Partitioning for Linux Mint - solved

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Partitioning for Linux Mint - solved

Postby jeremiah2329 on Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:41 pm

I am about to reinstall Linux on a new hard drive. (I had previously installed on an 80 gb drive and then I found a 160 gb that I had and decided to use that.) On the first install I just let the installer do the partitioning. Since then a friend at work recommended the following 4 partition scheme:

/boot - 100-500 mb
/ (root) - ~80 gb
/home - ~remainder of drive
/swap - 2 gb (twice the memory and I have 1 gb of memory)

What are the advantages/disadvantages of this approach?
Are there any reasons to not do this and go with the approach?
I noticed that the installer just goes with one giant partition and then puts swap in an extended partition of about 1.26 gb on the system I have at work. Is there a particular advantage to using an extended partition for swap?

Thanks for your help.
Last edited by jeremiah2329 on Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby locutus on Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:49 pm

10 gig /root is plenty, you'll never even fill that. /home make at least 30Gb, use the rest as storage for media files, backups, other distros, whatever.

The rational behind separating /root and /home is that when it's time to upgrade you just install over the old /root and make sure that "preserve /home" or some such message is checked so that your Firefox bookmarks (as just one of many examples) remain intact.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:15 pm

jeremiah2329,

Greetings and salutations,

Partitioning is a very contentious issue in Linux. If you ask 10 people, you will quite likely get 10 different answers. To be honest, it has a lot to do with what you want to do with the install. The partitioning for a server system is just not appropriate for a desktop, and visa versa. If you search the forum you will find lots of information on partitioning.

I will give you some suggestions for a desktop that you don't plan on using as a development work station but just a general purpose desktop.

And for everybody else. I have absolutely no intention of heatedly debating the pros and cons of partitioning in this thread. :-)

/boot ext2 250 MB
/swap swap 2 Gig.
/ (root) ext3 12 Gig.
/home ext3 6 Gig.
/home/your_username/My_Data ext3 30 Gig.

Save the rest for later expansion.

What I like about this is you keep your data completely isolated from your Linux install. You can always create another partition and mount it in /My_Data, if you need more space. Or an on-disk backup partition can be created and mounted in /home if you wish. A separate /boot partition isn't really necessary but does have some advantages.

If you want a simpler set up. The size of the /home partition can be adjusted according to your needs. Just remember, the smaller the partition, the faster it is. Speed wise it is better to have several small partitions rather than one large one.

/swap swap 2 Gig.
/ (root) ext3 12 Gig.
/home ext3 30 Gig.

Save the rest for later expansion.

I always try to keep the swap partition and the Linux kernel, which is located in /boot, at the top of the partition table because that is the fastest part of the hard disk.

Hope this helps you.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:34 pm

jeremiah2329

locutus wrote:
10 gig /root is plenty, you'll never even fill that. /home make at least 30Gb, use the rest as storage for media files, backups, other distros, whatever.


locutus is just as correct here as I am. There are no hard fast rules that must be followed. Only opinions based on ones' intended use and past experiences.

Fred
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby jeremiah2329 on Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:43 am

Thanks for all the good advice! I had a few follow up questions for clarification.

/home ext3 6 Gig.
/home/your_username/My_Data ext3 30 Gig.


What is the "/home" partition used for vs. the "/home/your_username/My_Data" partition?

Am I correct that the"/home/your_username/My_Data" is called the mount point?

You can always create another partition and mount it in /My_Data


When you mount one partition inside another, what does that do? Does Linux see it as one large partition?

Thanks again for the help.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:58 pm

jeremiah2329,

Ok... Let me try to clarify a bit. This is one of the hardest concepts that long term Windows users have to unlearn when they come to Linux/Unix, so don't feel bad. You have to stop thinking in terms of C drive, D drive, etc.

Everything in Linux is part of "the" file system. / (root) and the folders in it, constitutes the entire system. The folders in Linux/Unix have evolved over time, (Unix was around when Bill Gates was still using a nipple), and by convention each folder has a specific use. For example; /user contains all the program binaries that the users use. /boot contains all the files needed to boot the system and the Linux kernel. /var is the area that is used as a temporary work and holding area for the kernel. /home is where all the users of the system store their individual configuration files and store their data. Remember Linux/Unix was designed as a multiuser system. That's not all of the folders of course, but that gives you an idea of what I am talking about.

This file system is not tied to any storage media until it is "mounted." The entire file system, (/ (root) remember?), can be mounted to one local hard drive or split up over several hard drives or even several machines all over the network. This method gives a tremendous amount of flexibility to the organization of the system.

You can mount a drive partition to any of the folders in the file system. Not only to the main folders of the default system but also to any folder that is in the system. Even folders you create.

Now to your questions.

