Considerations before you install

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Silent Warrior
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Silent Warrior »

You know your system best, of course, but I haven't had any issue with using only 1 or 2 Gb swap (on systems with 3 Gb RAM) - and Mint seems to fit in less than 18 Gb, but 20 wouldn't hurt in the slightest.
As for your /home-concerns - as long as you set the mountpoint correctly, it should show up just fine. I haven't done it any other way since 2006, so my memory is a bit dodgy on that score. :)
uberspeed
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by uberspeed »

Silent Warrior wrote:You know your system best, of course, but I haven't had any issue with using only 1 or 2 Gb swap (on systems with 3 Gb RAM) - and Mint seems to fit in less than 18 Gb, but 20 wouldn't hurt in the slightest.
As for your /home-concerns - as long as you set the mountpoint correctly, it should show up just fine. I haven't done it any other way since 2006, so my memory is a bit dodgy on that score. :)
Thanks. I went with 4GB swap and shrunk root to 15GB. Following suggestion of running system monitor to see.
I couldn't wait so I pulled the trigger and hoped for the best, figuring my reading way back when would serve me well. Home was perfect, only thing I had to do was reinstall ext driver for windows oddly.
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Dax
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Dax »

Hi, great topic for newbies, thanks a lot ! :D

I became a happy new Linux Mint 8 "Helena" KDE CE 32-bit user just a few days ago and came across this topic, so I got doubtful about my current system and will appreciate your input.

Previously I had openSUSE on my system (for almost a year, since I finally became "Microsoft-Free" ;) ). Both 32-bit and 64-bit worked well enough for me but in the end I kept the 32-bit version due to a better and mature support (besides, as I only have 3 GB RAM, I thought that a 64-bit didn't made a lot of sense).
Since openSUSE's partition manager is very smart and powerful (according to different sources) I was thinking to keep the default partition scheme suggested by this tool (at that time) and use it now for Mint too.

Current partition scheme (250 GB HDD):

/dev/sda1 - 200 MB EFI boot
/dev/sda2 - 2 GB swap
/dev/sda3 - 20 GB / as (ext4 "ordered")
/dev/sda4 - 180 GB /home as (ext4 "ordered")
/dev/sda5 - 30 GB hfs+

All partitions are "primary" as I use a GUID Partition Table (GPT).

Mostly I use this system (XPS laptop with a 9 cells battery) for very simple everyday stuffs (none critical) and I always keep a backup for all my personal files on a couple 320 GB external HDDs.
Also, as a 2010 goal, I want to learn and become proficient on Blender 2.x (open source 3D content creation) and Drupal 6.x (open source content management platform)... just tutorials and simple things for now.

So...

After reviewing this topic, looks like my swap partition should be a 1 GB tops (or 768 MB as I also have a 256 MB nVidia chip set for video ? ).

If I manage to upgrade to a 4 GB RAM, should I better change to a PAE (36-bit) or a 64-bit Kernel maybe ? If so, what swap size would you recommend ?

Is it aright to keep “/” and “/home” as “ext4” and “ordered” both ?

For better speed and reliability Fred recommended a 10 to 12 GB for “/” on Mint 7 (under ext3). Would that still abide for Mint 8 and ext4 or do I keep my default 20 GB for it? (FYI: I'm not really a software junkie anyway).


Thank you.

Dax

Edit: Hmm... perhaps those are just too many questions and I should open a new topic for my own?
Edit2: moved to a topic of its own
"Knowledge is a weapon. I intend to be formidably armed."
...
Linux Mint 8 KDE CE 32-Bit
OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2

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Anthorn
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Anthorn »

Excellent for the Linux literate but the average Windows or Mac user will get lost at the gparted bit in 1) and will be running for the Microsoft or Apple hills! All they want to do is install it and it works. That's where Mint scores over other distros. I'm not too sure about the bit about putting the install at the top of the disk: That's what Windows does and it leaves no room for amended or extra files and they go somewhere else and that's the reason for defragging. But I'll have to investigate that bit further.
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by superstargoddess »

Using this "guide but not a guide" as we speak. Been tinkering with Ubuntu/Linux for around a week and have tried a few different versions. Doing it up right this time and using your awesome "guide but not a guide" on partitions. :) Was just using the KDE version of Mint, but decided to go with the more userfriendly main edition since I am still a newbie and break stuff easily!
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by iferdjani »

wait, so i've just read this thread (wish i had read it before, man i'm so impatient...). my swap is 6 gig (because my ram is 3 and i read it had to be 2x but now i know it does not have to). is this bad or just not that useful?

also if i change my linux mint lxde partition to the left, will it be considerable faster? just wondering :?
quadruple boot : WIndows 7, OS X Snow Leopard, Ubuntu 9.10 netbook remix, LInux Mint 8 LXDE RC1 !! why? because I can..
(honestly, my fav is the LXDE one) :)
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

Having a huge swap isn't bad; it won't harm your system, but it is however a waste of hard drive space. It doesn't matter all that much for people with a lot of hard drive space though, but for people with older computers and much smaller hard drives, it's not a very optimal use of the limited space they have.

