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Old 10-02-2012, 04:07 AM   #1
loug002
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Making a home partition to keep stuff on the hard drive when I switch distros


Hi!

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'll give it my best shot.

I'm looking to set up a home partition of about 20-30gb to store my docs, my music, pictures and stuff so that when I hop around distros I'll always have that stuff no matter what.

I'm looking for a new distro too. I feel like I know enough about the terminal to install things using sudo and want to move on from Ubuntu but things like Arch and even Fedora are too..advanced for me and scare me.

Any advice on both, or either.

Thanks!
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:18 AM   #2
Celyr
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There is no problem in doing that, i suggest you to make that partition and mount it on /home so you will have all the users "homes" in both distribution, just make sure you make the users with the same uid .
If you are confident with ubuntu you may try debian
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:21 AM   #3
lou002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celyr View Post
There is no problem in doing that, i suggest you to make that partition and mount it on /home so you will have all the users "homes" in both distribution, just make sure you make the users with the same uid .
If you are confident with ubuntu you may try debian
Sorry, that was me. I have no idea why I posted on that account (I didn't even notice it was a different account!)

yes, but how do I make the partition? I've never done anything like that before.

and I've tried Debian before..I couldn't stand it to be honest. the software was so ollld.

Maybe Linux Mint? or another derivative that isn't just a clone?
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:21 AM   #4
druuna
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About your first question:

I Would advise against a shared home directory. This due to differences between distro's and program information that is written to your home directory.

You can create a mount point (say /data) on all the distro's, put your wanted/needed stuff on a separate disk/partition and automatically mount this when booting the specific distro.

If at all possible make sure that your user (and possibly group) have the same UID/GID on all the distro's. if that isn't possible create a dedicated user/group that is accessible by all. If you do not do this you might end up with permission problems.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:25 AM   #5
lou002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by druuna View Post
About your first question:

I Would advise against a shared home directory. This due to differences between distro's and program information that is written to your home directory.

You can create a mount point (say /data) on all the distro's, put your wanted/needed stuff on a separate disk/partition and automatically mount this when booting the specific distro.

If at all possible make sure that your user (and possibly group) have the same UID/GID on all the distro's. if that isn't possible create a dedicated user/group that is accessible by all. If you do not do this you might end up with permission problems.
And I have no clue what you just said beyond the first sentence.

A friend suggested a separate "home" partition so that i could save my stuff to it and not have to worry about it as I distro hop.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:39 AM   #6
sycamorex
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Druuna is right in saying that sharing a common /home partition might not be the best way out here. Different distros have different user ids, which may result in clashes. I also recommend mounting a filesystem somewhere in your home directory.

- create a partition for your data in gparted
- create the 'data' directory in your home
- add the mountpoint to /etc/fstab to mount it automatically on boot.

If you are stuck with any of the steps above, please ask a specific question.

Last edited by sycamorex; 10-02-2012 at 04:41 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 04:47 AM   #7
druuna
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Hopefully sycamorex reply clears things up a bit.

Maybe these links might come in handy:
- Ubuntu - Manual disk partitioning guide
- Ubuntu - Mount partitions/drives
 
Old 10-02-2012, 05:05 AM   #8
lou002
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They're giving me a vague idea at least that this is looking like a lot more trouble than it's worth perhaps.

I mean I don't have an external drive (can't afford one). the only way I salvaged this machine after windows went ungenuine (and dell/microsoft had a fight over who's job it was to fix) was to change to ubuntu. I've been using it for a year now and I can easily do "sudo apt-get install xxxx" and know what to google when I need a terminal command so I feel like I could move onto Linux Mint or something a little bit more advanced

but then what do I do about the physical (well as physical bits of data can be) stuff on the harddrive everytime I want to move to a new distro yknow?

