Disk layout and partition sizes f39


before switching from another distribution to fedora, I’d like to get a recommendation for the disk configuration and partition sizes.

I’ve read the docs and also the article in fedoramagazine, and very often the advice that automatic partitioning will take care of it.

However, for me using Linux means above all having the control of my machine. So I’d like to know how a reasonable layout on a computer with 8 GB RAM and a 512 MB disk would look like, especially as it’ll be my first brtfs installation.

Kind regards


You are just a bit overthinking this.
A default F39 installation as the only OS on a new 512 GB drive would probably end up with a 600 MB efi partition, a 1 GB /boot (ext4) partition, and the remainder as btrfs volume containing the root and home subvolumes. BTRFS volumes can be likened as similar to an LVM volume group and the subvolumes as similar to the LVM logical volume with one notable difference. LVM LVs are created at a fixed size. With btrfs all subvolumes share the entire space of the main volume so the user does not have to adjust size as space is used.

It does automatically create those 3 partitions, of the size noted for the efi and /boot partitions, and will adjust the size of the btrfs partition to fit the available space.

Fedora uses virtual swap as zram in actual RAM so no swap partition is created by default. For most users zram is quite adequate.

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Thanks, this is already helping because the docs say nothing about the size of efi, boot and a basic btrfs as you can see here. Maybe I’m too worried,but before formatting my complete hard disk, I prefer to know what’s going to happen.

I have a collection of smaller SSD’s and HD’s (pulled from dead systems or replaced with new devices) that now live in USB3 cases. Since they are “disposable” I do trial installs to see exactly what will happen.

Btrfs has many advantages, but it is relatively new so:

  • many online documents are outdated
  • is is good practice is to put backups on a more time-tested filesystem (I use xfs on HD’s).
  • when something breaks, use this forum to let other users know of a potential issue
    and get advice on how best ot proceed. Too many people attempt to fix issues without capturing information that may help prevent recurrances and can lead to total loss of the data.

Btrs docs recommend period (e.g., monthly) “scrubs” – see man btrfa-scrub.

The Anaconda installer will tell you exactly what it will remove and what it will create, and give you the option to back out before it does it. Also if you choose the “Custom” option for partitioning there is a nice feature where you can choose the scheme you are going for (Btrfs, LVM, Physical, etc) and then select “Automatically create partitions for me” (paraphrasing, can’t remember exactly) then it will show you the “Automatic” disk layout. Even still you can opt out and preserve your original disk before installation.

I’ve never understood why some popular podcast hosts don’t like Anaconda, but I guess that’s neither here nor there. Since it became default I had used Btrfs, but the last couple installs of Fedora I’ve done the LVM automatic partitioning then switched the partitions to XFS… no real reason honestly other than an elementary I like Red Hat and it’s what they recommend. Honestly I’ve noticed zero difference for better or worse in day-to-day computing.

Oh, I can tell you. First of all, there is no “back” button in the disk partitioning section, only a “done” button. So when I got an unsatisfying message from the installer, there was no easy way of going back to choosing the disks. I had to cancel the whole process and start anew.

Secondly, when you choose to make your own layout, Anaconda sometimes makes changes to your decisions, e.g. by renaming the partitions or changing their order.

Thirdly, as I tried to allocate more disk space, it was absolutely unclear in the dialogue of Anaconda if it would immediately destroy the data of the selected partition or just mark it for a future deletion – so I abandoned the attempt because I wanted to check the effects without a final decision.

Anaconda is an obstruction for someone thinking of switching to Fedora. As a result, I’m still confused about partitioning.

Installation docs with a clear advice for the size of /boot/efi and /boot would be really helpful. “Anaconda will tell you” sounds like “trust the obscure vagabond at the next street corner”. :confused:

Thanks for the hints.

As I need a reliable working environment, I want to make sure that I don’t have to repartition with the next release.

Suggesting 600 MB for /boot/efi is significantly above the 512 MB of my current distro (and M$ Windows does the same, I guess). I understand that this is due to FWUPD requirements.

So, before I go with that I’d like to ask if I should expect an increased demand with UKI? Or will 600 MB cover that for sure in the next two years? (Yes, as an author I plan projects lasting for two years, and I need a distribution to secure that.)

Sorry to hear you had a poor experience. I did remember experiencing your third point when I first used Anaconda but figured it out as you did. The first two not so much but not taking away it was your experience.

There are installation docs with clear instructions, if you search “fedora installation guide” this should be in the first few hits:

Red Hat also has nice free documentation of Anaconda:

One of the few constants in computing is the increase in demands for storage space. The only viable long-term plan is add space where needed.

Unless your project is Fedora-specific or needs to keep up with the latest kernels, you could consider a long-term service distro. Fedora often has issues with upgrades on systems that are relatively old or new, so once it is working on new hardware, you can expect a few years of upgrades to be relatively problem free. Older Fedora releases don’t get security fixes. LTS distros backport security fixes (other than those that depend on something the older kernels can’t provide). If you need SElinux, it is optional on Debian and Ubuntu (and common on paid distros).

Thanks, of course I have read both.

RHEL docs don’t help because chapter 4.6 is still using the traditional partitioning scheme.

And the Fedora docs – this is where my question started – does not give minimum recommendations about the size of /boot/efi and /boot to be on the safe side for the next few releases.

Especially /boot/efi required more and more space during the last releases, beginning with “200 MB is sufficient” and now at “should be 600 MB” …

Currently working on a long term distribution, I thought about switching to Fedora in order to get closer to those fundamental changes in the basic architecture and functioning of distributions.

Yet, I learned that one feature of Fedora is “the risk is with the user”.

Have you considered installing Fedora in a VM, just so you can see how the Anaconda installers works? The basic config has everything layed out pertaining to /boot , /boot/efi, / , /home

Fedora does recommend a size for all the partitions you listed for exactly your system – in the form of automatic partitioning :slight_smile: If you want to change the size you can, the burden of knowledge is on you at that point. There are articles out there describing what /boot/efi does (store the bootloader files).

Really, this was my point of departure. I know which files go into /boot/efi, I recognized that its requirements increased significantly during the last releases, and therefore I asked about expectations of people more experienced with Fedora.

Turned into an infinite loop, so I’m giving in at this point.

Had a 250gig nvme to use**. I made 27 gig free at front (a** previous Fed40beta)
and there was no way whatsoever with the iso dated 0304 to perform the installation.
You need something less beta and more developed.

Some failures… Switching from using the entire disk to using a free area, lost the diskid. Resetting the diskid lost the choice to use the free area.

Eventually, I tried the hand assignment… I could not seem to get this sub-aaplication to stop being confused and in a retry loop.

I eventually gave up and assigned the entire parttion, overwriting data I had backed up elsewhere.
After my installation, I will be shrinking the btrfs partition to 25Gigs for /