history of homedirs on unices

Roger Merchberger zmerch at 30below.com
Sat Sep 24 09:19:40 CDT 2005

Rumor has it that Tim Shoppa may have mentioned these words:
> > Minix however used to have its homedirectories in /usr.  Did "real"
> > unices used to have the homedirectories their as well?

[[ snippety ]]

<MODE="rant" TYPE="General, not at Tim">

[[ Oh, waitaminit - maybe I should have just put 'snip' in there as 
'snippety' isn't really a word, like stuph really isn't a word, and now 
someone's going to gig (as in military gig, as in point out my errors, not 
the computer gig) my spelling and whine about the fact that I'm not using 
100% perfect grammar 100% of the time. Next, the non-words 'automagically' 
and 'frobnicate' will get me kicked off the list too!!! :-O ]]

Get over it, willya? Sheesh. If you don't care for a particular person's 
grammar (or lack thereof) that's why you have a delete key.


'Nuff said.

>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....

That's a blanket statement that's *just plain wrong.* There are still a 
*lot* of reasons to divvy up spindles, and the primary one off the top of 
my head is a *nix mailserver. If the home directories are on the same 
spindle as the queue directory is on the same spindle as the SQL data, the 
hard drive spends all it's time seeking and very little time actually 
finding, and the server will grind to a halt with a relatively few users, 
and the CPU just twiddling it's thumbs. Multiple spindles on a technology 
where each spindle can be communicated with separately (read: SCSI) makes 
much more efficient use of rotational memory.

It depends on where your bottlenecks are.

>   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!

10 years ago, I used to set my swap to 3x my RAM, and quite often used it. 
Albeit more slowly, but I did have a genuine need for that.

I have more money now than 10 years ago, so I generally only set swap equal 
to available RAM, but even now I've been known to run out of swap on (rare) 

Again, it depends on the individual users' needs.

>Partitions do come in handy for many reasons of convenience, but
>most of the stale recommendations are more of an inconvenience now.

Admin a few mailservers, and then call me when you change your mind. I'll 
happily buy you a beer then. (Hell, I'll get you ripped! [UK: pissed!] 
Sometimes alcohol is the only way I can keep my sanity with all the 
phishing / scams / spams / etc. I deal with on a daily basis.)

But it pays the bills... mostly. ;-)

Roger "Merch" Merchberger

Roger "Merch" Merchberger   | Anarchy doesn't scale well. -- Me
zmerch at 30below.com.         |
SysAdmin, Iceberg Computers

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