I bookmarked those articles at least.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 05:12 AM   #9
Knightron
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I also agree with druuna, and actually do exactly what druuna suggested my self.
Many configurations are stored in your home folder, and if you share that home folder around different distros, which use different versions of software, there can be conflicts.
The Gnu/Linux file system is a lot more flexible than Microsofts file system. All a partition is, is a space where files are kept. You can make one of the important directories in the Gnu/Linux file system, (like /usr, or /boot) dedicated to a partition, but it will look and act exactly like an ordinary directory. This is what you do when you make a home partition. There is nothing to say that you can't make up a new directory in Gnu/Linux, as i'm sure you're aware of; well there's also nothing to say that you can't mount a partition into that directory.
Like i've said, i've done exactly what druuna suggested. I have a folder located at, '/data', I then have a symlink to this in my home folder just to make things easy. I don't have a music folder in my home folder, i've a data folder (the symlink) and in there is my music folder.
By doing this, i separate all my files from the Linux distributions i use/try but can access my files on them all without interfering with my user files.

Another tip though. I like to preserve my firefox extensions exactly the same way each time. In your home folder there is a configuration folder called '.mozilla'. I keep this in my data partition, once i've installed a distro, i create a symlink of that folder to my home folder.
This will allow you to keep your firefox the same regardless.

I hope i haven't over complicated things.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 05:36 AM   #10
lou002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightron View Post
I also agree with druuna, and actually do exactly what druuna suggested my self.
Many configurations are stored in your home folder, and if you share that home folder around different distros, which use different versions of software, there can be conflicts.
The Gnu/Linux file system is a lot more flexible than Microsofts file system. All a partition is, is a space where files are kept. You can make one of the important directories in the Gnu/Linux file system, (like /usr, or /boot) dedicated to a partition, but it will look and act exactly like an ordinary directory. This is what you do when you make a home partition. There is nothing to say that you can't make up a new directory in Gnu/Linux, as i'm sure you're aware of; well there's also nothing to say that you can't mount a partition into that directory.
Like i've said, i've done exactly what druuna suggested. I have a folder located at, '/data', I then have a symlink to this in my home folder just to make things easy. I don't have a music folder in my home folder, i've a data folder (the symlink) and in there is my music folder.
By doing this, i separate all my files from the Linux distributions i use/try but can access my files on them all without interfering with my user files.

Another tip though. I like to preserve my firefox extensions exactly the same way each time. In your home folder there is a configuration folder called '.mozilla'. I keep this in my data partition, once i've installed a distro, i create a symlink of that folder to my home folder.
This will allow you to keep your firefox the same regardless.

I hope i haven't over complicated things.
I've never actually created a directory before. I've always just gone with the default with everything when I install.

I'm thinking even asking this question was a mistake, because honestly I'm sitting here with a 'duh *drool sliding down my face*' look.

I mean I understand the jist of what you're saying. Instead of creating a partition, due to how differently ubuntu and linux mint or fedora do things, it would be better to make a directory on the distro I'm using.

but then my question is--what happens to that directory when I switch to another distro? I mean all of my music and documents (I'm a writer) would disappear wouldn't they? That's my main priority and why the friend suggested the separate /home partition.

I suppose it's the fact that it's 5:35 AM on the east coast of the US that I'm not understanding you, but yeah..good thing I posted in the Newbie section huh?

Anyway, what about my second question? Any recommendations?
 
Old 10-02-2012, 05:37 AM   #11
jschiwal
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I rename my home directory just before a fresh install. I have /home on it's own partition. I will copy items I want from the old home directory to the new one. Make sure you don't reformat it on a later install.

The first time, you may need to back up what you want first, so you can re-install with a partition dedicated for /home.

If you install different distributions, you can link the Documents, Downloads, Music and Video directories of subsequent installations to the same directories in the first distro you installed. This will allow you to preserve the desktop configuration settings of each disro but not take up much space on the other distos.

Last edited by jschiwal; 10-02-2012 at 05:38 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 06:26 AM   #12
Knightron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lou002 View Post
I've never actually created a directory before. I've always just gone with the default with everything when I install.
Come on, you serious? You've never entered your documents folder or something, right clicked, selected create new and then folder and then named it something like 'lyrics', 'stories', 'poetry', or something like that?

Quote:
I'm thinking even asking this question was a mistake, because honestly I'm sitting here with a 'duh *drool sliding down my face*' look.
This isn't hard, you're probably just tired or we're not explaining well enough. I think i should note though, that once you've set this up, every time you install a distro, you will have to go with the advanced setup option when you get to partitioning part, but that's not that hard either.

