On reserving a dedicated /home partition

Whilst regular *NIX machines would run well without a dedicated /home partition, it is usually better to separate your /home partition from the disk’s root (/) partition. This *should* be just a regular step for distro-hoppers (like me) who frequently change boats from time to time.

Advantages:

  • No more backing-up worries.
    - Having a dedicated /home partition rids of you of the daunting task of backing-up your data every time you reformat your root drive. Only the applications and the distro itself should be rid off when reformatting, anyway. Unless you want to start from scratch everytime, this is a wise choice.
  • You have a unified desktop and general application settings for multi-boot computers.
    - You can assign the same /home partition to several other distributions that reside in your system, and, therefore, get to use the same set of application settings.

Disadvantages:

  • Hard drive space will no longer be flexible.
    - Although not really a problem, separating your /home partition from the root itself requires good user memory management. Unlike if the two partitions are joined under one root, /home and / will use independent storage spaces (since they are logically different hard drives). The problem would now reside on whether you’re a document-guy (you need more space for /home), or an app-guy (needs more / space). But with memory getting cheaper and cheaper, this problem may already be non-existent.
  • Additional disk overhead.
    - Since they are separate partitions, applications that are installed in the root partition and have settings saved in /home would now require reading data from a “separate disk”. This is HARDLY noticeable, though, but if you’re all for the speed and efficiency, this might be one issue.

With that said, I would still recommend going for a separate home partition setup. It’s relatively easy, anyway; most (if not all) distro installers include guides on setting up a separate home partition. It saves you a lot of time and effort, and it’s all for the good. :)


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