Considerations before you install

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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby oni5115 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:59 pm

One thing I am curious about here is sleep or hibernate modes. If I am not mistaken, data in ram is flushed to the swap space for when you start back up. In this case, you do want to have a swap space as large as your ram or at least large enough to remember how much stuff you had loaded. Or am I mistaken? Of course, if you never use those modes like me, then it's a moot point.

I have to admit, having known this I would have done things slightly differently. Since I dual boot my systems for gaming *sigh*. I generally look like this.
Windows 10-12 Gb (WinXP) or 25-50 Gb (Win7) [Yeah it takes way too much disk space]
Linux / 8-12 Gb (Distro of choice)
Linux / 8-12 Gb (Distro to play with) [or a rescue distro if you explode the other one]
Data /media/data * (ntfs drive for music, games, videos, documents, etc.)
Swap 2 Gb

If I had known this though I probably would have switched things around like so:
Windows
Swap
Data
Distro 2
Distro 1

Or perhaps put data on the outer fringes of the disk. Either way, I would have put swap next to windows since I hardly ever use it anyway.

I have simply used symlinks to point all my documents and things to my home folder. It takes about 2 minutes to set up in Nautilus using shift + ctrl + drag and rename. :D
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:40 pm

When you suspend/sleep/put your computer to standby mode (i.e. power your computer down to ACPI state S3), everything is saved into RAM; all other components in your computer are powered down. When you hibernate (i.e. power your computer down to ACPI state S4), everything is saved onto non-volatile memory (in this case, swap space on your hard drive), and thus RAM can also be powered down in S4. In other words, if you only use suspend, swap space will not be a factor that will affect your ability to suspend, but if you use hibernate, swap is indeed necessary. Since you state that you rarely use swap, then I'd say that your swap partition doesn't need to be any bigger than the amount of RAM you have, given that the only purpose that swap serves for you is the ability to hibernate your computer.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby Earth 712 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:30 am

Thanks for your advice, meant i actually have a fully working distro now :)

been trying for months.

:mrgreen:
Hmmmmmmmmm. Strange.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby kai3345 on Sat Aug 21, 2010 8:28 pm

Thanks Fred. This would help users a lot. I'm a not expert, But I have been using Mint since it's 4th Release. This is my first time on the Forums though. :D
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby kidflash on Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:17 pm

Fred wrote:I think many of us could truthfully say that if we had known a bit more about the basics of Linux installs, we would have installed a little more wisely than we did initially. My intention here is call attention to some of these basics and make a few helpful suggestions that may aid new users in their first journey into Linux.

Things that could/should influence your partitioning layout:

1) Partitions closer to the outside of the hard drive disk, ie. at the top of your partition table and to the left in the Gparted graphic, are faster than partitions on the inside of the hard drive disk, or closer to the bottom of the partition table.

2) Smaller partitions are faster than larger partitions.

3) Swap partitions don't need to be any larger than 2X your system ram. And, the sum of system ram and swap shouldn't exceed 4 Gig. If it does, reduce the swap partition size to get back to 4 Gig. or less. If you have 4 Gig. of ram on a 32 bit system like Mint, make a very small swap partition anyway, as the kernel expects to have a swap partition available. Not having a swap partition slows the kernel down in certain situations. For this purpose, there is no need for the swap partition to be over 256 KB at most.

4) If you have more than one hard drive, split your swap partition up between all your drives, creating a small swap partition on each drive. Linux will recognize and combine them all and your swap will be much much faster when you need it. It is almost like a raid 0 set-up. Swap will strip across drives.

5) Journaled file systems like ext3 are much better at maintaining read/write data integrity in case of power failure or some other unexpected crash or failure.

6) Journaled files systems also represent more overhead to the kernel and take more space on the hard drive for the file system structure itself. There is no advantage to using a journaled file system on a partition that will rarely be written to. /boot is a good example of this. It is almost never written to, so if you use a separate /boot partition, it should be ext2 and not ext3.

7) If you use a separate /boot partition, it doesn't need to be more than about 256 MB. This still leaves plenty of space for extra kernels and boot notes.

