Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

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Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:07 am

Hi, I'm a newbie, but I've been playing around with various distros on live CD and have decided that I want to dual-boot Mint on this new XP Pro laptop I got (Asus Z84J, 2 GB, T7200 2 GHz processor, 200 GB 7200 RPM, Intel 4965agn wireless, NVidia Go 7700). The main reason I'm keeping XP is that I'm a musician, and the recording program I prefer is not available on Linux. Most of the other stuff I do is just office and Web, and Mozilla and OO on Mint ought to work well enough for that, I'd think. I haven't done the Mint install yet, but I will shortly, and I wanted to try and resolve a couple of questions before I do.

So, to the questions.

1. In playing around with Compiz on the various distros, I find I love the eye candy. Call me shallow, but there it is. Yet there seem to be some posts in which Compiz doesn't play nice with NVidia. Is there some way I can have Compiz, or something equivalent, and yet not have trouble with my NVidia card? Is it a matter of just using generic drivers and not using Envy to install the proprietary NVidia drivers? Or will I be OK either way?

2. Although I'm keeping Windows for audio recording for now, in the future I may be interested in exploring Linux audio, perhaps with something like Ubuntu Studio. But I don't want to do this right now. Is there any percentage in reserving some space and partitions for an audio distro right now, when I do the Mint install (is that even possible?)? Would that make subsequent addition of an audio distro easier? Or is it, rather, more sensible just to cross that bridge when I come to it? That is, does it make more sense just to wait until I know for sure whether I want to try Linux audio, and then repartition at that time?

I ask because the idea of repartitioning still freaks me out a little, and I'm trying to avoid as much trouble as I can.

[Edited subject line because I do in fact know how to spell "partitioning."]

Thanks for any help.
Last edited by rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paritioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby muskratmx on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:03 am

I can't help you with the frist question, I don't use compiz, nor do I have a nvidia card. True nvidia cards are to best choice for Linux, but they can be made to work. I'm sure there's some others on this board that can help with that question.

As for partitioning, there really is no need to fear it, and with 200 gb, you have more than enough space.

One word of advice, don't forget to run defrag and scandisk in windows before you repartition the drive, that lessens the chance of problems.

Partitoning is a very personal subject, you can ask ten people, and get ten opions, If I was in your shoes, I'd resize, windows XP, shrinking it down to the desired size. Probably giving windows 15 gb more than it's currently using. Taking the rest and dividing it into 6 partions.

One fat32 or ntfs partion for file sharing between Linux and Windows
(fat32 if I didn't need to deal with huge files 2 to 4 gb, other wise ntfs)
Then a /home partition for using in multiple Linux installs.
and a swap partition, usually twice the size of your memory.
Then I'd create, 3 partitions for installing 3 separate linux distros.

That's me, but once again I'm not in your shoes. I have no idea how much space your music recordings consume. You might not have the space. Each Linux distro uses 3 to 8 gb of space depending on how many packages you install. I usually give them 15 to 20 gb partitons and have never run out of /root space. Your /home should be as large as you can spare, I like to have at 40 gb.
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Re: Paritioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby Husse on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:11 am

There is no special problems with nvidia and compiz - but there are problems with compiz :) Mind you it's still a beta, not fully developed (but better than the Vista equivalent - Aeroglass?)
So when you've installed the first thing is to install better video drivers. That's best done with Envy.
After that you can turn on Compiz (the visual effects tab in Appearances)
In the main gnome edition there's no configuration as the tool for that (ccsm Compiz config manager)
makes logging out and back in hard to impossible, but for one user it's OK
As for partitioning you have a pretty large disk.
Reserve 1 GB for swap (you can't use more) and about 8 GB for root (and make an extra 8GB partition for upcoming use when you're at it). Then in your case perhaps a /home partition of some 20 GB and the rest of the disk to share between Linux and XP. Mint has a good support for NTFS And format the Linux partitions as ext3 (except the swap :))
A separate /home partition makes reinstalling really easy - most of your settings for programs are preserved. I've reinstalled and had every program (almost) back as I want them in less than two hours
I see another answer has arrived before I was ready - only one comment to it - don't use fat32, waist of space as clusters get really big in big partitions
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Re: Paritioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby stevenofnine on Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:39 pm

You needn't leave any space. You'll always be able to use a partitioning tool to resize and generate new partitions. Now, that can certianly take some time, hors maybe, if you're a very large partition with a lot of data. but it avoids having 10-20 GB of space you can't use because you're leaving it blank.

