Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

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Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

Postby MtnDewManiac on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:48 pm

Hello,

I am in a dreadful hurry at present and, therefore, will have to post my introduction later this evening (apologies). But I did wish to say THANK YOU to Clem and everyone responsible for linux Mint 14.

I have to install Mint on a friend's new laptop. I am going with Xfce even though it is an Intel i5 3210 with 6 gigs of ram and a 640 gig hard drive because he has never owned a computer before and will be asking me lots of questions via telephone... And my relic of a computer is old, slow, and lacking - but, it turns out, works great with Mint 14 Xfce. So I will be able to reference my computer when helping him.

He bought it a couple of weeks ago, knew how much I enjoyed linux, so he brought it to me without even opening the lid and said, "Put that linux on it."

I had been using Ultimate Edition linux since v2.3, rather enjoyed doing so, and so I installed UE3.5 on his laptop. Then I tried to upgrade to 3.5, myself, but met with utter failure. As my computer would not boot at that point <whoops!>, I was in a bind. I had Mint 14 Xfce on a USB flash drive and, in a panic, booted to it and installed it.

It turns out... This Xfce - in Mint 14, at least - is something that I like just fine, thanks :D . And I am actually able to view some fullscreen video content (Hulu Desktop, for example) that I could not before because it always overheated my laptop and stuttered to a mess. In other words, not only do I like it, it works.

My friend's UE installation has some issues. Most notably, it keeps telling him that "not all upgrades can be completed" and suggests he perform a partial upgrade, which looks like it'll install the new Ubuntu stuff and pooch his setup. Also... UE is okay, but the fact that some text during the installation is unreadable as is much text when using the thing due to the fact that the creator is so enamored of black and other dark colors that he insists on using them even when he has not fixed the colors of the text in many included applications, error boxes, and things during the INSTALL PROCESS (apologies for shouting)... That is not so great. Especially when my friend calls to tell me that a box pops up and wants to know what he should do; I ask him what it says and hear, "I don't know, it's black. So are the words. So... what should I do?"

I've never cared for green... But I suddenly find that it has grown on me because I can read everything that I am presented with <BIGsmile>. So... Thanks extra for the legibility! And I guess I have somewhat introduced myself, after all, lol.

Now to my questions:

My friend's lady friend placed almost 500 gigs of data on his laptop from her portable hard drive. She is a teacher and has a lot of things that she occasionally uses for that and will be using his laptop for it on occasion, so that is fine. However, now that I have decided to install Mint 14 Xfce, I am faced with the additional task of recopying all that data (I have her drive, that is no problem). And I expect to install Mint 15 when it is released at the end of May(?). I really do not wish to make a habit of regularly transferring that much data, especially at USB2.0 speeds.

So I am wondering how to partition it so that the data will be separate. Right now it is all in the Documents, Pictures, Video, and Music directories/folders, which are in his home directory. That is great for convenience of use, but becomes problematic when installing the OS.

How would you set up his laptop?

I assume a separate partition. Do I tell the OS installer that it will be "/" also or do I select one of the other choices in the menu? I do not know how that works.

Can I easily set that partition up to automatically mount at boot each time so that it is "seamless" as it is now with the data in his /home subdirectories?

And I am unsure about the sizes of each partition. I need to leave as much room as could possibly be needed for the system. You know, for installing new apps, for his apps' data, and so forth. And to give the remaining to the data that his lady wishes to have on it.

Last question: My old laptop is 32-bit. His brand-new one is 64-bit. I understand that I can install 32-bit Mint 14 Xfce on it, but I am planning to install the 64-bit version. Only... Is there any reason that I wouldn't wish to do so? Will he be able to install all apps, even if there is no specific "64-bit version" of them? And are things pretty much the same between both 32- and 64-bit versions of the OS as far as... If he calls with a question, would what he is seeing still be what I am seeing on my laptop, so that I would be able to talk him through any issues via the telephone without having to physically see his computer?

Thank you,
MDM
_____
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Re: Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

Postby Orbmiser on Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:22 pm

When selecting where to install choose "Something Else" which allows you to create partitions.

One solution is to have separate partition for /home from root. In which case 20gb for / "root" and rest as separate partition as /home and of course a 4gb swap partition is sufficient.

/ partition
/home partition
swap

Advantage is every changing distro's or need to do a clean install of distro you can install or overwrite / "root" and everything is safe on /home and no need to create a /home just point clean install at it and re-assign /home and then just don't format it when doing a clean install.

The other way is one partition for / and /home and leave the rest as a data partition which gives you advantage when dual booting windows & linux as you can make it ntfs accessible by both OS'es.

