[buug] partitions / using whole disk as single direct filesystem

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Tue Nov 18 17:19:11 PST 2008

Quoting "John de la Garza" <john at jjdev.com>:

> I came across a hard drive a work that was mount like this
> /dev/sda on /mnt/disk1 type ext3 (rw,data=ordered)
> I needed to make setup a hard drive that would work with that type of
> mounting, so I ran fdisk,
> made one partition, then ram mke2fs -j /dev/sdb
> I normally run mke2fs -j on a partition like /dev/sdb1.
> Is it safe to make a file system on a drive with one partition by
> using /dev/sda instead of the individual
> partition?  I'm wondering if this is something I should depend on or not.

Yes, with many operating systems - including Linux, one can use
an entire disk as a single filesystem - in that case you mention,
using the disk device, rather than partition device, the disk isn't
even partitioned, but the entire disk is used as filesystem (
rather than entire partition).

Similar approaches are often commonly used in Linux (and Unix, etc.)
... most notably for systems with large numbers of disks ... but often
rather than using each disk device as a filesystem directly, or
partitioning it, it may instead be used as an md or LVM device - again
using the entire device, no partitioning.

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