Also, just about every distro now has ntfs-3g, or tools for reading and writing to ntfs file systems. So, avoid FAT32 altogether if I were you.

Also, you can now read Linux file systems from Windows, using:

http://www.fs-driver.org/

So... you're golden.
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Re: Paritioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:53 pm

Thanks to both of you for the prompt and helpful advice.

FWIW, I'll be doing the bulk of my music recording to an external HDD (eSATA if I can, USB or FW if I can't). So I won't be too worried about leaving space on the primary drive for audio files (which can build up quickly, as you know).

If I may presume a little further: stevenofnine, you mentioned leaving three extra partitions for three more Linux distros. Do you only need one other partition for each new distro? This suggests that new distros can share the swap file, and maybe the /home partition too? Is that correct or have I misunderstood?

Thanks.
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby McLovin on Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:39 pm

Also to further the answer on audio tools, you can install all the UbuntuStudio apps in Mint, you do not need to install another OS to get them, they are readily available in the repos. So don't worry about setting aside space for another os just to get the UbuntuStudio apps.
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby muskratmx on Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:58 pm

This suggests that new distros can share the swap file, and maybe the /home partition too? Is that correct or have I misunderstood?

Yes you have understood correctly.

Like I said you get different oppions on partition sizes and formats, I stay way clear of ntfs, those other boys tell you to stay clear of fat32. So it's got to be your call. I have my reasons, some of which is based on my experience, the rest based on my needs. I also like a little more than 8gb for root. But that's me.

As for different distros using the same swap, and home. I currently have six unrelated distros running that way. There is only a couple of things you should understand about it.

If it's a laptop, and you use hibernate, you must reboot into that os next time, or it could cause file corruption. That's using swap on multiple distros. At least thats my experience, there might be a work around for that.

As for /home each distro must have it's unique user. Such as steve, mcsteve, and stevemc. So that they don't sqaush each others config files. With six distros installed, I have six users in my /home.

One last note, each distro install will require you to format the root and swap at time of installation, that's fine, just don't change the format of said root, form lets say ext3 to some other, or it won't mount in the other distros without fixing it. But don't format /home again after the first install, or you'll lose your home on all the other installs.
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby Fred on Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:22 pm

muskratmx wrote:
As for /home each distro must have it's unique user. Such as steve, mcsteve, and stevemc. So that they don't sqaush each others config files. With six distros installed, I have six users in my /home.


This is an important point to remember. Don't try to use the same user name or you will most certainly have a mess if attempting to share /home.

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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:44 pm

You guys rock. IME with forums, it's not common to get this much good, well-focused help so promptly.

I think I'm going to like it in Minty Land....
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:23 pm

McLovin wrote:Also to further the answer on audio tools, you can install all the UbuntuStudio apps in Mint, you do not need to install another OS to get them, they are readily available in the repos. So don't worry about setting aside space for another os just to get the UbuntuStudio apps.


[Guinness commercial] Brilliant! [/Guinness commercial]

My only thought about that is, is there a kernel issue involved? I seem to remember that Ubuntu Studio uses a special low-latency or real-time kernel. This is desirable for music, of course, because latency is the bugbear of all computer recording. But I've heard that messing with the kernel can cause problems. I'm wondering--if I install the Ubuntu Studio apps with the low-latency kernel, is that going to hose my Mint install?
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby ed@Mint on Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:54 pm

rlindsey0 wrote:I'm wondering--if I install the Ubuntu Studio apps with the low-latency kernel, is that going to hose my Mint install?

No. They will both use their own kernels.
It's even possible to boot the same distro with different kernels, for example, when you try to recompile a custom kernel, you'll still be able to boot with the older one.
(which is rather nice, if like me, you mess something up and the new kernel crashed the system 8) :lol: )
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby muskratmx on Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:48 pm

No. They will both use their own kernels.


I'm confused now, do you mean if he was to install apps from Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu would install a Ubuntu kernel? Giving him two entrys in grub? Then he'd have to boot that kernel to use those apps?

That's what I call hosing his system!

To be quite honest, the kernel, artwork, and a few proprietary apps is what makes each distro, a distro.

Other than that they are all the same. So If I wanted a Ubuntu kernel. I'd just install Ubuntu. Artwork is easy to change. Proprietary apps are easily replaced. I don't run Ubuntu because it's like windows, it just chugs along like a old fat horse. Linux Mint is fleet of foot, running exactly the same apps. The only difference being the kernel.

