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Re: Swap

On Mar 17, 2005, at 4:48 AM, Michael wrote:

How crucial is a swap partition?

It is not crucial for it to be a separate partition. Apple, for instance, does not, by default - they use space on the boot disk instead. However - if you don't, and if the partition you share with something else begins to become full or excessively fragmented, VERY strange things start to happen! Users frequently had this experience using the early versions of OS-X (partially because hard disks provided were much smaller then).

This is common to ALL versions of Unix, as far as I know.

Personally, I have ALWAYS used a separate partition, and I was gratified to find that I never encountered any of the strange problems reported by people who left OS-X in its default configuration.

As to the question of whether you need a swap partition at all, given that you have a lot of memory, obviously you could use a RAM disk for the purpose. Whether it would be faster is problematical. I seem to remember somebody tried it - on NetBSD I think - and it didn't speed things up noticably.

There are many versions of Unix that have an "embedded" configuration, in which there is often no disk drive. I don't know whether they use a RAM disk or just do without.

Dan Killoran

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