Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

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Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Wed May 07, 2008 3:07 pm

Based on my short time using Linux for the past 15 months there are a few observations I thought I'd share.

The Positives: I've found when using multiple Linux distributions, in my case Mint and Edubuntu, I prefer to have one common user name and ID between the distros due to sharing common data partitions. This eliminates any issues of file ownership. I am me and my files are owned by me, not various versions of me. My data is safe in it's own partitions, completely isolated from any OS.

The Negatives: With the above setup one can not share a /home partition between distros without risking one OS overwriting the settings of the other. This requires keeping /home as part of the main OS's partition, or creating multiple /home partitions. I have gone the former route, and this requires my OS partitions to be about 33 gigs. Currently my Mint partition is 33 gigs with about 6 gigs free for expansion. I'm wondering if I'm suffering any speed decrease with the larger OS partitions.

So what are your thoughts? Let's discuss.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby ed@Mint on Wed May 07, 2008 3:14 pm

You could have a separate /home with one account per distro, have your files in one account and make links in the other accounts to the 'real' folders that holds all your files.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Wed May 07, 2008 6:23 pm

Ed you bring up a good point, and I've thought about that. I just wasn't too keen on having so many partitions. I may end up doing that at some point however. It's a good suggestion, and I appreciate your input. That was more or less the idea of this thread. To get other people's ideas and input, and see what solutions other forum members have come up with for their own systems.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby ed@Mint on Wed May 07, 2008 7:53 pm

Lantesh wrote: I just wasn't too keen on having so many partitions.

As Fred said in another post, it's better to have 2 20Gb partitions rather than 1 40Gb, the smaller the faster...
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Fred on Wed May 07, 2008 8:33 pm

Lantesh,

In Linux it is always best to have a small core system and have your data safely stored on another partition or partitions. Your core system doesn't need to be any bigger than is necessary to hold all your programs and have working space work for your tasks.

If you have your data on data partitions your /home folder only has the user's config files in it. And the folder icons if you have your data partitions mounted there. In that case you don't need a separate /home partition. The small size of the /home folder doesn't justify another partition.

If you have all your data stored in your /home folder then you do need a separate /home partition to isolate your data and keep your core system partition as small as is realistically possible.

All the generally accepted partitioning schemes work towards keeping the core system as small as possible and the most critical files as close to the outside of the disk as practical.

To be quite honest with you, this isn't so much an opinion as it is a fact.

EDIT: At the risk of being too honest, I think your whole approach to your up coming partitioning problem might be flawed. Let me explain. There are some quite knowledgeable people on this forum. I would name a few that I know of but I fear I would leave somebody out. But you need to remember that for the most part this forum is frequented by relatively new users. I think that taking a consensus opinion as to how to partition on this forum, you will be at least as bad off after it is over as you are now. There will always be well meaning people happy to give you their misguided opinions.

I would suggest that you look around the forum and read some of the posts of people that you suspect might know what they are talking about. Find somebody that you think has the knowledge as demonstrated by their previous postings and follow their suggestions. Don't be tempted to mix and match ideas from multiple people. I am reminded of a picture of a horse designed by committee that looked like a 3 humped, 5 legged, dyslexic camel. Pick someone you think has the knowledge and is willing to share it with you, close your eyes and go for it. You really will be better off in the long run.

Fred
Last edited by Fred on Sat May 17, 2008 10:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Wed May 07, 2008 8:52 pm

Well all my personal data such as videos, music, documents and anything else is stored on a completely separate hard drive. The only thing in either of my /home directories is what Linux puts there. I don't put anything there at all. That being said I've still managed to fill about 27 gigs of my Mint partition. It's probably because I've got too many video games installed. Unlike Windows though I don't know how to tell the OS to install applications elsewhere. This is one area I have not learned yet. How can you tell a .deb package to install elsewhere? I should probably make a /games partition. If I did that I could probably cut my OS partition down significantly. Of course the last thing I want to do right now is re-do everything yet again, lol. Anyway thanks for the input guys.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby AK Dave on Fri May 16, 2008 2:52 am

I've recently redone the install(s) on my main machine. It is a laptop with, as most laptops, a single drive. Fred's scheme is logical and sensible.

