Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

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Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby RJVB on Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:54 pm

I had to reinstall the Linux side of my netbook, and decided to experiment with another filesystem, XFS, and a separate /boot partition. I cut off 1Gb from the end of my original linux partition (sda6) for /boot, and set the boot flag on the newly created partition at the very end of the disk (sda7). There's also a 10Gb swap partition, sda5.

I have now gone through the install steps twice, picking sda6 for /, sda7 under ext3 for /boot and sda5 as swap, and selecting /dev/sda for grub installation. Both times I left one the install seemed to run OK, and both times I came back to just the desktop, i.e. the install application had quit. Given there was over 2Gb on /target I tried rebooting, which dumped me in grub's rescue mode both times.

I'm installing from the LMDE Cinnamon 64 bit ISO which I "burned" to an SD card (FAT32 format) using unetbootin. My harddisk also has Win7 on it (inaccessible for now :? ), so there are 3 (primary) partitions dedicated to that (sda3 being C:) and then there's sda4 that contains the aforementioned swap, root and boot partitions.

I'll continue tomorrow attempting first to use ext4 for / in hope that'll at least get me a working machine again, but I wonder if the fact I'm using XFS really is the issue.

A console-based installation procedure might at least give some feedback on what goes wrong, or where... is there one?
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby cwsnyder on Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:14 pm

I don't think just having /boot as your SOLE, ONLY Linux readable executable partition will work. I think you need / as ext, NTFS, or Reiser partition type or any other bootable partition to boot properly. I'm not an expert, and you might be able to use /usr, /bin, /etc, /tmp, and /var to any kernel recognizable filesystem type, but I am fairly sure that up until the kernel is loaded, only ext type filesystem types or encapsulated ext filesystem types.
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby RJVB on Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:01 pm

You may be right, but in that case I wonder why the installer offers to format (specific) target partitions with unsupported filesystems, without as much as a warning.

Also, the installation process shouldn't crash because of it; it runs in an environment that does support xfs.

Just for kicks, I'm now following the instructions on https://github.com/zfsonlinux/pkg-zfs/w ... Filesystem, in a VM O:-)
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby cwsnyder on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:24 pm

I am not a file system expert, I am going by what I recall reading. What I recall is what I reported. I also remember 'fully encrypted' file systems have had reported errors which may have been fixed by this time, but at the time you could encrypt your /home and /var folders/partitions, but if you encrypted /etc, /bin, /boot, or /sbin, the results were unpredictable and often resulted in kernel panic.
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby RJVB on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:04 pm

A bit of pudding, erm, proof:

Code: Select all
Linux debSim36 3.10-2-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.10.5-1 (2013-08-07) x86_64 GNU/Linux


Code: Select all
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
udev on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,relatime,size=10240k,nr_inodes=191943,mode=755)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,size=154252k,mode=755)
/dev/disk/by-uuid/c6054d59-cc02-4568-8a18-00286cb15573 on / type xfs (rw,noatime,nodiratime,attr2,inode64,noquota)
tmpfs on /run/lock type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,size=5120k)
tmpfs on /run/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,size=936620k)
fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw,relatime)
/dev/sdb1 on /boot type ext3 (rw,noatime,nodiratime,errors=remount-ro,user_xattr,acl,barrier=1,data=ordered)
rpc_pipefs on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw,relatime)
binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)


Code: Select all
Filesystem     Type      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdc1      xfs        20G   11G  9.3G  54% /
udev           devtmpfs   10M     0   10M   0% /dev
tmpfs          tmpfs     151M  812K  150M   1% /run
tmpfs          tmpfs     5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs          tmpfs     915M   76K  915M   1% /run/shm
/dev/sdb1      ext3      246M   39M  195M  17% /boot


To achieve this, I created a new "disk" in VirtualBox, formatted it as xfs and cloned my root partition onto it. Then the recipe is rather simple:
Code: Select all
> mount <xfs-device> /mnt
> rsync -aAXv /* "${1}" --exclude={/dev,/proc,/sys,/tmp/*,/run/*,/mnt/*,/media/*,/lost+found,/home/*/.gvfs,/var/lib/swapspace,/var/tmp}
> mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
> mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc
> mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
> mount --bind /boot /mnt/boot

> chroot /mnt /bin/bash --login
> # edit /etc/fstab so that the right partition gets mounted onto '/'
> # edit /boot/grub/grub.cfg to add an entry for the new xfs partition, of course with insmod xfs
> update-initramfs -u -k all    # crucial!
> grub-update --recheck <xfs-device>
> grub-update --recheck <boot-device>   
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby cwsnyder on Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:11 am

Congratulations! Hope no later bugs show up to spoil the pudding! :wink:
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Re: Installing to XFS root partition with separate /boot?

Postby RJVB on Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:46 am

Nope, except that my xfs partition not-so-magically evolved:

Code: Select all
2.11_debZim36_4610# df -aT
Filesystem     Type        1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
rootfs         rootfs       26318720  11444736  14873984  44% /
sysfs          sysfs               0         0         0    - /sys
proc           proc                0         0         0    - /proc
udev           devtmpfs        10240         0     10240   0% /dev
devpts         devpts              0         0         0    - /dev/pts
tmpfs          tmpfs          206068       924    205144   1% /run
LMDE           zfs          26318720  11444736  14873984  44% /
tmpfs          tmpfs            5120         0      5120   0% /run/lock
tmpfs          tmpfs         1040260        76   1040184   1% /run/shm
fusectl        fusectl             0         0         0    - /sys/fs/fuse/connections
/dev/sdc1      ext3           252879     65473    174350  28% /boot
rpc_pipefs     rpc_pipefs          0         0         0    - /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs
binfmt_misc    binfmt_misc         0         0         0    - /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc
none           vboxsf      104857600  85515968  19341632  82% /media/sf_Downloads


8)

I must say, between xfs and zfs, the performance difference is amazing!
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