Now he may have to do that in short term if the apps he needs require a low-latency kernel, or dual boot mint and Ubuntu. But in the long term I bet Debians got a low-latency kernel, which will run those apps just as well maybe better. He'll just have to learn linux well enough to get all the parts together. That's why I said "short term".
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby ed@Mint on Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:02 pm

muskratmx wrote:I'm confused now, do you mean if he was to install apps from Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu would install a Ubuntu kernel?

Of course not.
Installing Ubuntu Studio apps and the Ubuntu Studio kernel are two different things (if ever Ubuntu Studio has indeed a custom kernel, i don't know about that).
But if he needs audio-specific apps and if they run better with a specific kernel, then he can choose to install that kernel along with the existing Mint one.
Then he'll be able to choose which kernel to boot from.

To be quite honest, the kernel, artwork, and a few proprietary apps is what makes each distro, a distro.

True.
It would certainly be easier to keep a spare partition to install Ubuntu Studio on.
But, as always, it's a matter of choice...
It can quickly become annoying to have to reboot to another system just to use some application. It's the same problem as dual-booting Windows.
On the other hand, having to use two different distros might be interesting so that you see several ways of doing things.
(though, in this case, the two systems won't be much different since they are both closely tied to Ubuntu)

Sorry for the confusing explanation :wink:
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:42 pm

As far as I know, Ubuntu Studio does use a different kernel:

http://ubuntustudio.org/files/ubuntustu ... tes_en.txt

Other audio-focused distributions may as well. I seem to recall hearing that 64Studio and JAD do, but I'm no expert.

I'm confused on how you could have two different kernels for the same distro and choose which one to boot from....?
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby Fred on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:22 pm

Greetings,

Interesting question about the kernels. On the one hand it would be just about as easy to have two distros each with a different kernel, as it would be to use two kernels with the same distro. You would have to reboot the distro to select the other kernel anyway.

On the other hand, What would be the problem with running the preemptable kernel all the time in one distro. After all this is a desktop distro. I can't see right off hand why a preemptable kernel would be a problem on programs that didn't need it.

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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby Fred on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:27 pm

rlindsey0,

Sorry, forgot to answer your question. :-)

You would select the kernel to boot from the grub screen. Both kernels would be in /boot and you would have another entry on your grub screen to run the preemptable kernel.

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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby McLovin on Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:46 pm

UbuntuStudio does indeed have it's own kernel, however, you do not have to run the kernel to use the apps, they work just fine in the standard kernel, (I currently have them installed, though I did not install the kernel, and I use the studio apps for music mixing and DJing). This way you can install the kernel, or not, your choice, and still have all the apps from UbuntuStudio, though if you are doing live recording, yes the low latency kernel would be a good idea.
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby muskratmx on Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:47 am

On the other hand, What would be the problem with running the preemptable kernel all the time in one distro. After all this is a desktop distro


Fred; there wouldn't be a problem, I just wanted to point out that the main difference between distros is the kernel. If I were to take Linux Mint artwork and Mint tools, install them on a debian box, would that make my install Linux Mint? I don't think so.

In the same fashion, if one was to install a Ubuntu kernel, would he still be running Linux Mint? Or Ubuntu?

I'm confused on how you could have two different kernels for the same distro and choose which one to boot from....?


It's really not as confusing as it may sound, unlike windowsMS, linux keeps everything seperate. Apt-get will do most of, if not all, the heavy lifting. When you reboot, grub will give you another entry in the menu to boot from. I just did a distro upgrade on Lenny yesterday, it hickuped with the new kernel, so I just reboot and use the older kernel in the menu list.

Linux is very forgiving, you could even boot from a cd kernel, and boot you hd install if need be.

Just remember, aside from artwork, a few utilities, and community support, the kernel makes the distro. There is little difference other wise between distros. (now before I get flamed) I know there's a lot of compilation differences in some libs and so on, but they are complied on the kernel, hence my statement the kernel makes the distro.
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby ed@Mint on Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:41 am

muskratmx wrote:In the same fashion, if one was to install a Ubuntu kernel, would he still be running Linux Mint? Or Ubuntu?


Is the Linux Mint kernel really different from Ubuntu's ?
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Re: Partitioning question about upcoming Mint/XP dual boot

Postby rlindsey0 on Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:58 pm

Thanks again, folks. I am happy to say that I got the Mint install done, and I am now typing this from within Mint--where I plan to spend as much of my computer time as I can. I'll be using Mackie Tracktion in Windows as my music program for the foreseeable future, but for Web browsing and office stuff, I don't at present see any need to go outside Mint. We'll see how things go.

Again, I appreciate the help.
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