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I have installed Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop on a laptop. I wanted to create separate partitions for each main directory in the default filesystem of Ubuntu. For these I have my ballbark estimate of how much space they need, but I am new to the `/srv' directory.

Which purposes does it serve in the first place? The description in man hier (thanks to https://askubuntu.com/a/944/446253)

/srv   This directory contains site-specific data that is served by this system.

is pretty generic. Any examples? What are the typical volumes of the data stored there? How quickly should I expect that it fills up?

Any tip that helps guide intuition much appreciated.

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In most cases it will contain very little; my own system has ftp data there but if you don't use ftp or other programs that require or use it (many allow configuration to change to be other places), it'll remain a empty directory.

It's software specific as far as I know. ftp is the only thing I see that uses (or more likely once upon a time used it) on my desktop.

I would not create a separate partition for /srv on a desktop.

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More information on the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard is available from Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_Hierarchy_Standard or from the Linux Foundation at https://wiki.linuxfoundation.org/lsb/fhs

From https://refspecs.linuxfoundation.org/FHS_3.0/fhs/ch03s17.html :

This main purpose of specifying this is so that users may find the location of the data files for a particular service, and so that services which require a single tree for readonly data, writable data and scripts (such as cgi scripts) can be reasonably placed. Data that is only of interest to a specific user should go in that users' home directory. If the directory and file structure of the data is not exposed to consumers, it should go in /var/lib.

The methodology used to name subdirectories of /srv is unspecified as there is currently no consensus on how this should be done. One method for structuring data under /srv is by protocol, eg. ftp, rsync, www, and cvs. On large systems it can be useful to structure /srv by administrative context, such as /srv/physics/www, /srv/compsci/cvs, etc. This setup will differ from host to host.

Therefore, no program should rely on a specific subdirectory structure of /srv existing or data necessarily being stored in /srv. However /srv should always exist on FHS compliant systems and should be used as the default location for such data.

Distributions must take care not to remove locally placed files in these directories without administrator permission.

This is where you put the (static?) data for your servers, http, ftp, etc ....

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