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Old 12-25-2003, 12:35 PM   #1
emgee
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Registered: Dec 2003
Posts: 13

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Dual boot Debian & WinXP on Dell 4400


Hi everybody--

I am looking for some help in planning.

Specific goal: Set up a Dell 4400 with WinXP-Pro in dual boot with Debian.

More general goals: I want to develop saleable support skills in Linux, at the level of writing office automation scripts, providing user training, etc (I have >10 yrs experience with this in win/dos, including a good bit of Perl work, but none as yet in Linux). I'm going with Debian because the community I'm most likely to be working with is heavy into Debian. I also want to explore the GIMP (I'm at the semi-pro level with graphics work). I expect to be working with OOo, the birds for internet access, and possibly GNU Cash for accounting.

I want Linux access to the internet and to files and printer resources on my second computer (a win98 box). These are currently linked with a hub, Linksys NICs, and peer to peer Windows networking.

I want access to the internet through the existing NIC (another Linksys card), a housemate's router, and cablemodem.

The Dell's HD is currently like so:

Code:
PARTITION | TYPE | SIZE | DESCRIPTION
----------+------+------+------------
  boot    | FAT  | 31Mb | EISA (Dell?)
----------+------+------+------------
          |      | 7.4Gb| unallocated
----------+------+------+------------
    C:    | NTFS |11.7Gb| winXP
The boot partition is proprietary to Dell I think. It was there in the beginning, and others who have removed it from their systems have reported boot problems. I want to leave it alone.

The empty partition was done with Partition Magic v7.02 a couple of years ago. I believe I can use PM to revise this if need be.

I want to split the empty partition into three logical drives like so:

Code:
   Debian: 2 Gb or less
   swap: whatever makes sense
   shared: 5 Gb or more (as FAT32)
I see a big advantage in a large shared partition, where I can put images that I can get to either with GIMP or with the Windows graphics tools I'm already skilled in (PSP, POV-Ray).

Are there any obvious "you can't get there from here" problems in the above plans?

TIA,
emgee
 
Old 12-25-2003, 03:29 PM   #2
XavierP
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The whole set up looks fine - the fact that your partition is already set up will save you a little time.

Good luck and Welcome to LQ.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 09:11 AM   #3
aaa
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: VA
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Quote:
Debian: 2 Gb or less
swap: whatever makes sense
shared: 5 Gb or more (as FAT32)
I think just 2gb is too small for Debian, esp. with big stuff like OO. Swap depends on how much ram you have. It is often said that you should make it 2x the size of your ram, but this is from the days of 64mb of ram. You shouldn't have more than 500mb of swap, and if you have a lot of ram you may not need any.
Quote:
The boot partition is proprietary to Dell I think. It was there in the beginning, and others who have removed it from their systems have reported boot problems. I want to leave it alone.
Search (here & on Google) for a howto on using the XP boot loader to boot Linux, so you don't have to mess with your MBR and whatever Dell may have done to it.
Quote:
The empty partition was done with Partition Magic v7.02 a couple of years ago. I believe I can use PM to revise this if need be.
The Linux installation should be able to do this fine (though I'm not sure how easy it be with Debian). Remember not to make linux partitions with PM, just use it to make space for it.
 
Old 12-26-2003, 10:23 AM   #4
emgee
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Registered: Dec 2003
Posts: 13

Original Poster
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Quote:
Originally posted by aaa
I think just 2gb is too small for Debian, esp. with big stuff like OO. Swap depends on how much ram you have. It is often said that you should make it 2x the size of your ram, but this is from the days of 64mb of ram. You shouldn't have more than 500mb of swap, and if you have a lot of ram you may not need any.

This has helped me a lot with figuring the swap size. I've got 256 Mb ram; I'll use a 512 Mb swap (for aesthetic value).

I pulled the 2 Gb out of the Debian FAQs, which suggest that is sufficient to hold every Debian package, including ones that are mutually exclusive. But I guess from what you are saying that's only for a barebones system, and apps like OOo, POV-Ray, and the GIMP would be additional requirements?

Does someone have a table of sizes of commonly used apps? Would it even be possible to make such a table?

Anyway, I'll see what I can do about doubling the space for Debian & apps to 4 Gb.

Looks like I need to go back into PM and juggle partition sizes. Maybe move all my data out of the winXP NTFS and onto a ~20 Gb VFAT logical. I think that would let me get to any data file from either winXP or Linux.


Quote:
Search (here & on Google) for a howto on using the XP boot loader to boot Linux, so you don't have to mess with your MBR and whatever Dell may have done to it.

The Linux installation should be able to do this fine (though I'm not sure how easy it be with Debian). Remember not to make linux partitions with PM, just use it to make space for it.
Very useful pointer-- I'm off to read up about XP boot loader (funny thing; the MS documentation talks only about using this for older versions of Windows and DOS...)

Thanks for the help

--
emgee
 
  


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