The /etc/fstab File in Software

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The /etc/fstab File
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As mentioned earlier, /etc/fstab is a configuration file that mount can use This file contains a list of all partitions known to the system During the boot process, this list is read and the items in it are automatically mounted with the options specified therein Here s the format of entries in the /etc/fstab file:
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/dev/device /dir/to/mount fstype Parameters fs_freq fs_passno
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Following is a sample /etc/fstab file:
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1) /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 / 2) LABEL=/boot /boot 3) devpts /dev/pts 4) tmpfs /dev/shm 5) /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol02 /home 6) proc /proc 7) sysfs /sys 8) /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol03 /tmp 9) /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol01 swap 10) /dev/sr0 /media/cdrom ext3 ext3 Devpts tmpfs ext3 proc sysfs ext3 swap auto defaults defaults gid=5,mode=620 defaults defaults defaults defaults defaults defaults user,noauto,exec 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0
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Let s take a look at some of the entries in the /etc/fstab file that haven t yet been discussed Please note that line numbers have been added to the preceding output to aid readability
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Line 1 The first entry in our sample /etc/fstab file is the entry for the root volume The first column shows the device that houses the file system, ie, the /dev/VolGroup00/ LogVol00 logical volume (more on volumes later on) The second column shows the mount point, ie, the / directory The third column shows the file system type, ie, ext3 in this case The fourth column shows the options with which the file system should be mounted only the default options are required in this case The fifth field is used by the dump utility (a simple backup tool) to determine which file systems need to be backed up And the sixth and final field is used by the fsck program to determine if the file system needs to be checked and also to determine the order in which the checks are done Line 2 The next entry in our sample file is the /boot mount point The first field of this entry shows the device in this case, it points to any device with the /boot label The other fields mean basically the same thing as the field for the root mount point discussed previously In the case of the /boot mount point, you might notice that the field for the device looks a little different from the usual /dev/<path-to-device> convention The use of labels helps to hide the actual device (partition) that the file system is being mounted from The device has been replaced with a token that looks like the following: LABEL=/boot During the initial installation, the partitioning program of the installer automatically set the label on the partition Upon bootup, the system scans the partition tables and looks for these labels This is especially useful when Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) disks are being used Typically, SCSI has a set SCSI ID Using labels allows you to move the disk around and change the SCSI ID, and the system will still know how to mount the file system even though the device might have changed, for example, from /dev/sda10 to /dev/sdb10 (see the section Traditional Disk- and Partition-Naming Conventions further on) Line 4 Next comes the tmpfs file system, also known as a virtual memory (VM) file system It uses both the system random access memory (RAM) and swap area It is not a typical block device because it does not exist on top of an underlying block device; it sits directly on top of VM It is used to request pages from the VM subsystem to store files The first field tmpfs shows that this entry deals with a VM and, as such, is not associated with any regular UNIX/Linux device file The second entry shows the mount point, /dev/shm The third field shows the file system type, ie, tmpfs The fourth field shows that this file system should be mounted with the default options The fifth and sixth fields have the same meanings as the ones for the previous entries discussed Note especially that the values are zero in this case, which makes perfect sense, because there is no reason to run a dump on a temporary file system at bootup and there is also no reason to run fsck on it, since it does not contain an ext2/3-type file system Line 6 The next notable entry is for the proc-type file system Information concerning the system processes (hence the abbreviation proc) are dynamically maintained in this file system The proc in the first field of the proc entry in the /etc/fstab file has the same implication as that of the tmpfs file system entry The proc file system is a special file
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