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Author Topic: Question about installation  (Read 2971 times)
Belegorm
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« on: February 15, 2009, 07:09:20 pm »

I have a question about partitioning.

So I used the partitioning tool, as I had old partitions I wanted to clean.  Now the thing is, I originally wanted to have it all in one partition.

But in the next step, help described the different uses, "/" home, and swap.

So I figured, that I'd devote about 1/2 to /, most of another half to home, then about 10 gigs to swap, as it's a pretty old 98 computer (if this is a really stupid idea, plz let me know, I am fairly clueless about these things).

However, I noticed the home says "Do not format" by default.  I'm the kind of guy who likes going with defaults (not an expert, you know), and I left it as is.  Is this what I'm supposed to do?

So, from what I understand, the / is for programs (I think), and home is for documents, pictures, etc.  How do I use these?  When I look at the size of the file system, is it going to show me the space of the /, the home, or both?

Plz bear with me, I'm a (mostly) total newb, who wants to recycle an old computer by putting Linux on it (Win98 works fine for what I use it for, except that it doesn't get wireless Internet, which Linux can help with).
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lagagnon
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2009, 07:43:32 pm »

So I figured, that I'd devote about 1/2 to /, most of another half to home, then about 10 gigs to swap

You only need a max of about 2 x RAM for swap. 10 gigs is way too much.
Quote

However, I noticed the home says "Do not format" by default.  I'm the kind of guy who likes going with defaults (not an expert, you know), and I left it as is.  Is this what I'm supposed to do?
That is only the default in case you are installing a new version of VL and want to keep your "old" home partition. As this is a first time VL install you need to format it.
Quote

So, from what I understand, the / is for programs (I think), and home is for documents, pictures, etc.  How do I use these?  When I look at the size of the file system, is it going to show me the space of the /, the home, or both?

Yes, "/" is the root filesystem for the OS and programs. "/home" is the partitoin for each users own particular files.

The command "df" will show you all the info you need on each mounted partition.

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MikeCindi
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 07:45:05 pm »

A few more details about your system would help to provide a more informative response but here are a few things to consider:
1. conventionally, at most your swap partition should be 2x available RAM; if you have a lot of RAM (e.g. 2+ Gb) then a small swap partition would suffice (e.g. 512Mb perhaps); no swap partition can cause problems for some kernel options and applications (or so I've read)
2. VL6 Std full install is <4Gb so for root (/) I personally use a 20Gb partition (on a 120Gb disk) and have <5Gb used (I load a lot of stuff for testing and still don't come close to running out of space)
3. You are correct about the purpose/use of /home but don't have to use a separate partition; for some (myself included) it has some advantage (esp. when you reload you OS often during testing). My current /home is 60Gb and has 31Gb of "stuff" on it. (I really need to clean it up a bit...). If you don't specify a /home partition during setup then it will be place on the root (/) partition. This also has it's advantages esp. if space is limited on your HD.
4. There are a lot of opinions on how to "best" partition your HD but your experience will be your best guide for the future as few will do things exactly like you do.
HTH,
Mike
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bigpaws
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 07:49:53 pm »

All in one partition is the easiest. Since you will also probably be reinstalling a couple times
while learning.

/ is called to root partition is where all of the system files go.

/home is where your files will be located at after you setup a login your
partition will be /home/who ever

Swap if less than 1 gig of RAM then twice the size of RAM for the swap file.
The swap file is used after all of your RAM is used.

The reason for the default do not format is due to all of your program settings are
located there. So after a reinstall you still have all of your settings still there.

The partitions are viewable with their respective sizes.

HTH

Bigpaws
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Belegorm
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2009, 08:17:49 pm »

I see I did make some mistakes... oh well, to be expected.  At least I can try it out first, see if it's faster than Xubuntu before I attempt reinstallation.

So I need to format the home partition?  In what format (reiterfs, if I remember correctly, is the default, used for the (/) partition).

If I was putting, say, games on the system, would it be in the / partition or the home partition?

How do I reinstall?  Just put the disc in and run the installer again?
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bigpaws
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 08:48:24 pm »

Quote
So I need to format the home partition?  In what format (reiterfs, if I remember correctly, is the default, used for the (/) partition).

I would do reformat since you more than likely have a few program changes you
would like to change.

Quote
If I was putting, say, games on the system, would it be in the / partition or the home partition?

Most games go into /usr/local/games/

Quote
How do I reinstall?  Just put the disc in and run the installer again?

You got it, put the disk in reinstall it. Someone new would find reinstall less nerve wracking 
then trying to repair it.

Bigpaws
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Belegorm
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 09:07:52 pm »

I'll reformat it in reiterfs, then.