8) Your data should be isolated from your main install to protect it and easily enable upgrades and reinstalls.

The truth of the matter is that all the installer routines that I am familiar with do a pretty poor job of doing a default install. They just aren't very smart. They work, and serve the purpose of enabling a successful install in most cases. But they don't install very smart. They usually put everything in one partition and spread it out across all the available space. Looking at the above list you can see this is a bad idea for a variety of reasons.

I guess due to natural curiosity and the understandable lack of familiarity with Linux, most new users will break their installs at least once in the first six months and need to reinstall. As most are aware, this leaves you in a position to loose your data or jump through lots of hoops trying to save it, if you have done a default install.

I am going to suggest two very basic partitioning schemes for general purpose desktops that will give you good speed, conserve hard drive space, and provide reasonable data integrity and isolation, and a safe upgrade path.

The first is the well know method of using a separate /home partition. All the user's data is in /home so putting /home on a separate partition effectively isolates it from the rest of the install, the part that most often breaks. This eases upgrades too, although it isn't a perfect solution.

swap -----Formatted as swap ----per above rules
/ -----------Formatted as ext3 -----10 – 12 Gig.
/home ---Formatted as ext3 ------Whatever you need

The other method uses dedicated data partitions that aren't part of the Linux install at all. This is the safest, fastest and most flexible method, and makes for almost painless reinstalls and upgrades, but is a little more difficult to set up initially.

swap ----Formatted as swap -----per above rules
/ ----------Formatted as ext3 ------10 – 12 Gig.

Data Partition1 ----Formatted as ext3 -----sized for data
Data Partition2 ----Formatted as ext3 -----sized for data
Data Partition3 ----Formatted as ext3 -----sized for data

You can have as many or as few data partitions as you see fit. You would mount them in your /home directory, let's say as Multimedia, Pictures, and Documents, as an example. They would be easily available in your /home folder but the data itself would be safely on its' own partition or partitions. If you had a Windows XP install, one of your data partitions could be formatted NTFS so that it could be easily shared.

You could of course combine the two methods I showed above, but I see no advantage in doing so. You could also have a separate /boot partition, which would make either install slightly faster, but with modern equipment you probably wouldn't notice the difference.

This was not written to give you step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish these set-ups but to give you something to think about before you jump into your first install, or perhaps your first reinstall. :-)

Fred

EDIT - Clarification: viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872&p=218227&hilit=fred+hibernation#p218227

thanks for the great info
do you just run Linux Mint
:)
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby genomega on Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:05 am

I have 5 boxes running linux, not one of them has ever used swap. With gigs of memory swap is obsolete.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:13 pm

Without swap, you can't hibernate. Some people find it useful to be able to hibernate, e.g. laptop owners like me.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby catilley on Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:57 am

My Mint 9 x64 install is 300GB in size, primarily because I can run all of my OS's in it via VirtualBox. It's the best ever, and I look forward to installing Mint 10RC tonight.

Cat
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby RagingBoredom on Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:16 am

Okay, I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I'll give it a shot and hope for the best. My apologies for the length and the complete lack of knowledge so please bear with me.

I have a 2+ year old Dell 1520 laptop running Windows XP (32-bit) with a 150 GB HD and 2 GB RAM. This laptop is solely for home use. I've used the Live CD (on a usb card) for approx. ~2 hours total but that is the extent of my Linux experience. Complete 100% Linux newbie here. I would like to change that. However, I want to keep XP around. I have never dual-booted so no experience there either. I find myself in a situation where I need to reformat this laptop and I am heavily considering dual-booting but I don't know where to start. I've read bits of this thread as well as the PDF User Guide but I think I'm making it out to be harder than it actually is and I'm feeling like I'm in WAY over my head. So, I have some questions:

1. Does it matter which OS I install first? As in, is there a difference in performance or is it easier if I install XP first then Mint as opposed to if I did it Mint first then XP? I'm leaning toward installing Mint first but I don't know if it'd matter either way. If it'd be a lot better or easier to install XP first and then install Mint then obviously I'd like to go that route.