Quote:
but then my question is--what happens to that directory when I switch to another distro?
This is my fault, i've over complicated things. A directory is just a folder. Your home is just a folder right? well when you make a home partition, it's still exactly the same, you still access it the same way, it's just on a different partition; in fact, if you didn't know it was a different partition, you'd think it's just a normal folder.
If you make a folder like the instructions i give at the top of this post, there's nothing to stop you from making it a partition too. My point with that is, you can make any folder access to a different partition, it isn't limited to the default folders in the Gnu/Linux file system.

Quote:
Anyway, what about my second question? Any recommendations?


I'm looking for a new distro too. I feel like I know enough about the terminal to install things using sudo and want to move on from Ubuntu but things like Arch and even Fedora are too..advanced for me and scare me.
If you want to learn a little more, i really suggest Debian for you. You say you don't like the older software, then maybe upgrade to Debian Testing. Debian is a great distribution, but; and I'll probably get flamed for this, but i think heaps of Debian users are dicks; if you go Debian, i think you'll be better off asking help questions here at LQ, the Debian users here are pretty good.

You mention Mint and Fedora. Mint in my book is just Ubuntu with a few tweaks and Fedora might be a good distro to switch to, to learn a little as well, but you have to use third party repositories to get certain software (mainly proprietary stuff) which is why i've suggested Debian instead, also Debian uses apt-get like Ubuntu, while Fedora uses Yum, so at least with Debian, you won't have to learn about another package tool.
If you don't want to learn much, but just want to see what else is out there, maybe try Opensuse, its ease of use is about the same as Ubuntus.

Last edited by Knightron; 10-02-2012 at 06:28 AM. Reason: mucked up quote tags
 
Old 10-02-2012, 06:37 AM   #13
Wim Sturkenboom
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Quote:
but then my question is--what happens to that directory when I switch to another distro? I mean all of my music and documents (I'm a writer) would disappear wouldn't they?
Yep, they will be gone. But they will also be gone when you have a HD crash.

I hope you have a way of backing up your important documents, because you will need backups if you start fiddling with hard disks. It's not said that fiddling will go wrong, but if it does go wrong you will be crying if you don't have backups.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 06:48 AM   #14
Turbocapitalist
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You could still have a separate /home yet make different accounts for each distro. lou002, lou003, etc. That would give you the benefit of having a separate /home yet avoid the (perceived) risks of mixing all the config files in the same space.
 
Old 10-02-2012, 01:31 PM   #15
lou002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightron View Post
Come on, you serious? You've never entered your documents folder or something, right clicked, selected create new and then folder and then named it something like 'lyrics', 'stories', 'poetry', or something like that?
Nope, can't say that I have. There's a documents folder, that's good enough for me. When it comes to Linux, I've been afraid of touching everything.



Quote:
This isn't hard, you're probably just tired or we're not explaining well enough. I think i should note though, that once you've set this up, every time you install a distro, you will have to go with the advanced setup option when you get to partitioning part, but that's not that hard either.

I think it was combination of the two.






Quote:
If you want to learn a little more, i really suggest Debian for you. You say you don't like the older software, then maybe upgrade to Debian Testing. Debian is a great distribution, but; and I'll probably get flamed for this, but i think heaps of Debian users are dicks; if you go Debian, i think you'll be better off asking help questions here at LQ, the Debian users here are pretty good.

You mention Mint and Fedora. Mint in my book is just Ubuntu with a few tweaks and Fedora might be a good distro to switch to, to learn a little as well, but you have to use third party repositories to get certain software (mainly proprietary stuff) which is why i've suggested Debian instead, also Debian uses apt-get like Ubuntu, while Fedora uses Yum, so at least with Debian, you won't have to learn about another package tool.

If you don't want to learn much, but just want to see what else is out there, maybe try Opensuse, its ease of use is about the same as Ubuntus.
I'm going to have to look at Debian and figure out how to get testing then.

---------- Post added 10-02-12 at 01:31 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wim Sturkenboom View Post
Yep, they will be gone. But they will also be gone when you have a HD crash.

I hope you have a way of backing up your important documents, because you will need backups if you start fiddling with hard disks. It's not said that fiddling will go wrong, but if it does go wrong you will be crying if you don't have backups.
I have older versions on google drive and dropbox, yes.
 
  


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