My old partition scheme had one huuuuuge /home partition. My new partition scheme has /home as part of each distro's install partition. The data on the old /home is still there, and accessable by any OS on the drive. I essentially treat this partition just as if it were an external media drive, only it happens to be internal to the laptop.

The catch in all this, the thing that contributes to your OS bloat, is game installs. You have to have a lot of very bulky games to fill that much space. Maybe you do. But there is still hope for you. You can create a seperate partition for /usr/local, which I'm betting is exactly where these games are installed to. Check and see for yourself.

Oh, and I didn't believe Fred about the "smaller is faster" for core system partitions. He's right. I haven't optimized or preloaded any of the three distros that are installed on this machine, but I bet I shaved 20sec off my boot time.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Fri May 16, 2008 2:01 pm

AK Dave wrote:The catch in all this, the thing that contributes to your OS bloat, is game installs. You have to have a lot of very bulky games to fill that much space. Maybe you do. But there is still hope for you. You can create a seperate partition for /usr/local, which I'm betting is exactly where these games are installed to. Check and see for yourself.


This is a good suggestion. Let me ask you and Fred a question. Are all installed applications located somewhere in the /usr directory? I know all the settings are in /home, but programs themselves I'm assuming are all in /usr. I'm thinking I may need to give that entire directory it's own partition.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Fred on Fri May 16, 2008 3:15 pm

Lantesh,

It is hard to say all, 100%, of your programs are in /user somewhere. But that is the default install location. If you compile programs you, of course, have the option to install them just about anywhere you wish but the norm is in /user. That is why you see one or more separate /user partitions on large systems that host a lot of different users. A University or a commercial hosting system would be examples. A 2,000 Gig / partition would hardly even function, let alone be practical.

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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Fri May 16, 2008 5:57 pm

Well Fred I may end up doing that the next time around. I just wiped Daryna this week to install the Elyssa Beta. If it's not possible to upgrade from the Beta, and I have to reinstall again for the final version I think I'll do it. However it's not like my system is slow or anything, so if the Beta ends up being upgradeable I'll probably let it go for now. And I have to say that for a Beta Elyssa is very stable. I haven't had too many issues. In fact the only issue I'm still having is I can't get the Screenlets program to work. That's it. If I had to I could run this Beta until Mint 6, no joke.
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Fred on Fri May 16, 2008 7:43 pm

Lantesh,

I am glad it is working so well for you. I haven't put Elyssa on my computer yet. I don't have the space without having to get rid of something I am still playing with. Since I am running the KDE version I think I'll wait for that beta to come out before I start chopping stuff out. :-)

Fred
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Lantesh on Sat May 17, 2008 12:22 am

Well Fred it will be worth the wait I'm sure since you are a KDE man. One these days I'll have to try out KDE. My problem is I like Gnome, and I don't want to give it up. I suppose I could install yet another Linux version on my hard drive, but I've already got three OS's including Windows. :shock:
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby Fred on Sat May 17, 2008 12:51 am

Lantesh,

My problem is I like Gnome, and I don't want to give it up.


That's not a problem. If that is what you like, use it. I tend to like KDE better, but that's not to say there is anything wrong with Gnome. It's just a matter of personal preference. Some like blonds, some brunets. :-)

Yeah, I am looking forward to Boo's latest handy work. He did a fantastic job last time. I have no doubt he will do at least as good this time.

Fred
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Re: Partitions and Users - Thoughts and Opinions

Postby grombor on Wed Jun 25, 2008 12:38 pm

Hi all. As of right now I'm running 4 partitions off my drive. An NTFS, Swap, /home and /. I am thinking about expanding my /home partition to take up most of my HD space and add another partition. My question for this is I would like to make this partitions mount point the most common directory in Linux for storing programs. My problem is. I don't know what this directory is. Basically, I am tired of having to re download all my programs and toys. The only thing I'm worried about is this, will all my programs be in one folder, or will there files and resources be spread throughout my entire file system? Thanks for the help.

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