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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 01-07-2007, 12:19 PM   #1
whitelamp
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Registered: Jan 2007
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How should I go about partitioning my drive before installing linux?


I have partitioned my windows installation already, so that isnt an issue.
I plan on installing FC6 and Ubuntu 6.10 for my two linux distros.[Possible 3rd distro]
However, I'm unsure on how I should go about partitioning my harddrive.
I plan to first turn my unallocated space on my hardrive (71.49 GB) into an extended partition,
...I dont know what size I need to create for /,/boot,/usr,/tmp,/home,/var,/swap as im going to be using 2 [possible 3rd] linux distros and also booting with windows.
This computer is going to have a max of 3 people using it.
I've read some guides and stuff about what do, and it seems as if partitioning your harddrive for linux is the hardest thing to do.
What I'm planning to do is this [In gparted livecd before installing linux]:
1. Turn the unallocated space into an extended partition.
2. Create a 10 GB /home partition (ext3)[Where will each user store his/her files?]
3. Create 1 GB fat32 partition [Transfering files b/t windows and linux]
4. Create a 1.5 GB /swap partition [Should this be 1 GB as i have 1 GB of ram?] (linux swap)
5. Create a 64 MB /boot [What file system and how big should this be?]
6. Create a 10 GB /usr [Again what filesystem? ext3?]
7. Create 10 GB / [Can someone explain what this partition is and how much space it needs? ext3?]
8. Create a 1-6 GB /tmp [How big should this be/is this used for temp files? ext3?]
9. Create a 2 GB /var [How big/ext3?]

...But I dont understand where to install the distros because im using more than one. I want to keep personal files seperate from the linux os so I can access them on whatever distro im going to be using. Should I create a /home partition for each user? Bah...all this stuff is confusing...I can why this is the hardest part in switching to linux.
Thanks in advance.
 
Old 01-07-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
handydan
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Location: palmdale, california
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A little help (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelamp
I have partitioned my windows installation already, so that isnt an issue.
I plan on installing FC6 and Ubuntu 6.10 for my two linux distros.[Possible 3rd distro]
However, I'm unsure on how I should go about partitioning my harddrive.
I plan to first turn my unallocated space on my hardrive (71.49 GB) into an extended partition,
...I dont know what size I need to create for /,/boot,/usr,/tmp,/home,/var,/swap as im going to be using 2 [possible 3rd] linux distros and also booting with windows.
This computer is going to have a max of 3 people using it.
I've read some guides and stuff about what do, and it seems as if partitioning your harddrive for linux is the hardest thing to do.
What I'm planning to do is this [In gparted livecd before installing linux]:
1. Turn the unallocated space into an extended partition.
2. Create a 10 GB /home partition (ext3)[Where will each user store his/her files?]
3. Create 1 GB fat32 partition [Transfering files b/t windows and linux]
*Any installer should be able to do this at install time.*
4. Create a 1.5 GB /swap partition [Should this be 1 GB as i have 1 GB of ram?] (linux swap)
*1.5 should be plenty as long as you are not running psychotically memory intensive apps.*
5. Create a 64 MB /boot [What file system and how big should this be?]
*again, istaller should allow you to do this. EXT3 is a good general purpose default, basically it is just ext2 w/ journalling, AFAIK*
6. Create a 10 GB /usr [Again what filesystem? ext3?]
*As above, ext3 is good.*
7. Create 10 GB / [Can someone explain what this partition is and how much space it needs? ext3?]
*Not sure I understand what you are asking here. / is "root", the "base" of the rest of the file tree.
8. Create a 1-6 GB /tmp [How big should this be/is this used for temp files? ext3?]
9. Create a 2 GB /var [How big/ext3?]
*Not too sure why you want separate partitions for these, other than managing logs, etc.
...But I dont understand where to install the distros because im using more than one. I want to keep personal files seperate from the linux os so I can access them on whatever distro im going to be using. Should I create a /home partition for each user? Bah...all this stuff is confusing...I can why this is the hardest part in switching to linux.
Thanks in advance.
After installing your last (2nd) distro, you can manually edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file so that all distros are shown at boot time. I guess I just don't see why you would want to do all the partitioning first. But I have no doubt that there are many people here who know far more than I do.
I have, however, had as many as 6 distros booting on one box, so I know this stuff can be done...
Hope this helps, and I hope the more knowledgable forum gods will weigh in.
 
Old 01-07-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
whitelamp
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Registered: Jan 2007
Posts: 5

Original Poster
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I know how to create the partitions, but I am unsure of the size for each/and if I need more than one home partition as this is going to be a somewhat multiuser system. [3 people (not including root)]
...Wont I problems partitioning/moving/resizing/deleting if install linux first?

Last edited by whitelamp; 01-07-2007 at 02:47 PM.
 
