After the swap space has been created, you need to configure the root (/) partition (see Figure 1-13). The root (/) partition is the most important data partition on any Linux enterprise or Unix system, and is the only non-swap filesystem partition that is required in order to boot a Unix or Linux system. The root partition takes its name from the fact that it is the partition mounted at the root of the Unix/Linux filesystem, which is the directory known as /. A filesystem must be mounted on this directory to successfully boot a Linux enterprise system. The root filesystem contains core directories required to boot Linux, such as the directory through which devices are accessed (/dev); the directory containing system administration, configuration, and initialization files (/etc); the directory in which critical system libraries, kernel modules, security, and internationalization information are located (/lib); and directories containing critical system binaries (/sbin, /bin, and so on).
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By default, creating this partition will automatically use the remaining unallocated space on the hard drive, which is fine for our example. However, if you need to create another partition—/home, for example—you specify the size of the partition explicitly as you did with the swap space. See the next section, "Data Partitions," for an overview of why you may want to create additional partitions.
The default type of filesystem used in SUSE Linux 10 is the Reiser filesystem, often referred to as the ReiserFS. It was one of the first available journaling filesystems for Linux, and a lot of the work was funded by both SUSE and mp3.com. A journaling filesystem dedicates a specific part of the filesystem for use as a cache of pending writes to the filesystem; this ensures that filesystem updates occur in a clean, atomic fashion; and allows a fast recovery if the system is not cleanly shut down. Ordinarily, when a Linux enterprise system is shut down, it ensures that all pending writes to each filesystem have completed, and then detaches the filesystems (known as unmounting them) to guarantee that all system data is consistent before the system is turned off. Using a journaling filesystem does not mean it is safer to just power off the machine, as data loss can still occur when data is not completely written to the disk.
After the root partition has been created, you can review your changes (see Figure 1-14) and proceed with the software installation by clicking Finish. If you want to create additional filesystems during the installation process, read the next section before clicking Finish.
Customizing your SUSE Linux 10 installation
Step 1: Partitioning Your Disks
Step 2: Resizing Existing Operating Systems Partitions
Step 3: Primary and Extended Partitions
Step 4: Defining Filesystems
Step 5: The root partition
Step 6: Data Partitions
Step 7: Selecting Software for Installation
Step 8: Selecting a Boot Loader
Step 9: Changing the Default Runlevel
The above tip is excerpted from from Chapter 1, "Installing SUSE 10" our original excerpt of The SUSE Linux 10 Bible by Justin Davies, courtesy of Wiley Publishing. This chapter explains how to successfully install SUSE Linux 10 on your box. Find it helpful? Buy it on Amazon.