And no 64bit is the way to go and irrelevant the program you install is 32 or 64bit they all will run on 64bit.
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Re: Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

Postby MtnDewManiac on Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:11 pm

Hi, Orbmiser, and thank you for your reply.

Orbmiser wrote:When selecting where to install choose "Something Else" which allows you to create partitions.


Gotcha, I always do that part.

Orbmiser wrote:One solution is to have separate partition for /home from root. In which case 20gb for / "root" and rest as separate partition as /home and of course a 4gb swap partition is sufficient.


20 gigabytes is enough for the main (/) partition? IOW, you think it very unlikely that he will ever find himself installing more than 20 gigs' (minus however much room is taken up by the base install) worth of applications? I had been sort of wondering if 120 gig would be sufficient for /, lol. (It is a 640 gB hard drive, so I suppose I could make it 120 gB if necessary.)

Orbmiser wrote:/ partition
/home partition
swap


That would certainly solve the question of how best to integrate the "data" partition into his system, because since the extra partition would be his /home directory, it would automatically set itself up so that those sub-directories (/Video, /Documents, et cetera) would be where the data was stored. So that part is great.

However, I find myself with more than a little trepidation when considering that idea. I have always done clean installations of newer versions of linux (even when sticking with the same distro, such as when I went from Ultimate Edition 2.3 to 2.4). And by "clean," I mean exactly that; directing the installer's partitioning tool to reformat my / partition (before, I always just left /home in / instead of setting it up in a separate partition). My reasoning was that it was no great hardship to configure my new system to suit me - and it was often fun, lol, since a new version often brought new features). And this way I never ran into the (possible?) situation of having issues because something had changed enough that the old configuration files wouldn't make sense to the new version of the OS and/or apps, that kind of thing. Thoughts on that, anyone?

Orbmiser wrote:Advantage is every changing distro's or need to do a clean install of distro you can install or overwrite / "root" and everything is safe on /home and no need to create a /home just point clean install at it and re-assign /home and then just don't format it when doing a clean install.


It's not really 100% clean if you are reusing all of your old settings/configuration files, is it? I have often wondered why the /home/user and the /home/user/"all the data directories" weren't separated, why there wasn't a separate /home/username directory for the configuration/settings and a /user_data_storage/username/Documents (etc.). That way, we could easily choose between keeping everything in one partition, keeping everything but our data in one partition, or having all three sets of directories in their own.

Orbmiser wrote:The other way is one partition for / and /home and leave the rest as a data partition which gives you advantage when dual booting windows & linux as you can make it ntfs accessible by both OS'es.


That's a thought, and one I am considering. And, as far as that goes, it isn't even necessary to format the data partition as NTFS, since we have long been able to spend a minute or less downloading a file that adds ext2/ext3 filesystem compatibility to Microsoft Windows OS. I am not sure about ext4, but I haven't used that anyway. But it does seem like it would add a layer of protection (vs. just accessing the data if it were all in the one partition, which would allow for a messed-up Microsoft OS to screw it up, lol).

That part of it is sort of moot right now, because, well... The laptop he purchased seems like a wonderful one and nice value for the price ($500 US), but it came with Microsoft Windows 8 preinstalled. And UEFI enabled. And it is a Samsung, lol. So, rather than take a very real chance of turning it into a doorstop due to Samsung's faulty implementation of that, I ended up turning it off in the BIOS menu and formatting the entire hard drive for linux. I did not wish to do so - he purchased something that included a feature (+/-, lol) and I removed that feature.

I will be emailing Samsung to explain what we did - and WHY - and asking them to send him a Windows 8 installation disc for free, since the only reason it is now missing from his hard drive is due to their bug(s). But I have never been very good at that sort of thing and fear that I will be unsuccessful in getting Samsung to do so. If anyone has had good luck with something like this, I would be very appreciative if you provided some helpful suggestions. My friend was "a bit put out" when I told him that I removed Win8; when I explained why I did it, he was not mad, but still disappointed.

To further digress for a moment, I played with Win8 for a little while before I wiped it, and I did not see what all the negative rep is about. It looked nice to me (for a Microsoft OS, I mean) and if I were not aware of linux I would consider it a nice upgrade from Vista and XP. It comes looking like it is for touchscreen devices, but I found the regular menu setup within seconds without reading any manual (which nobody ever seems to include with anything any more). I found myself switching back and forth between the tiled setup and the old-school setup without minding. And the entire (admittedly short) time I got to spend with it, I had that "kid in a candy store" feeling that I have whenever I get to play with a neat new gadget. Of course, being able to choose only one OS, Microsoft or linux, well... As I said, the first thing I did during installation was completely format his hard drive, lol. Speaking of choice, I must give credit where credit is due: Microsoft seems to be 100% behind this new "tiles" (charms?!? :rolleyes: ) desktop, but even so, they decided to give their users a choice in the matter. Perhaps they learned this from seeing how happy us linux users are? But, yeah, kudos to Microsoft for that.