1) /home is the folder that all the users of the system use for their personal stuff. So if you look in /home you would find a folder for each user. Fred, Denise, Sarah, Catherine, Amy; as an example. If you open one of those folders you would find configuration files for their desktop, their data folders; pictures, documents, etc. Any folder can be mounted to a partition. So you could have a separate partition for each type of date if you wish to. Linux only sees the file system. After partitions are mounted to folders, it makes no difference what combinations of drives and partitions are being used.

2) Yes "/home/your_username/My_Data" would be a mount point in the file system, If you have created a folder in your /home/fred directory called "My_Data. Of course you can call that folder you create anything you wish as long as you mount it that way.

3) Linux does not see drives or partitions. It only sees the file system. You can construct and tie that file system either in whole or in part to any storage you wish, within reason. It can be made as simple or as complicated as your needs and desires require.

The advantage I was trying to give you with the way I showed you was to keep your personal data independent of your operating system. The way I showed you, you could destroy your system and still have your data intact on its own separate partition or partitions, as the case may be.

I hope this helps you.

Fred

EDIT: If you want to see what my main set-up looks like, you can look at the thread below. Different from what I was suggesting, but I have different needs. Just shows what flexibility Linux has.

viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10043&start=30
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby MagnusB on Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:04 pm

That was a sane partition scheme Fred, you completely bypass the issues with cleaning out setting if you use a mount point within your home folder. I might need to use that myself, this way I can use my 160GB harddrive to it's full extent.
And a root partition should be max at 10 GB, I doubt you manage to install enough software to really use that much as well...
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby jeremiah2329 on Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:07 am

Fred:
Thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough answer. Now I just have to absorb it all and then put it into practice!
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:32 am

I am glad this was helpful to you. :-)

Once you grasp the concept of binding or mounting partitions to folders you see that it opens up all kinds of possibilities. You can actually mount the same partition to more than one folder. What you can't do is mount more than one partition to a given folder.

Fred

EDIT: Just remember, Linux neither knows nor cares where something is physically located. It only cares what it is called in the file system.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:42 pm

MagnusB,

I am also glad it was helpful for you. There are so many ways of doing things in Linux. Sometimes I'll read something that I haven't seen done before and say to myself, "it is so obvious, why didn't I think of that"?

That's the beauty. We are playing with a set of Tinker Toys. Collectively, we can do almost anything. :-)

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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby MagnusB on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:12 pm

Yeah, I'll try it out once OpenSuSE 11 Beta is out, I'll probably repartition my entire harddrive for that, get cracking on testing if it still has those issues I have with 10.3 :)
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:03 pm

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. If you are thinking about using something like I did for multiple distros, I would suggest that you use the same user name for all the distros. This way you won't have any problems with permissions. If this isn't practical you will need to modify the permissions so the folders shared between distros can be read and written to by all the user names, if that is your wish.

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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby atlef on Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:39 am

Fred wrote:Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. If you are thinking about using something like I did for multiple distros, I would suggest that you use the same user name for all the distros. This way you won't have any problems with permissions. If this isn't practical you will need to modify the permissions so the folders shared between distros can be read and written to by all the user names, if that is your wish.

Fred


Do not use the same username. wrote:How do you share a /home partition between distros If you want to use the *same* username (e.g. "joe-user") then you'd have to make sure that the distros are *very similar* but not *too similar* ... For example you probably could share your /home between a new Gutsy installation and a Fluxbuntu installation ... whatever settings these two write into your /home probably won't get into each other's way and you would have access to all your movies, music etc. from both distros and you could try and find out which one you like better.

Sharing /home between e.g. OpenSUSE and Kubuntu most likely will *NOT* work ... both have KDE and very very specific settings, so chances are that the two distros will overwrite each other's settings everytime you do something.

Workaround: Use two different usernames but the same user ID's (e.g. 1000). You could have one user for SUSE (e.g. "joe-suse") and one user for Kubuntu (e.g. "joe-kubuntu"), and you make sure that both accounts in both distros get the same "uid" ... which defaults to 1000 these days if I am not mistaken. After both distros are successfully installed you'd have two directories in your /home:
/home/joe-suse
/home/joe-kubuntu

But because the same UID number is used --and that's what matters on the filesystem level-- you'd have full access to the other folder without risking to overwrite anything by accident or by merely using the other distro (because each distro would write its settings into its own folder e.g. the different KDE settings would not collide ...)


From this thread in ubuntuforums.

Hope this makes you aware of the problems involved in having the same username.

atlef.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:53 am

atlef,

I am well aware of at least many of the problems related to various methods of sharing /home. Been there, done that, got the bruises to prove it. :-)

You probably need to reread the thread and follow the link to my multi-distro setup. I am not sharing /home between distros. I am talking about a method of mounting the same data partitions within multiple homes of multiple distros, or even multiple times in the same distro.

Fred
Last edited by Fred on Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby McLovin on Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:10 pm

Fred wrote:jeremiah2329,

Greetings and salutations,
Fred

Rufus!!!!!!!!
EAS Voice Over Guy wrote:The following is a joke directed towards Fred, this is only a joke

Fred wrote:And for everybody else. I have absolutely no intention of heatedly debating the pros and cons of partitioning in this thread. :-)

/boot ext2 250 MB
/swap swap 2 Gig.
/ (root) ext3 12 Gig.
/home ext3 6 Gig.
/home/your_username/My_Data ext3 30 Gig.