Also, while yes, a partition placed to the left would be faster in the sense that it's quicker for your hard drive to access, I personally don't think there's all that much of a difference. It might do more harm than good, seeing as you have 4 OS'es and a single slip with GParted could mean a long re-install process for you...if you want more food for thought though, check out this thread: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=44267
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

wsseet wrote:i'm sure there are more i can't see any major advantages here - but I am new to Linux
so any comments and advice welcome please
I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand what you are asking about. Would you mind kindly rephrasing your question?
Debian Testing x64/LM9 Main x64/Windows 7 x64 - LG R580 laptop w/ Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GHz, 4 GB DDR2 RAM, Nvidia Geforce G 105M, Ralink rt2860 802.11n, 300 GB WD HD 5400 rpm
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by deleted »

vincent wrote:Having a huge swap isn't bad; it won't harm your system, but it is however a waste of hard drive space. It doesn't matter all that much for people with a lot of hard drive space though, but for people with older computers and much smaller hard drives, it's not a very optimal use of the limited space they have.
If you plan on running vm's (vmware, virtualbox, etc) you do want to have a larger swap than you would if you didn't OW, you start to thrash.
For instance, I have 8 gigs of real ram, I normally would configure about a 2gig swap. Since I'm running 2 vm's simultaneously on it (one configured for 2 gigs, the other, 4 gigs) I create an 8 gig swap.
(I also create dedicated vmdk files for swap or pagefile.sys)
-Hinto
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verian_DC
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by verian_DC »

Hello new world I've found. I am in the newbie section for reason. I just install mint 9 isadora on to a old PC that I had laying around. After reading a few of the first post I can assume I didn't not install correctly.

GT5408
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz
Chipset Intel 945G
Installed Memory 1 GB (DDR2 SDRAM) upgraded to 4 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home (no more wiped completely single boot mint only)
HDD Size 320 GB

I didn't do anything but slap in the disk and install, works great I love it so far. My question is due do that fact that I'm not dual booting should I have still created a partition with just enough space for the OS? Or am I fine just as I am.

Thanks in advance.
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shane
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by shane »

verian_DC wrote:Hello new world I've found. I am in the newbie section for reason. I just install mint 9 isadora on to a old PC that I had laying around. After reading a few of the first post I can assume I didn't not install correctly.

GT5408
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz
Chipset Intel 945G
Installed Memory 1 GB (DDR2 SDRAM) upgraded to 4 GB
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home (no more wiped completely single boot mint only)
HDD Size 320 GB

I didn't do anything but slap in the disk and install, works great I love it so far. My question is due do that fact that I'm not dual booting should I have still created a partition with just enough space for the OS? Or am I fine just as I am.

Thanks in advance.
There is nothing wrong with using the default partition scheme (one huge root partition and swap). This is the easiest way. If you want to further optimize and tweak your system, you can go for the other more complex schemes.

The most common, which you may know by now, is using a separate partition for /home. This is just so that you do not lose your personal data and settings when you reinstall since you have to format the root partition (/) when you install. It's like having Windows installed on C:\ and your files on D:\.

For now, since you are a newbie, I would suggest you keep it as it is and learn your way around Linux... and the next time you want to install, backup all your data and format your hard disk with a separate /home partition. By the time you will want to get more complex than that, you will know what you're doing or at least know where to learn about it :)
rollup
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by rollup »

Great thread!
I was losing hope of this forum being any use to me.
I aint very Linux Savvy but ...this thread has just upped the anti for me.
I've been on Linux about two years now and only use my puter for email forum fights youtube that kind of stuff so don't need lots of knowledge but ...I'm having a few probs and having found this thread I'm going to enjoy reinstalling my helena ...thankyou Fred.
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Partitions usage

Post by Plymouth »

As I've been gradually adding more apps, the /usr partition has been filling up, to the point where each time I log on, the system tells me how little space is left on /usr, and I should move some files to other partitions.

How does the installer 'know' where to initially place any newly installed software?

Is there a 'best' partition for particular apps - or more to the point, 'definite 'no-no' partitions' for speciifc apps?
oni5115
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by oni5115 »

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
vincent
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by vincent »

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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Earth 712
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by Earth 712 »

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

Post by kai3345 »

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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kidflash
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by kidflash »

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: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... on#p218227
thanks for the great info
do you just run Linux Mint
:)
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Re: Considerations before you install

Post by genomega »

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

Post by vincent »

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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