Orbmiser wrote:And no 64bit is the way to go and irrelevant the program you install is 32 or 64bit they all will run on 64bit.
.


Thank you for that reassurance. I was thinking that I read somewhere that certain applications (which are only available in 32-bit flavors) were problematic when the user attempted to use them in a 64-bit environment. Skype was mentioned, I think, which is one that my friend has already expressed an interest in getting, but I thought there were others mentioned as well. So I misread, then?

Again, thank you - and anyone else who choses to post in this thread - for helping me. And I'd like to mention that I really think this "newbie" forum is a great idea. People like myself, our first experience on forums like this one is because we start out with a lot of questions and this way we can get help with everything at once without having to post each specific separate question in its own thread. Which means that we can get all of that taken care of and get to using/enjoying the "regular forums" that much faster. It also means that our first impression is that much more positive. :thumbsup:

You know, when I said in my first post (I think?) that I had never cared for the color green, I was making a vast understatement. But my initial experiences with both linux Mint (Xfce) and this forum have been so positive that I am already at the point that I no longer mind the color green (not sure it will ever become my favorite color, but it's okay). :D

One last unrelated question: I seem to be unable to find the setting in my User CP that allows me to be automatically subscribed to threads that I create or post in. I also don't see an option to subscribe to a thread whilst viewing the thread. Can someone point me in the right direction?
_____
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Re: Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

Postby Orbmiser on Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:37 pm

"I was thinking that I read somewhere that certain applications (which are only available in 32-bit flavors) were problematic when the user attempted to use them in a 64-bit environment. Skype was mentioned,"


Quite likely but that is generally more to do with crappy programming then incompatibility linux issue.
Most programmers I have read about issues like skype is that it is a mish-mash of bad programming.

20 gigabytes is enough for the main (/) partition?


Minimum as myself using a / that is just 8gb without issue tho tight with only 2gb free. As /home is on separate partition.

It's not really 100% clean if you are reusing all of your old settings/configuration files, is it? I have often wondered why the /home/user and the /home/user/"all the data directories" weren't separated, why there wasn't a separate /home/username directory for the configuration/settings and a /user_data_storage/username/Documents (etc.).


True Linux file system never ever made sense to me. It has loosely guidelines on where thing go. But developers are allowed to do whatever they want making for pretty much a mess as filesystems go as far as I'm concerned. And why I have all Docs,Pics,music,etc.. on a usb external drive. Just not wanting to lose my personal files. As to settings and installed programs. I just use Redo Backup and take snapshots of the partitions. Which I can restore back or to a new hardrive if need be.

You know, when I said in my first post (I think?) that I had never cared for the color green, I was making a vast understatement. But my initial experiences with both linux Mint (Xfce) and this forum have been so positive that I am already at the point that I no longer mind the color green (not sure it will ever become my favorite color, but it's okay). :D


Well nothing saying you have to stay green and I prefer to tailor my system to my personality and preferences then another's ideas for desktop. And that is what makes Linux great the customizing to individuals needs & sensibilities :P

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Re: Partitioning: Mint PLUS Data? and 64-bit Question

Postby MtnDewManiac on Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:05 am

Orbmiser wrote:True Linux file system never ever made sense to me. It has loosely guidelines on where thing go. But developers are allowed to do whatever they want making for pretty much a mess as filesystems go as far as I'm concerned.


Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love linux, not just the fact that it gives me a desktop that does what a desktop is supposed to do - which is to allow me to run the applications I want/need to run and to stay far, far out of my way otherwise, lol - and also gives me the choice to do everything from minor adjustments such as what I've done in Xfce (moved the bar to the top, create a second one for the bottom, added applets to the top, placed a MATE(?) menu button on the bottom with only a custom set of 15 "favorites" enabled, moved the thing that shows open apps to the new bottom bar, stuff along those lines) to turning it into one of those silly adolescent's dreams that I've seen videos of on Youtube if I ever get rich enough to buy a bleeding-edge computer, lose what little grip on sanity I have left, and get the uncontrollable urge to write in animated fire on my desktop with my mouse cursor while it is snowing on it like a blizzard and then "spin" a set of multiple desktops around whilst they sit in their own universe with an aquarium full of fish swimming inside, lmao.

But... Sometimes, when something tries to be all things to all people, well... You end up with something like the government of California. It's heart is in the right place, but it's a mess and is constantly next to the bankruptcy line (and flip a coin as to which side of that line it is on at any given moment).

