Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (770 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Separate /usr?

Historically a separate /usr filesystem, be it partition or (more
typically) a separate disk, was because / held the system and /usr
held everything else. No kernel, no system libraries, nothing required
for startup or shutdown. It was economical and practical, given the
capacities of disks at the time and it made backing up and expansion
of storage easier. /usr also held user directories, hence the name
"usr". You could run the system without /usr with no trouble. Some
noncritical files and commands might be missing and users wouldn't
have access to their home directories but the system was usable at
pretty much every runlevel.

Since the long-standing policy of keeping everything system and
everything needed for startup on / has been tossed out and system
files essential to startup are buried somewhere, anywhere, in /usr it
must be mounted early during startup or be on the root filesystem
otherwise the system fails to start up even in runlevel 1 and
basically becomes a whiny brick.

Startup depends on /usr being there. So having a separate /usr
filesystem is no longer safe. Even if a system set up so it can start
up without /usr, there is always the invetiable clueless someone who
comes along and puts something system-critical in /usr, breaking the
startup process.

/usr can no longer be a separate partition by dint of ignorance or
whatever supposedly reasonable motive moved people to disregard
policy. To change it back would be too much effort that few are
willing to undertake and fewer still are willing to agree with. The
best that can be done now is to ensure that no one starts putting
system critical files in /home, /tmp, /media, or other new and weird

Enjoy your tangential arguing everyone...

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