Old 01-07-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
handydan
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Location: palmdale, california
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelamp
I know how to create the partitions, but I am unsure of the size for each/and if I need more than one home partition as this is going to be a somewhat multiuser system. [3 people (not including root)]
...Wont I problems partitioning/moving/resizing/deleting if install linux first?
OK, sizes. /boot doesn't need much room. 250 megs ought to be way plenty. / will depend on your particular installation, but in my experience, 3 gigs is plenty.
You should not have any trouble installing your second linux distro if you leave enough unallocated space for what ever partitions you will need.
Hope this help!
 
Old 01-07-2007, 04:01 PM   #5
stairwayoflight
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CORRECTION:
Quote:
Make sure you do not have a separate partition for /boot. Things look better in GRUB if you keep /boot in the root partition.
this is in reference to a multiboot setup with windows, from http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-mini/...with-GRUB.html

whitelamp,

welcome!

correct me if i am wrong, but i am hearing that you want this to be painless, no? the level of complexity you must choose depends on what you want to do.

i don't know the fedora installer, but the ubuntu installer lets you 'use the remaining space' on the drive, and will automagically calculate partition sizes for you. one thing to realize is you probably don't want to share too much in terms of partitions unless you know what you are doing.

i will put my suggestions in order, the simpler first.

1) don't share any partitions. you can create a placehoder partion taking up half of available space in fdisk (eg. from ubuntu livecd, but not installer program). exit, and install ubuntu telling the installer to auto partition available space. it can put ubuntu in one partition + a swap partition.

from the ubuntu boot, use fdisk again to remove the dummy partition. now install fedora, that should allow you to do the same (use the remaining space). that is a suggestion to avoid errors from partition resizing.

don't forget handyman's advice about editing your menu.lst.

2) share swap. the fedora installer should let you select the swap created by the ubuntu installer.

3) user's home directories. these should be seperate for fc6 and ubuntu. (ie. fc6 home directory should not be the same place as ubuntu. that is different from saying the home directory should live seperate from the system.) this will be the case already if you installed as i suggested. the reason is your applications aren't guaranteed to be 100% compatible between distros, and if you change settings that may be reflected in the . files stored in the home directories. but you may want your 3 users to have a consistent access to data (docs, mp3s, etc.) between the 2 distros.

figure out a good size for all the storage, and create a partition for it. if you change linux distros and keep this, it will remain which is good news. you can symlink from the home directories to the users' directories on the data partition. not directly, but a la /home/suzy/doc-->/data/suzy/doc etc. if you create this partition first, stick it at the end. then create a placehoder from fdisk carving the remaining space in 2, and the rest of the install as above. don't forget to 'chown -R suzy /data/suzy', then users can access data.

if you want get picky about your swap, others may have relevant comments but i hear 2 * ram is the rule, though i wouldn't go over 1.5gb.

ext3 is a good filesystem. i wouldn't pick anything else without good reason. also, plan to make backups of critical data. either get a 2nd hard disk or use optical media.

4) special usage cases. ask yourself if you want to run any kind of server. i don't know much about this, but email servers i believe use /var, logs are stored there and so on. the reason to separate system partitions from the main one is in the case that users take all available storage--the system can't operate. (eg. emails don't get stored.)

there may be more that can be safely shared, but you may want to get more comfortable with linux before attempting that (it seems you want this to be usable;-).

beyond that, if you don't need enhanced security or any kind of server, i don't think there is a convincing reason for a beginning linux user to use seperate partitions for everything. unless you just want to run it like an enterprise machine.

disclaimer--most people here know more than me ;-)

Last edited by stairwayoflight; 01-07-2007 at 04:32 PM.
 
Old 01-07-2007, 04:13 PM   #6
rickh
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No matter what distro you choose, the installer should offer to partition the free space on the disk ... You will generally get an option to allow the installer to allocate it's own partitions or to manually allocate them. Doing it beforehand is a waste of time and effort.
 
Old 01-07-2007, 04:57 PM   #7
stairwayoflight
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ricky is right.

and to explain about the placeholder idea: a given distro is going to do a pretty good job of allocating the right amount of space for partitions, that way you don't have to worry about it. but afaik an installer will generally only do this with the remaining available space, not half of it.

fdisk /dev/hda (or your drive)

when fdisk asks for the start of the partition, just hit enter for default. the default for the end would use the whole space, so instead enter something like

+35g

that will tell it to make a 35g partition (50% of 70g) starting at the beginning of empty space.

then install ubuntu calculating the partition size automagically. delete the dummy partition in fdisk and install fedora the same way.

if you've never used it, after starting fdisk p prints the partition layout and m lists available commands. d deletes, w writes changes, and q quits without writing. make sure the volume isn't mounted first, ie. make sure /dev/hda* doesn't show up with a
Code:
mount
when /dev/hda is the drive you're working with in disk.

good luck.
 
  


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