Explain the disk partition descriptors
man page about
gpart add is:
index : "The index in the partition table at which the new partition is to be placed. The index determines the name of the device special file used to represent the partition."
Questions: So by representative does this mean that it is for human identification? what is a special file? What exactly is this for?
label : "The label attached to the partition. This option is only valid when used on partitioning schemes that support partition labels."
Questions: Isn't the index also attached to the partition, as in each partition has an index and a label? How is this different? The next line gives a special case, but again there is no explanation or examples of what this is actually for.
My guess is that a partition label gives the format of the particular partition. Or is that type?
type no explanation given. It doesn't actually give an explanation for what it is in the
add subsection nor in the
PARTITION subsection. I am able to deduce from past experience formatting disks that type will define the format of my disk partition. format, from my personal experience, determines the compression, access methods, and read/write behavior of that particular partition. When considering a format it is important to consider a number of factors (speed, recoverability, compatibility).
Related SO answers
I found this SO explanation (What is the difference between a partition name and a partition label?) about the difference between label and name, which is quite helpful.
I think it would be nice to succinctly give an expalanation for each of the available options in gpart add that explain disk labelling and description, as someone with little or no knowledge of disk management will get lost with the man page and the at least the first 3 pages of internet searches.
Criteria for best answer:
give an improved explanation for each partition descriptor (label, name, type, index, and flag). 1. Explaining reason for being (ex: label is used by intramfs at boottime to distinguish mounted devices)
2. Explaining what to consider when choosing (fat16 and fat32 msdosfs file systems are good for compatibility with windows systems, ext4 has some compatibility issues with windows but is good for data integrity (as it has journaling).