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Old 06-11-2004, 07:51 PM   #1
Paul Fox
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Distribution: SuSE 9.2 Professional, Fedora Core 1, Knoppix 3.4
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Disk Partitioning Differences: Newbie Questions


First off...I want to thank you guys for all the help I've received thus far.

Now, a new question.

After all the reading I've been doing lately trying to get FC1 up and running, I've come to understand that partitioning in Linux is a bit different than I'm used to in the Wonderful World of Microsoft. Let me by hypothetical for a moment. Here are the details of the system I'm typing on at the moment:

Dell XPS
P4 3.0 GHz Hyperthreading Processor
3 Physical Drives: one 120gb Main Drive (c), one 60gb Drive I use for Music (d) and one 120gb Storage Drive (e)
SIIG ATA 133 Serial Controller
Internal DVD Rom and a separate Internal DVD+R/RW Burner
Internal ZIP 250 Drive
1 Gig of RAM
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro GPU
Soundblaster Audigy 2 Sound Card w/Firewire IEEE1394
USB 2.0
Built-in 10/100 NIC PLUS a Separate Gigabit NIC

For the experiment, I want to divide my Main 120 GB Drive into partions for both Windows XP Professional and a Linux Distro (does it matter which at this time?)

As I understand it, Linux can READ an NTFS partition at this time but can not WRITE to it. That being said, I'm going to leave a FAT32 Partition in there as well so that leaves me with two...an NTFS Partition for WinXP and a FAT32 partition for shared files between XP and Linux.

Now, here's where I'm getting a little confused. What is the difference between the types of Linux Partitions? I've seen reference to several, including ext2, ext3, LinuxSWAP (which seems to speak for itself), XFS and another one that I don't recall at the moment...something like reiserfs(????).

How would YOU, the learned ones proceed? What are the major reasons to choose Ext2 over Ext3? What would could I expect using XFS or reiserfs? Should I actually add a LinuxSWAP partition or let the installer do that for me? I've also seen people referring to setting separate partitions for "/", "/home" and "/usr"...would this be to my benifit or is that more advanced than I need to concern myself with at the moment?

Also, as a rule...I still apply the RAM x2 for setting swap space in Windows but as I understand it, apparently a Swap Partition of 512MB is enough for Linux...is that correct?

As you can see, I have questions and while I will continue to do research on my own here and with the Big G...I thought I'd ask as well.

For the Linux Distros I have on hand:
Fedora Core 1
Knoppix 3.4
SuSE Personal (Shipped and on it's way)

Let the suggestions and recommendations begin.

Regards,
Paul
 
Old 06-11-2004, 09:05 PM   #2
187807
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Re: Disk Partitioning Differences: Newbie Questions

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Fox First off...I want to thank you guys for all the help I've received thus far.

Now, a new question.

After all the reading I've been doing lately trying to get FC1 up and running, I've come to understand that partitioning in Linux is a bit different than I'm used to in the Wonderful World of Microsoft. Let me by hypothetical for a moment. Here are the details of the system I'm typing on at the moment:

Dell XPS
P4 3.0 GHz Hyperthreading Processor
3 Physical Drives: one 120gb Main Drive (c), one 60gb Drive I use for Music (d) and one 120gb Storage Drive (e)
SIIG ATA 133 Serial Controller
Internal DVD Rom and a separate Internal DVD+R/RW Burner
Internal ZIP 250 Drive
1 Gig of RAM
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro GPU
Soundblaster Audigy 2 Sound Card w/Firewire IEEE1394
USB 2.0
Built-in 10/100 NIC PLUS a Separate Gigabit NIC
Nice system...congrats.

Quote:
For the experiment, I want to divide my Main 120 GB Drive into partions for both Windows XP Professional and a Linux Distro (does it matter which at this time?)
No. Linux partitions are linux partitions.

Quote:
As I understand it, Linux can READ an NTFS partition at this time but can not WRITE to it.
From what I've seen in the kernel configs (I run 2.6.6) linux has *limited* write support for NTFS. So there is write support but it is limited to certain situations. Personally, I don't even use it at all.

Quote:
That being said, I'm going to leave a FAT32 Partition in there as well so that leaves me with two...an NTFS Partition for WinXP and a FAT32 partition for shared files between XP and Linux.
Excellent choice. Having a FAT32 to co-communicate files between linux and NTFS is useful.

Quote:
Now, here's where I'm getting a little confused. What is the difference between the types of Linux Partitions? I've seen reference to several, including ext2, ext3, LinuxSWAP (which seems to speak for itself), XFS and another one that I don't recall at the moment...something like reiserfs(????).
Linux Swap is actually a partition type...82h. There isn't a filesystem per se there it's just a formatting method so the OS can use the swap space. The linux filesystems (ext2, ext3, reiserfs, etc.) belong on a partition of type 83h. The differences are in how the filesystems store, retrieve and keep track of data on your disk. ext3 is a journaled version of ext2 AFAIK. I use reiserfs because it is said to be fairly fast and I like it becuase it has a neat name (yeah...I make choices like that sometimes). You can search on the net for lots of things related to the different filesystems. Everyone seems to have their favorite...kind of like football teams.

