Do not waste my hard disk!

I recently acquired an 2 TB hard disk drive, which I immediately formatted with ext4. Given that mkfs.ext4 defaults to 5% reserved blocks for too, that amounts to 100 GB of lost* space.

Wow. 100 GB. On a desktop machine. For root.

While mkfs belongs to e2fsprogs, I think this requires action on the distributions side. Let me explain.

If you are installing a server, 5% makes perfect sense: there are a lot of logfiles, updates, potential break-ins and other disasters-to-happen for which root-reserved space will be preciously required. 5% is a good choice here. If 5% is too much (or too little), it will not matter: any decent sysadmin knows mkfs.ext4 -m and tune2fs -m (if you don’t, Martin will teach you).

On the other hand, if you are installing Ubuntu on your laptop, you probably don’t know shit about mkfs, tune2fs, 5%, etc. You only know by removing Windows and installing Linux you’ve magically lost 100GB of space. Vanished.

So here is my request to Linux distributions: when installing a distribution in “desktop profile” (i. e. not Debian in “server” profile, RHEL, SLES, Ubuntu Server, etc), DO NOT RESERVE 5% to root. 100 or 200 MEGABYTES should be more than enough.

* Yes, I know it’s not really “lost” but just “unusable by normal users” but that technicality doesn’t matter to 99% of the people out there.

I have started a new series in BehindKDE, the Platforms series. In this series, I will talk with developers of all the platforms KDE is available for: Windows, Mac, BSD, Solaris, Haiku (!), etc. Linux will be included in the form of KDE packagers for several distributions.

The first interview has just been published, it’s a long conversation with Patrick Spendrin (SaroEngels) about KDE on Windows, the technology they (we :-) ) are using, its current state and the challenges KDE faces on Windows.

I’m starting contacts with other developers for the next 2-3 interviews. If you want to make a proposal (a developer you’d like to have interviewed, questions you’d ask, etc), please add a comment to this blog post, or contact me by e-mail or IRC.