Save the rest for later expansion.

Fred

You see, I never use a separate boot partition, I just don't see the need as I hose my system at least once a month. Why Fred, do you feel the need for so many partitions? I would like to hear you response........... :lol: :lol:
(Debate?)
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby MagnusB on Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:29 pm

atlef wrote:
Fred wrote:Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. If you are thinking about using something like I did for multiple distros, I would suggest that you use the same user name for all the distros. This way you won't have any problems with permissions. If this isn't practical you will need to modify the permissions so the folders shared between distros can be read and written to by all the user names, if that is your wish.

Fred


Do not use the same username. wrote:How do you share a /home partition between distros If you want to use the *same* username (e.g. "joe-user") then you'd have to make sure that the distros are *very similar* but not *too similar* ... For example you probably could share your /home between a new Gutsy installation and a Fluxbuntu installation ... whatever settings these two write into your /home probably won't get into each other's way and you would have access to all your movies, music etc. from both distros and you could try and find out which one you like better.

Sharing /home between e.g. OpenSUSE and Kubuntu most likely will *NOT* work ... both have KDE and very very specific settings, so chances are that the two distros will overwrite each other's settings everytime you do something.

Workaround: Use two different usernames but the same user ID's (e.g. 1000). You could have one user for SUSE (e.g. "joe-suse") and one user for Kubuntu (e.g. "joe-kubuntu"), and you make sure that both accounts in both distros get the same "uid" ... which defaults to 1000 these days if I am not mistaken. After both distros are successfully installed you'd have two directories in your /home:
/home/joe-suse
/home/joe-kubuntu

But because the same UID number is used --and that's what matters on the filesystem level-- you'd have full access to the other folder without risking to overwrite anything by accident or by merely using the other distro (because each distro would write its settings into its own folder e.g. the different KDE settings would not collide ...)


From this thread in ubuntuforums.

Hope this makes you aware of the problems involved in having the same username.

atlef.

Fred suggested to mount the shared partition in a folder in the home folder, so the actual /home/username will be one seperate partitions, just one folder will contain the shared partition, that is why I liked his suggestion, this way you'll avoid the usual issues with mounting a partition at /home. Very sane scheme indeed, I am just po'ed at Fred cause I didn't think of that my self...
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby atlef on Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:48 pm

Faen og..............

I see now that I did not read the complete thread, and I am sorry for that. Still it needs to be made absolutely clear, that sharing username under the same /home/username is not recommended. Although Fred's setup indeed does work.

Once again, sorry for the misunderstanding Fred.

atlef.

Hei MagnusB, det er alltid fint å se at vi ikke er alene. :)
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:23 am

atlef,

No problem at all. I wish I had a dollar for every time I had misread something, or thought I read something that wasn't really there. I would be a rich man indeed! :-)


MagnusB,

Thanks, I believe you did a better job of clarifying what I was doing than I did. :-) I would rather you not be po'ed at me so if anybody asks, I'll be sure to tell them that you taught me that trick. The credit is all yours. :-)

What if they don't like it, you want the blame too? Or is that mine? lol

Fred
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby MagnusB on Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:08 am

Nah, you came with the scheme Fred, but I was so damn easy it was really right in front of me all the time...
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Re: Partitioning for Linux Mint

Postby Fred on Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:45 pm

McLovin,

lol... nice post. A little humor never hurt anyone. :-)

Debate? no, but I will give you my reasons for /boot... such as they are. :-)

In most cases there isn't a really good reason anymore for using a /boot partition. There used to be, but with modern equipment, most of those reasons have been reduced to "not very important."

Let me explain. It used to be that you couldn't boot from more than a few MB from the top of the partition table, but that reason has pretty much been overcome.

Also, hard drives used to be one large diameter platter spinning at a rather low rpm, instead of several small diameter platers spinning at a high rpm. If you have a 3 inch platter, accessing the data at the 3 inch position is about 3 times as fast as accessing it at the 1 inch position. A small /boot partition and swap partition on the outside of the platter or at the top of the partition table, made the system faster to boot and more responsive when swap was used. And it still does, it just isn't as noticeable as it once was. :-)

Several things to keep in mind:

1) A small partition is faster to access than a larger partition.

2) The closer to the outside of the disk or top of the partition table the partition is, the faster it is.

3) If you have 2 or more hard disks, a small swap partition on each disk will be much, much faster for multiple reasons, than one larger swap partition on one disk.

4) /Boot is where the kernel is. It is almost never written to so it isn't necessary or beneficial to use a journaling file system with its' additional overhead. /boot partitions can and should be ext2.

I guess the best reason I can give you is that it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks, and old habits are hard to break. :-)

Fred
Last edited by Fred on Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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