Small /boot partitions must go!

From: Mike Harrison 
------------------------------------------------------

I just wasted half a day, because some budding SysAdmin used advice from 
1972 and made a /boot partition less than 1gb..

A prayer and" "dpkg --configure -a --force-all" after a lot of removing 
odl files finally got it happy enough to:

"apt-get install linux-image-server linux-server" and
then get the normal things done... (apt-get update/upgrade/autoremove)

Either use some space for these things or stop making them their own 
partition!

Rant Over.. --Mike--






=============================================================== From: Lynn Dixon ------------------------------------------------------ We have always ran 500MB for our /boot on our RHEL4, RHEL5, and RHEL6 machines. Having said that, we are also very proactive when it comes to server maintenance as well.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ So the reasoning used to be that some BIOSes couldn't read more than 9MB, and then something like 512MB, and you had to have the boot device in BIOS accessible partition space, right? And now the reasoning is that some day you might want to encrypt the main drive, except that you'd never do that on a server because you want most likely it to boot unattended. So I'm gonna go with "don't do boot partitions". Dan

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Wasn't there some reason we had to have a /boot of 1MB or less... way back in the day? Not an Intel thing.... seems like some of the old AXP boxen and old kernels needed something like that.... +5 I usually find it easier to install everything on one partition, and then mount new SAN LUNs as needed :) Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/ iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSgWSDAAoJEMP+wtEOVbcduCIIAIK9x+q7AbCMI0LiN2q8YX34 WRQcb6DwGbZvikxMFw+BnqUc5VnPV8u1GVaHtOC8RBPgQeBVgbR85c+RM0DsS85x PAVTQAHiPq2gIpoailjNHvJZdE9oZpNghiPnjhlnSuC9hgKYCEiw1MuANgtXG8sH TygirRb4AwoDRji+1OuL0oxl/FWlHzpWdSZekC9Ce5vPhQmgsIQ3wq/43Uuvs3SE wxxJfKsXms/uZjNn54LRlptEkXTOJJLGOnYRliyGZLmA+jA4R3VCjuV9jTTwA7xT AqzPOD5dgtmYLr9szKZ4NfZX8CKeE/7u8G3a39iIiGYF4DN+thitp4AM38LPL3Y= =oN2q -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Matt Keys ------------------------------------------------------ +1 I always assign 1gb to /boot. If it's SuSE or a SuSE variant, make it 10GB -- enough to fit the installation dvd(s) on in a pinch. I always recommend a boot partition to simply troubleshooting. Have you ever tried to fix a low level boot problem on a machine with nothing but lvm partitioning? Fun times.

=============================================================== From: Rod ------------------------------------------------------ Mike must have never played with a powerpc apple converted to linux. Talk about weird partition chaining. On Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:44:49 -0500, Mike Harrison wrote:

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ I remember that there was various drive controller hardware, particularly SCSI stuff, that sometimes made booting really hinky. I remember putting the kernel on a floppy, and I also remember a SCSI RAID controller where I ended up booting into DOS and then using LOADLIN.EXE to boot Linux. That machine (I think it was a 90MHz Pentium) ran Flutterby.com for many years. But damn, remote kernel upgrades (especially since they were compiled from scratch because of that RAID controller) were nerve-wracking. So there were weird hardware situations where one might need to do those sorts of shenanigans, though I don't particularly remember 1MB as a relevant size. I know there was a time where we agonized over trying to fit it on a 720k floppy, and I remember working with some weird flash memory configurations just a few years ago where I was juggling compilation options to get the kernel and enough filesystem drivers running in some miniscule amount of built-in flash that I could mount the root filesystem on the relatively spacious SD card we were using for primary storage, because there weren't bootloader drivers for the SD hardware... Dan

=============================================================== From: Jason Brown ------------------------------------------------------ It depends on the setup for me, but do make sure there is plenty of space. As Matt mentioned, LVM can be a good reason to use /boot. Especially pre Grub2. --Jason

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ Sometimes I babysit systems that don't get accessed very often, or can't be accessed very often. And this was an Ubuntu system.. with 900mb, I noticed the Redhat systems I just put up used a 500mb partition, and left it.. I'm not sure (yet) how well Yum cleans up /boot after new kernals. But I'll be babysitting them closer.

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ I like the "big enough to hold an installation/recovery image", I can see where that would be useful, but what I really love about modern Linux servers is those days are rare. I used to be able to spoon feed a bootloader, hand recover bad inodes.. etc.. But it's been a long long time since I had to. If I have good backups, and a slave/second master database server with a good copy of data, I can re-install faster. As for you LVM nightmares.. Sigh.. I let these Redhat Machines do it that way, and I am hoping I don't regret it. A long long time ago I had had such nightmares.

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ Rod: Gumball Mac's runnig Yellow Dog are a distant memory. I might have that distro wrong.. At some point I gave up on exotic hardware/OS combinations. As bad as the Intel/X86/64 Architecture is in theory, in practice it is cheap and stable and fast in enough cases to stop caring. Although I remember a few Sun systems doing floating point math..

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Quoting Dan Lyke : Well, IIRC there was also the fear that having the boot as part of your root partition could cause other problems, but for the life of me, I can't recall what the "other problems" were.

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Quoting Mike Harrison : Redhat / Fedora does a pretty good job of cleaning up after new kernels.

=============================================================== From: Randy Yates ------------------------------------------------------ I'm just curious as to why one would need 1gb for /boot. Are we keeping the last 10 kernels just in case? Or is there another reason I'm missing?

=============================================================== From: wes ------------------------------------------------------ that's the problem I've seen... every time a system update includes a new kernel, it keeps the old one, and never prunes them. -wes

=============================================================== From: Lynn Dixon ------------------------------------------------------ wes, Red Hat does a great job of pruning out old kernels. I manage about 100 or so RHEL5 and RHEL6 machines (even some RHEL4), and all of our machines have 500 meg boot partitions. Some have been around for years, and have seen many kernel updates, and we have never had an issue with /boot getting filled.

=============================================================== From: Rod ------------------------------------------------------ been awhile myself but fitting grub on one of those mini apple partitions was pain. On Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:00:35 -0500, Mike Harrison wrote:

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ Not intentionally, but when a system is set to receive updates, it will add them, and default install on Ubuntu server does not autoremove.. I live in a strange world where some of the servers I help manage are not always accessible, and I must share some responsibilities with others. What we really need, is a dedicated sysadmin... But that's another story. Maybe in next years budget...

=============================================================== From: Billy ------------------------------------------------------ My desktop has a /boot with two rescue images: the initramfs which is a full rescue+X (loading compressed file systems from /boot), and a gentoo install image. All fit in under 250 meg. My main lvm is enciphered which I use a USB stick with all the keys on it. --b