2a. Partitioning. I would like to have a ~20 GB partition on my HD for my Windows install and at least an 80 GB data partition (NTFS) for software, torrents, music, videos, etc. which would be accessed through windows. I know I don't need much room for the Linux install so I could probably go up to 100 GB for the data partition and still have ~30 GB for Linux...which should be more than enough if I understand correctly. And if I go that route, would I be able to access that 80-100 GB data partition from inside Linux or would I be resigned to only accessing it from inside Windows? Again, complete Linux newbie so if the answer to this question is so obvious that it seems like I should be in a padded room in a straight jacket every second of the day for not knowing it then please take it easy on me :P

2b. Still Partitioning. How exactly should I partition Linux? If I go the route above for Windows, I'll have ~30 GB to work with. I don't know what "/", "/home", "/everything else" is but I'm going to take a stab at it. Is "/" the Linux equivalent of the 20 GB windows partition that I mentioned above and is "/home" the equivalent of the 80-100 GB data partition like above? So that if I wanted/needed to reinstall Mint I could do so without the other data getting wiped too? And I know I'd need a 2 GB swap partition too. So with 30 GB to work with, how would you suggest my partitions look? Like this:

swap - 2 GB
/ - 10 GB
/home - ~18 GB

Or like something else?

And if I understand the gist of what "/" and "/home" are, would I really need 18 GB for "/home"? Because the bigger I can make the data partition inside windows that I mentioned above, the better. But I am completely clueless when it comes to Linux so I may be WAY off in how I'm trying to understand this. My apologies if I'm completely off base.

3. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. I'm sure I'll have questions later but for now, this will do. And if this is the wrong place to ask then I'm sorry. I'm a bit overwhelmed by all of this but if you point me in the right direction I promise I won't make the mistake of posting in the wrong section/topic again.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:36 am

1) No, the order in which you install your OS'es does not matter. You could install XP first, then Mint, or Mint first, then XP, and you'll still end up with the same thing. However, it is generally recommended to install WIndows first (which is already on your computer), then Linux, due to the fact that when you install Windows, it automatically overwrites the Master Boot Record on your computer so that only WIndows can boot. Linux at least gives you the choice whether to install the Grub bootloader (to keep it simple, you should), which will allow you to dual-boot WIndows and Linux. You can install Linux, then Windows, but then you'll have to do a few additional steps afterwards to re-install the Grub bootloader and restore your ability to boot into Linux.

2) The question here is about filesystems; Windows XP and later uses the NFTS filesystem by default (not that you're given any other choice on Windows), while the latest versions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint use the ext4 filesystem by default (but advanced users can also choose between a wide range of other filesystems...JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, brtfs...the pros and cons of each filesystem is beyond the scope of my knowledge). Linux Mint comes with built-in read and write support for NFTS, so yes, you can access your WIndows partition(s) with Mint. On the other hand, WIndows cannot read or write to ext4 or any other Linux partition without 3rd party tools.

Even though you can access NFTS partitions with Linux, I'd advise you to stick with Linux filesystems on Linux whenever possible. Of course you can install Linux on a NFTS filesystem, even within WIndows (i.e. Wubi, mint4win). However, that is not optimal, and there are several downsides to that...I don't want to overwhelm you with info at this moment though. ;)

2b) Sounds ok. You have the general idea down.../ is for system files, /home is for your personal data.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby RagingBoredom on Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:40 pm

Thanks for the reply, vincent. The reason why I would want to access the NTFS partition is so that I can listen to music while I'm on Mint without having to put any of it one of the ext4 partitions. So I understand the very basics of "/" and "/home" but what about software installs? Will they go to "/" or "/home"? Because if they go to "/" then I won't need 18 GB for "/home" but would I need more than 10 GB for "/"? But if they do go to "/home" then is 18 GB overkill for someone who will use Mint mainly for browsing online, music, maybe videos, and some occasional fooling around with downloading and trying out some software?

Thanks in advance for answering my incredibly newbie-ish questions.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:09 am

Software installs from the package manager will all be placed within the /usr directory, and configuration files in /etc. So yes, programs you install will be in / and not in /home.

