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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 10-10-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
SaintDanBert
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partition laptop disk


Yet Another [set of] Linux Partition Question[s]
  • YES, this is a long post with several questions, sorry
  • NO, I don't want details about use of partition utilities
  • NO, I don't want details about drive/partition cloning utilities
  • YES, I want to know about use of available spaces

You buy a new laptop and find the built-in HDD has two partitions:
(1) Windows-something C:, and (2) vendor diagnostics and utilities.
The utilities partition is usually quite small and is hidden from normal windows access -- sometimes even needing special BIOS interaction to boot. The rest of the drive is windows.

QUESTION: Is it true that Windows requires a primary partition to boot?
If this is accurate, that uses two of the primaries possible.
  1. Windows C:
  2. Vendor Utilities
  3. -- tbd --
  4. Extended Partition

QUESTION: Are there any requirements for the order that these primary partitions are placed on the drive?

QUESTION: Do I use the remaining primary for the root '/' partition or for the /boot file system?

QUESTION: What is an effective size for each? /boot can be small in the 500MB to 1GB range. On the other hand, '/' size depends on the contents -- both files and folder-trees. The extended partition might be at least 50% of the drive size ... more for really large (over 250 GB) drives.

QUESTION: What file systems make the most sense inside the Extended partition?
  • D:
  • '/' or /boot (whichever is not a primary)
  • /home
  • /var
  • /opt
  • /usr/local
I have used IFS-Drive to read and write ext2 and ext3 from Windows-XP. I don't really need a D: for data sharing. Also, recent distros can read and write NTFS so there is another way to share data. Lastly, most usb media are read/write either way as well.

QUESTION: Does it make sense to use virtual file system volumes for anything except /home and any other file system you want readable from windows? IFS-Drive cannot reach inside of logical volumes

QUESTION: What happens to partition plan when I add W_I_N_E to the mix?

QUESTION: What happens to partition plan when I add Virtual Box or similar to the mix?

QUESTION: Why isn't there a definitive laptop or single-drive partition HOWTO?

Cheers,
~~~ 0;-Dan
Code:
My laptop is an Emperor Linux Raven Tablet (Lenovo Thinkpad X61 Tablet) running Ubuntu Hardy (v8.04.3 LTS) with Windows-XP/Pro Tablet Edition. The original drie is 160 GB. I want to install a 320 GB drive as upgrade.
 
Old 10-11-2009, 12:28 AM   #2
syg00
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- yes
- no
- Linux has no requirement that any partition be a primary
- /boot is probably unnecessary but 200Meg is plenty usually.
- see (3) - those are not filesystems BTW
- VFS is a layer in the architecture to allow a generic framework to all devices; it's there all the time
- probably nothing, but I've never used it
- nothing at all, and the guest will probably just have a single VDI for the lot
- "there's more than one way to do it"
 
Old 10-12-2009, 10:51 AM   #3
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
...
- Linux has no requirement that any partition be a primary
...
The opening premise was dual boot so some primary partition is part of the equation.

That said, you did remind me that I could have the windows c: primary and the rest-of-the-volume could be a huge extended partition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- /boot is probably unnecessary but 200Meg is plenty usually.
Is this needed for those rare, antique BIOS that retain the 1024 cylinder limitations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- see (3) - those are not filesystems BTW
I know they are not FS by default, but there are plenty of installs where one or more of these are separate partitions mounted into the root file system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- probably nothing; I've never used it
I confess to minimal knowledge of WINE needs for disk in general and access to any existing windows files and file systems. I was hoping for some brief explanation of those issues so that I might plan things now, deploy the new disk, and deal with WINE definitively later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- VFS is a layer in the architecture to allow a generic framework to all devices; it's there all the time
I know what VFS is and where it lives and all. My question involves the use of VFS allocations as part of a laptop disk space deployment plan.
VFS would enable easier resize of space among /var, /tmp, /opt, /usr/local, and so on. The disadvantage being that content would need separate export and import as one moves from linux boot to windows boot and returns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- nothing at all, and the guest will probably just have a single VDI for the lot
I confess to minimal knowledge of VirtualBox and will do more homework. However, I expected that VB would run WinXX and Linux where each would have access to its own native disk space on the drive. I had not considered implementing two, independent VDI spaces. It seems that there would be export/copy/import actions between the separate VDI rather than mostly seamless access to everything that I seek. Again, I want to understand a little now, plan, and do a detailed deployment later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
- "there's more than one way to do it"
There is more than one way to program, too, but there are several Linux Developer HOWTO documents. Any HOWTO is more "guidline" or collection of known-good-practices than "book of laws". Folks, start with the HOWTO deployment and tinker from there. Armed with such a HOWTO, beginners can start on a higher level without large amounts of trial and error and re-trampling old weeds.

Thanks for the reply,
~~~ 0;-Dan

