history of homedirs on unices
shoppa_classiccmp at trailing-edge.com
Sat Sep 24 07:55:28 CDT 2005
> Minix however used to have its homedirectories in /usr. Did "real"
> unices used to have the homedirectories their as well?
This is actually a matter mostly of partitioning. On a system with
a small number of spindles, "/usr" was usually the largest disk/partition,
and most users had their home directories there (this tradition continues
with many commercial Unices).
On a system with a large number of users and spindles, very often
there were multiple root directories used for home directories. For
example there would be a disk mounted as /users1 and it would
have user's home directories of /users1/aaron and /users1/able and
/users1/acton etc., and then there would be a disk mounted as /users2
and it would have a bunch of home directories on it, etc.
Other places would mount these as /usr/users1/aaron, /usr/users1/able,
etc., keeping up the tradition of having them under the "/usr" umbrella.
Sometimes all the disparate spindles were hidden by making links
from a common /usr/users or /users directory to the spindle/directory
where the home directory really resided. This is much nicer if you're
gonna be migrating to larger disks someday.
Many of the inconvenient things of spindles and mount points we no
longer do if not necessary. I suppose /home is a good point to start
at and then if necessary use link to the actually partition where the
user's home directory resides.
For some reason, the old way of partitioning unix systems still lives
on although the need for multiple mount points and spindles doesn't
matter much in a world of multi-hundred-Gbyte disks. I suppose
it's like "always make your swap partition twice the size of physical
memory" even though the rationale behind that recommendation was
stale 15 years ago and is much more stale today!
Partitions do come in handy for many reasons of convenience, but
most of the stale recommendations are more of an inconvenience now.
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