[lfs-support] What Is "The" LFS Partition?

Simon Geard delgarde at ihug.co.nz
Tue Nov 6 01:24:50 PST 2012

On Mon, 2012-11-05 at 20:32 +0000, dennisjperkins at comcast.net wrote:
> Partitions and filesystems are not identical on Linux/Unix systems.
> You carve a drive up into partitions, and you are free to format each
> partition with whatever filesystem you want.  Every other operating
> system I am aware of does not make this distinction.  I suppose the
> reason is to avoid duplicating the code needed to create a partition
> whenever someone creates a new type of filesystem.

They're not identical on *any* operating system, even if a UI layer
obscures the differences. And it's got nothing to do with code
duplication - it's that they're two quite different concepts.

Partitioning is simply a way of splitting one large block device (the
actual disk) into smaller pieces that can be used for various purposes.
There's no meaning to a partition in itself - it's just a way of saying
the first (e.g) 50GB can be used for one thing, and the remaining 200GB
can be used for something else.

Whereas a filesystem is the usual way of actually using a partition -
something at a higher level of the OS knows that that first partition
has been formatted to store data in a particular way (e.g an ext4
filesystem). But it doesn't have to be a filesystem - it could be
something like swap, which also uses a particular format for it's
partitions, but one which has nothing to do with files.

Nor do filesystems need to be on partitions - they can be network mounts
(SAMBA, NFS), in-memory (procfs, tmpfs), or even a file on another
filesystem (e.g a downloaded ISO image).


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