Last edited by SaintDanBert; 10-12-2009 at 10:55 AM. Reason: corrections & additions
 
Old 10-12-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
mobrien118
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Re: WINE: It simply puts a folder inside of your root folder and (sort of) treats it like your windows drive. It doesn't need any filesystems or changes to the HD.

Re: VirtualBox: You CAN use a physical drive as a disk, and you can even use a partition and have VBox treat it as a whole partitioned disk (the only reason one would do this is to use a RAW RAID partition emulated as a whole disk) search the VBox documentation for RAWVMDK for more information. That said, there is no reason you would want to do that. Just do as sgy00 said and create a .vdi file on your local filesystem (as VBox does by default) and use that. It may take a *slight* performance hit, but if you really want to be using raw disks in VBox, you should use a separate hard drive that is not mounted by any other active OSes, because accidentally booting into the same OS in VBox that you are physically in can have catastrophic results.

A VDI is just a file that has a small amount of descriptor data and then a huge amount of "raw" space that acts as a hard drive (which is, in fact, just a large array of empty bits, of course). If you want to use the same VDI file in both of your physical operating environments, then you may want to put the .vdi files on a "neutral" filesystem that can be read and written by both Linux and WinXP easily. e.g FAT32. Just make sure that the specified size of a dynamically growing VDI file isn't greater than the size of the partition, or else you may (later rather than sooner) discover an "out of space" condition that you can't easily resolve and your virtual machine will pause until it is resolved.

As sgy00 also said, "there's (my add: MANY) more than one way to do it".

Hope I haven't bored you, but the short VBox answer is no, you don't need to do anything partition-wise.

--mobrien118
 
Old 10-12-2009, 03:14 PM   #5
yancek
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Quote:
The opening premise was dual boot so some primary partition is part of the equation.
A primary partition would always be needed. Any Linux distribution AFAIK can be installed on and booted from a logical but before we can create a logical we need the extended which will use one primary. I expect syg00 was saying that the Linux OS does not need to be on a primary partition. Windows can be installed on a logical but needs another windows OS (or at least windows boot files) on a primary partition.

Quote:
Is this needed for those rare, antique BIOS that retain the 1024 cylinder limitations?
Most common reason to use it. Also useful for users who multi-boot, upgrade and change distributions frequently. For the average user, there is no real reason for a separate boot partition.
 
Old 10-12-2009, 09:27 PM   #6
syg00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintDanBert View Post
I know what VFS is and where it lives and all. My question involves the use of VFS allocations as part of a laptop disk space deployment plan.
VFS would enable easier resize of space among /var, /tmp, /opt, /usr/local, and so on. The disadvantage being that content would need separate export and import as one moves from linux boot to windows boot and returns.
Sounds like you are confusing acronyms - seems you are talking about LVM, not VFS.
I don't use LVM as I use a significant number of different distros - partitions come and go, and get moved around. I can see it's benefits in a different environment, but for me it is too much trouble.
 
Old 10-12-2009, 10:04 PM   #7
SaintDanBert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
Sounds like you are confusing acronyms - seems you are talking about LVM, not VFS.
Hmmm, you got a point 'dere judge!! [Appologies to The Kinston Trio]

Yes, I am talking about Logical Volume Management (LVM). They are really useful for the /var /tmp /opt /use/local and similar system spaces whose size varies up and down based on what's happening now. When I'm coding, TMPDIR is very busy so /tmp gets larger. Since the workstation web pages are on /var/www, when I've loads of content, /var grows and other things shrink ... and so on.
Sadly, there is no way to reach into LVM from winXX.
 
  


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