might even want a /tmp on MFS.  The only real questions are whether you
want lots and lots of room to install major numbers of packages or not,
how much space to dedicate to /var, and whether or not you want a
separate /home (or whether that'll be on some other, possibly remote,
disk).  Even on a modern system with fast disks you almost certainly
always want /var to be on a separate (from root and /usr) spindle if
possible, and you want to spread any swap space across all fast spindles
(and indeed have the majority of it on a different spindle than all your
executables and shared libraries too!).  Sysinst should make these
choices easy and obvious because although some of these choices can be
changed after install time, it's never quite so easy as when it's done
right in the first place.

Finally, back to this thread (or at least another earlier branch of it),
you probably don't ever want "var"-type files to be anywhere but in /var
unless maybe you make yet another separate filesystem for them.

								Greg A. Woods

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