I realize that the directory structure may be a bit confusing for a Windows convert (it was for me too, when I first tried out Linux), so here's a brief article you may want to read that explains it pretty well. Keep in mind that in Linux, everything has a path under the / directory, like /home (your Home folder), /dev/sda# (the #th partition on your first hard drive), /dev/cdrom (your CD drive)...not only are actual files represented as files, other partitions on your computer and even hardware components are recognized as files located somewhere within the / directory (the "root" directory).

http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/descripti ... ories.html

Another important concept to understand is that everything in Linux uses dynamic, shared libraries (that's why package managers are so useful), unlike Windows, where statis libraries are the norm. This means that in Linux, the OS and its programs will take up a lot less space than in Windows (so much so that you can run Linux from an USB drive). Therefore, unless you plan to install absolutely everything that is offered to you via the package manager, 10 GB for / is sufficient. I've been using Linux for quite a while and my own / partition has never surpassed the 10 GB mark yet...and yet, I have a lot of packages installed, including games and all that.

Accessing your music on a NFTS partition is fine.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby RagingBoredom on Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:36 pm

Thanks a ton, vincent. I'm posting this from Linux Mint :D

I had some issues because for some reason my /home partition was screwed up. Looked up info on this site and found some help but everything was over my head so after an hour or so I just deleted all the partitions and started over. Everything works great now. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:27 am

All right, well I'm glad you got everything sorted out in the end. :)
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Linux Mint Partitioning to new laptop I'm going to buy

Postby hyoumoku on Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:09 am

Hi! I've been thinking for sometime what is suggested for this partitioning.

Soon, I'm going to buy a new ASUS i5 laptop and will make Linux Mint the only OS (probably the latest GNOME 64bit). Even though I'm going to technically install Linux Mint OS in the system, actually, I'm going to install VirtualBox to run at most probably 3 OS (Windows XP, Windows 7, and/or another Linux distro - but probably just end up installing Windows XP). You see, I haven't tested VirtualBox fully to know what would be ideal.

My question is this - what is the ideal partition for the system partition when there is a VirtualBox installed? Is it something like this:

swap - Formatted as swap - as big as RAM
/ - Formatted as ext3 - How big should this be to include VirtualBox that will install other OS? I have no idea actually :oops: 30gb? 40gb? 50gb?
Rest of the discspace for documents, music, video files, etc etc - probably in NTFS for easy sharing, though might end up ext3, I'm actually not sure :oops:

Kindly please suggest what you think is ideal *bows very deeply*
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:59 pm

VirtualBox will store your virtual hard drives (.vdi) within your /home partition. So partition your computer as you would have done originally, but give any extra/unused room to your /home partition.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby JohnHahn201099 on Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:33 am

Thanks a lot for the installation guide. I've always wanted to try using Linux for a change (I only used Windows and Mac in the previous days) but was afraid of the complicated setup =D
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby hyoumoku on Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:12 pm

Thanks for the reply vincent 8Db

I'm actually planning to have the / and /home to be in the same partition since data and documents itself would be in different partition.

So I'm thinking the setup to be something like this:

swap - Formatted as swap - as big as RAM
/ - Formatted as ext3 - 30 to 50gb until I finalize with money I have how big the harddisk I'm getting for the laptop
Rest of the discspace for documents, music, video files, etc etc - in NTFS for easy sharing, though might end up using ext3

Would that be advisable or should I go ahead and make / and /home in separate partitions?

Again, thanks for the advice vincent :D
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby vincent on Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:57 am

Do you think 30 - 50 GB for the / partition is enough to store the virtual machine(s) you plan on having? Keep in mind that a virtual machine installation of Windows will take up as much space as a real Windows installation. Since you're putting your personal documents in a separate partition, there's no point in creating separate / and /home partitions then.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Postby hyoumoku on Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:32 am

Thanks again for the response vincent 8Db

I'm just wondering though, as I never really tried upgrading from one release to a newer release (usually just fresh install), will there will be a problem in upgrading if the / and /home will be of different partition? I'm still considering doing separate / and /home. But one thing that keeps me worried is that if / and /home would be of separate partition, upgrading from a release to a newer release might break my personal files ^^;;
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