Quote:
How would YOU, the learned ones proceed? What are the major reasons to choose Ext2 over Ext3? What would could I expect using XFS or reiserfs? Should I actually add a LinuxSWAP partition or let the installer do that for me?
I'm wondering what you're going to be installing. Some distros (AFAIK) will take care of partitioning for you (that is, if you expect to lose anything already on that hard drive). If you want to partition yourself and preserve data you can use partition resizing programs...I've used partition magic for this when I couldn't afford to lose some data. But I prefer to just use linux's fdisk to set up my own partitions (which involves torching any data on them). Regarding the filesystem type that's your choice. For starters you may want to try Ext3 or ReiserFS. You mentioned you were installing FC1? If it's like the RedHat I knew when I used it (7.x) it should be fairly helpful on the install. Again, if you want to preserve your XP data though you may want to resize that XP partition with something like partition magic. With partition magic you could also set up a FAT32 partition. The installer should be able to deal with the free space to set up your linux swap and regular linux partition. I say should because I'm accustomed to setting up my paritions with fdisk (destructive to existing data) and then just tell Slackware where I want to install.

Quote:
I've also seen people referring to setting separate partitions for "/", "/home" and "/usr"...would this be to my benifit or is that more advanced than I need to concern myself with at the moment?
If you're just starting out with linux you're probably gonna be re-installing a few times just to get the feel of it (I did). Yes, you can do all that separate partition stuff for the different directories but I don't. It's much easier for me to just have linux swap and the my main linux partition (with everything).

Quote:
Also, as a rule...I still apply the RAM x2 for setting swap space in Windows but as I understand it, apparently a Swap Partition of 512MB is enough for Linux...is that correct?
I use the 2x rule as well (I have 256MB ram). I've not heard of 512MB being *enough* for any ram configuration. Since you've got the disk space why not use the 2x rule again? 2GB isn't gonna hurt your diskspace situation.

Quote:
As you can see, I have questions and while I will continue to do research on my own here and with the Big G...I thought I'd ask as well.

For the Linux Distros I have on hand:
Fedora Core 1
Knoppix 3.4
SuSE Personal (Shipped and on it's way)

Let the suggestions and recommendations begin.

Regards,
Paul
Good luck with your quest. You'll probably have fun no matter what you do. Also, I am only a *user*. I am in no way any kind of authority so please take my offerings and use them with that caveat.
 
Old 06-12-2004, 01:38 AM   #3
v00d00101
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There are reasons for seperating out your partitions, but i wouldnt worry about it unles syou intend to run web, email, etc, servers. What you really do want to seperate out from the start is your /home partition. Otherwise, everytime you reinstall you will lose all the stored data you've downloaded. If seperated out, all you need to do is not format that partition when you reinstall and create that user again when you've finished. Voila, saved data still intact.

As for the different file systems, use ext3 or reiser. Both will be majorly useful if u crash, if not you'll be fsck'd off after a while.
 
Old 06-12-2004, 08:43 PM   #4
Paul Fox
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Location: Edmond WV
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Quote:
Nice system...congrats.
Yep...nice price tag too! Last PC I'll ever *buy*. I built one for work that we do ALL of our editing on for just under half the price. You live, you learn.

From this point on...if I *BUY* a computer...the only thing I'll condiser is a MAC. I want one bad 'cause I'm tired of being unable to do what I want to do on them due to not know how to *use* them. That's over!


Quote:
There isn't a filesystem per se there it's just a formatting method so the OS can use the swap space.
So from this, I'm gathering it's just a user preference as far as the different partitioning schemes go? Since I'm a beginner...and plan on screwing the Linux area up many times and having to start from scratch...I can attempt one, start over...try another and so forth. The fact that reiserfs is "faster" is cool but is one more reliable than the other?

Quote:
What you really do want to seperate out from the start is your /home partition.
So I'd make TWO linux partitions then after i install, indicate that /home is on partition X and the rest is on partition Y? Just a warning...that may lead to another round of questions

My plan is to completely wipe my Main (C) drive, format and reinstall a fresh copy of XP on say a 30 or 40 gig partition. Leave 30 or 40 gig for the Linux Partition and then save the rest for a FAT32 Partion. The actual sizes my differ from that as I haven't exactly figured out what I want or need for each. As I see it, if I rip a DVD to a drive for whatever reason, the seem to run around 6 to 8 gig on a full backup. A 20 gig partition would suffice for me to test it out on both sides and I could get rid of the data as I'm done with it. All my ripped music lives alone on my D drive anyway and I have another 120 gig storage drive so space shouldn't be a problem.

