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I want to set up a linux/osx dual boot on a mbp with a shared zfs pool for data and /home. My question then is, if /Users is on a separate partition, does anyone have any recommendations towards how large the osx partition should be?

There're a couple of threads that seem to indicate that it has to be at least 9-10GB (What's the minimum partition size for osx mavericks when dual booting with windows 8?), but this is obviously a bare bones minimum rather than a typical scenario for a normal laptop setup.

I know that I can easily get away with a <5GB /root in linux, but I have no experience with macs. Thanks!

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You're on the right track with 9-10GB if you're doing a barebones OS X install. See the OS X Mavericks requirements. However...

If you're keeping the root /Applications on the same volume as the OS, then you might want to leave additional space if you plan on adding applications to the system. I've never tried to store /Applications on a separate volume from /System (the OS) and /Library (system-wide preferences, support files, etc.), but might be worth a shot if you have time to experiment.

My only concern would be disconnects between core OS X applications and their supporting frameworks. A prime example would be something like "DVD Player."

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  • Decent Applications can be run from anywhere and don't need to be in /Applications - there are exception e.g. Firefox won't update if elsewhere and I suspect anything from the AppStore – mmmmmm May 5 '14 at 21:39
  • @Mark I should have clarified: I've never tried to move the root /Applications folder to another destination. But you're correct: there are plenty of applications that will run from locations other than /Applications. And since Installer looks for a compatible volume when it installs, my guess is you can't run those either. But I could be wrong there too. Never tried. – thankyour May 5 '14 at 21:47
  • Only /Users will be on a separate partition so I was thinking maybe 25-30GB for everything else (Applications, System etc etc). Obviously this question is pretty vague and there's no right answer since everyone's usage is different, but I don't have any reference point for how much space to allocate for additional apps (no games, largest installed package will probably be latex). – user77501 May 6 '14 at 23:24

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