I think I'll make a swap partition, but not a home partition (I don't really need multiple partitions, really; this computer is mostly used for writing documents for school, and if internet will work, for internet).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 09:11:04 pm by Belegorm » Logged
caitlyn
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 06:37:08 am »

A couple of comments:

reiserfs is not the default nor is it what I would recommend.  ext3 is the default for Linux.  xfs has the fastest documented performance but some tools which let you adjust partitions on an installed systme (like gparted) can't work with it.

Bigpaws is correct that using a single / partition for everything is an easier install but I personally find it far more difficult in the long run.  Vector Linux does not allow for in-place upgrades.  If you install VL 6.0 now and want to upgrade to the next release you have to reinstall.  Having a separate /home partition allows you to retain all your settings and data without having to restore from a backup.  Also, if you ever decide to run multiple Linux distros (try one while you run another) having a common /home can really simplify things.  In general I just plain like keeping data and software separate.

Bigger swap won't speed up your system.  The advice that others gave you to limit swap to 2x RAM is excellent.

HTH,
Cait
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Belegorm
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 09:50:27 am »

Yes, the swap is roughly 2x RAM.

Would programs I add be in the / partition or in the home partition?

I'm not sure I'll reinstall just yet (takes a long time on that computer).  Since it's not my main computer (I usually just use it for writing documents for school, that are usually uploaded as soon as they're completed), I'm not sure I need to worry about saving my stuff whenever I reinstall, or install a different OS.

I'll probably reinstall again later, though.
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caitlyn
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 10:36:10 am »

When you add software using slapt-get or gslapt it goes in /usr or, on a few rare occasions, /opt  Assuming you haven't created separate partitions for either of these those would be under /
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CentOS 6.5 (will try VL64-7.1 soon)

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727,  Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950

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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 03:26:26 pm »

Would programs I add be in the / partition or in the home partition?

I'm not sure I'll reinstall just yet (takes a long time on that computer).  Since it's not my main computer (I usually just use it for writing documents for school, that are usually uploaded as soon as they're completed), I'm not sure I need to worry about saving my stuff whenever I reinstall, or install a different OS.

I disagree somewhat with Caitlyn that having your home directory under / is "far more difficult in the long run." Yes, you need to preserve your data and customizations in /home/yourusername and it's much more difficult if you don't, but you don't need a separate partition in order to do that.

All you have to do is copy /home/yourusername to a Linux-formatted external hard drive and after you've installed a new VectorLinux, you can copy /home/yourusername back. What I do is rename the newly installed /home/mine directory to /home/mine_original and then copy the /home/mine from the external drive to my new VL installation. I always prefer to rename before I delete if there's any question that I might need something. I have done this throughout the VL6 testing cycle and I can be up and running in just a few minutes. I drag stuff over from /opt that isn't part of a default installation, so that saves more time. I have some other things I simply copy over from a backup. It's difficult or impossible to do this with many Windows programs but nearly always works with Linux.

If you don't have a Linux-formatted external drive you need to tar your /home/username directory before copying the file to an external drive, flash drive, or CD. Copying files to a drive that isn't Linux-formatted will result in the loss of your permissions and ownership. Tarring them first preserves permissions and ownership. That's why I always have at least one partition on an external hard drive that is formatted with a Linux file system--so I don't have to bother with tarring.

External hard drives are just about a must-have item these days. The prices have gone way down. I have five of them primarily for backups (Windows and Linux).

As for installing programs, generally they don't go in your /home directory. That's why you install programs as root. Only root can write files to the system. User can write only to the home directory and /tmp. Some programs can be installed in the user's home directory if they don't need to write files to /usr/lib or elsewhere in the system, but then they won't be available for use by anyone but that user.

One reason I don't like to make a separate partition for /home is that it's hard to predict how much drive space you need for each partition. You can run out of room pretty easily or have much more room than you need if you made a wrong decision at the outset or your needs change along the way.
--GrannyGeek
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 03:30:14 pm »

caitlyn,

Why don't you recommend reiserfs? Just curious.

All my internal drives are formatted with reiserfs. I have one or two external hard drives formatted with ext3. I don't really care that much as long as I have a journalling file system.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
caitlyn
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 06:46:11 pm »

reiserfs has a history of data corruption.  It's why Red Hat still won't support it.  I had read over and over again that the problems had been corrected so I tried reiserfs again last year.  Guess what I ran into?
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Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727,  Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950

HP Mini 110 netbook, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, Intel 950 video, VL 7.1
lagagnon
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2009, 07:37:32 am »

I have been using reiserfs for 5 years, and installing in with VL on over 300 computers for a charity without any issues whatsoever.
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StrayBit
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« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2009, 07:55:36 am »

Hmm.  Maybe that's one reason why I'm having so much difficulty, Caitlyn.  Except for one run with XFS that didn't last long,  I've stuck with Reiser.  Apparently I have a bad DL for RC4.6 but I was putting it in Ext3.
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