I think I'll start the process with the format and reinstall of XP and get it up to speed just enough to connect to the 'Net for questions...then get Linux up and running and work from there. I've already backed up all my data so I sould be fine.

Thanks for the suggestions/recommendations. Wish me luck

Regards,
Paul
 
Old 06-14-2004, 06:58 PM   #5
philmie
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Registered: Jun 2004
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So for your fat32 partition are you making it a primary partition, logical or extended? I was planning to make a system similar to yours cause I want to share files between XP and Fedora Core 2 and maybe another distro. Thanks

Philmie
 
Old 06-14-2004, 10:23 PM   #6
Paul Fox
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Location: Edmond WV
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Philmie,

It is set up as the Primary DOS partition but NOT made active. If I understand it correctly, making that the active partition would have had the bootloader looking for an operation system there where there was none.

Also, a tip I learned the HARD WAY. If you come across the "NTLDR is missing, Press Any Key to Restart" error you may be able to fix it by simply running a Win98 Startup Disk, starting FDISK and setting the C Drive (or whatever drive contains your WinNT, Win2K or WinXP OS) and making it ACTIVE. I tried everything I knew to get back to XP during the meltdown and when I did this...Perfection!

Regards,
Paul

Last edited by Paul Fox; 06-14-2004 at 10:26 PM.
 
Old 06-14-2004, 10:35 PM   #7
michaelk
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Quote:
Originally posted by philmie
So for your fat32 partition are you making it a primary partition, logical or extended?
It doesn't matter it can be a primary or logical.

An extended partition in a nutshell is just a container for logical partitions. A method by which one can create more then four partitions (up to 64 for IDE) on a single drive. You can not format or mount an extended partition.

With lots of RAM the 2X rule is outdated. The size really depends on the types applications running and what the PC is used for. A high traffic webserver would need more swap as well as a graphics designer or lots of numeric data processing. A normal desktop user running email, web browser and a playing music or a movie would not use much swap if any. I think 512MB for the normal desktop user is sufficient.

ext3 is an advanced journalized ext2. Its advangates are you can seemlessly convert an ext2 to ext3 without loosing data. All of the ext2 filesystem utilities will still work with ext3. reiserfs is faster when it comes to lots of small files. jfs is faster when it comes to large files. The adantage of any journalized filesystem is its ability to recover from crashes or losing power faster and better then ext2.

If you select the auto partitioning scheme you will have 3 partitions /boot, / and swap. I believe the default filesystem is ext3.
 
Old 06-15-2004, 02:27 AM   #8
philmie
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Thanks guys. I'm all set now.
 
Old 06-16-2004, 12:02 PM   #9
penguin4
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to all on this thread; thanks for your input on partitioning. BIG score for linux users! did i need that YES! thanks again! from an old but newbie.
 
Old 06-18-2004, 10:38 PM   #10
Paul Fox
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Well...here I am again.

I just wanted all of you guys to know that I've managed to actually install SuSE 9.1 Personal and get it working (this time). I can browse the Internet (I'm browsing right now), I can hear sounds and I can printe.

I had problems...the first time I installed I couldn't print or get my soundcard (Creative Audigy 2) to work. I reinstalled and for whatever reason...both work this time around.

Again, thanks to all those who have helped and I'm sure I'll be asking for more help soon. I don't want to be just someone who casually uses Linux...I want to KNOW how to use Linux!

Regards,
Paul
 
Old 06-19-2004, 02:38 PM   #11
187807
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Fox
Well...here I am again.

I just wanted all of you guys to know that I've managed to actually install SuSE 9.1 Personal and get it working (this time). I can browse the Internet (I'm browsing right now), I can hear sounds and I can printe.

I had problems...the first time I installed I couldn't print or get my soundcard (Creative Audigy 2) to work. I reinstalled and for whatever reason...both work this time around.

Again, thanks to all those who have helped and I'm sure I'll be asking for more help soon. I don't want to be just someone who casually uses Linux...I want to KNOW how to use Linux!

Regards,
Paul

Glad to hear it's working for you Paul Fox. Now I need to write a note to Billy:


Attn: Bill Gates:

You have another problem.

Paul Fox has caught the fever that so many of us are already enjoying.

The revolution continues.

numlinuxfans++;


edited: forgot the ";" at the end of the statement

Last edited by 187807; 06-19-2004 at 02:39 PM.
 
Old 06-19-2004, 06:42 PM   #12
penguin4
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To All On this post; that is what linux is about! lets hear it (hip hip hip hurrah) would we ever get this from widows NOOO! just here at linux. feel
like a coach . getin there go get them!
 
  


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