Thankfully, linux isn't at that point. But I do see how trying to include choices for EVERY user in every conceivable situation, along with not only allowing but actively encouraging as many people as possible to help develop it... can occasionally make things overly complicated. Still, when compared to an "any color you like, as long as it's black" OS, I'll pick linux nine times out of ten (I'm hard of hearing and that last time I thought they were asking me if gin blows, lol, and since I no longer drink, I jumped up and shouted, "You know it..." and that's how I ended up with Vista, honest).

Well nothing saying you have to stay green and I prefer to tailor my system to my personality and preferences then another's ideas for desktop. And that is what makes Linux great the customizing to individuals needs & sensibilities :P


True. And I will probably get around to figuring out how/where to change the colors and themes (I changed the background already, but then changed it back so that when people see my computer, their first question will be, "What is this Linux Mint 14?" :wink:

I just... I am coming from Ultimate Edition which, while being a rather nice OS other than having some selectable checkboxes during installation that you cannot read the text in because their text color and the creator's choice of system colors are completely incompatible ( :rolleyes: ) along with that "little" issue of unreadable text popping up here and there in several apps, and not having the great lack of preinstalled applications like Mint does (not griping, mind you, because I can install anything I want to out of 40,000 of them in either the Software Manager or Synaptic with a couple of clicks of my mouse button :D )... UE has so many different apps that can be used to customize the look/feel/actions of the OS that it is easy to screw things up. As in, UE3.5 has something called Compiz sitting on its bar, and when you look at (right-click) it, you see that you have a choice of five(!) different window managers (and why when I boot into GNOME "Classic" (it's not, really) that I installed on my friend's laptop, it shows me that it's using KWin, which I understand is for KED, I don't know. But... That OS is incredibly customizable, but do I change the settings I see in this app, that app, the third "change your settings here" app, or in yet another one that I haven't found yet? And if I change the settings in this app, which I didn't realize isn't active, will it conflict with the settings in the one that turned out to be active? Will doing so suddenly decrease the available RAM because I suddenly find myself running two sets of apps that do the same thing? Will they conflict? Does Bullwinkle manage to rescue the girl that is tied to the railroad tracks before Boris and Natasha manage to capture Rocky the flying squirrel?

Sorry, there were so many choices that I got confused there for a moment. Things were so much simpler when I was eight years old, my toughest decision was whether to read a book, go outside and play, or watch 25-year old cartoons. But my experience has taught me that if I decide to muck about under the hood of my OS, to do so carefully and to be sure that I am actually adjusting the correct thing, even if I merely wish to change a theme. And I have been so busy actually being able to use my laptop these past few days, doing things that it was unable to do before this exponential upgrade to linux Mint 14 Xfce (to be fair, I had Ultimate Edition 3.0 on it before, which - unlike all the other versions of it I have experienced - is pretty much a train wreck anyway), and I get screwups about five times out of six when trying to install an OS on the thing (seems to overheat badly every time; when I installed M14Xfce, I took the thing outside where it was only 24°F and the installation was quick and worked fine)... That I just haven't gotten around to looking to see what all I can customize without loading down my computer and where I need to go (which app or menu choice) in order to do so.

Incidentally, early today I happened upon a link somewhere in the Mint blog that pointed to a review that someone had written about Mint. They seemed generally positive except for "all the apps that they felt the need to preinstall" (or words to that effect). I bet my neighbors wondered why I was laughing hysterically when I read that. I mean... coming directly from UE, Mint isn't exactly an application wasteland, but if I added all the listings in every menu choice up, they might equal the number of choices in UE's Internet or Sound and Video sub-menu. I guess it is all relative. Personally, after thinking about it, Clem probably had the right of the thing when he didn't load his OS up with everything including the kitchen sink - new users won't get overwhelmed that way, and experienced users (even people like me who just use - as opposed to hack - it) can install anything they wish to in moments. I would have included at least one time-waster, though, like some kind of Solitaire game. Clem, if you're reading this, AisleRiot might be a good choice; I sat my 72-year old mother down to play it (specifically, the game in it called Thirteen) and she was still happily playing when I returned from doing a tune-up on her Honda. Her first ever computer experience, BtW, and if I had run Gimp or even Firefox for her she'd have sat there staring at the screen for a few moments, then gently set the laptop aside and turned on the television, but AisleRiot captivated her, lol. Just something to think about. And since your OS is too large to fit on a CD, but takes up less than 25% of a DVD, there seems to be plenty of room to include a little old card game. Not to mention that it definitely fits into the whole linux thing: "With Microsoft Windows, you get A solitaire game, but with linux you get 88 of them :D ." And that is with only one spot in the menu filled, so it shouldn't in any way overwhelm the new linux - or even new computer - user, I should think.

But I am rambling, and badly, so I'll just press the Submit button now....
_____
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