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Old 3rd March 2015, 22:31   #31 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiddleEarth View Post
I make three partitions for all my installations:
root (/), home (/home), and swap (linux-swap).
I use ext4 for the root and home partitions and linux-swap for swap.
I find it interesting that you separate your Home Directory, I have never chose to do that. I have read pros & cons on the practice and can see no big advantage for myself and the way I use my distros. For me having 4 distros on the same hard drive it could indeed be advantageous to have a centralised Home Directory but on the flip side there could/would be issues with SOME application config files.

The first install automatically created the swap partition of which I just accepted the default size all subsequent installations recognise it's existence and use the same.

I do think it is a good idea to partition a large hard drive, for several reasons but not least the fact that there is no need to make the disk reading arm fly back & forth over a 500Gb drive when 100 should be more than adequate for most users. Your guidance on the use of GParted is worth noting.

But we are making this installation process sound more complicated than need be. Three days ago I installed Mint XFCE on a desktop for the wife. Having tested the hardware would be fine by running the LiveCD I hit the install icon. There was no operating system on the hard drive whatsoever, it had been donated by a friend who had completely blanked the drive.

If you are reading this Arthur thanks very much, it's great, Marie is watching her TV on it as I write and enjoying the much better screen.

As soon as the 20 minute install started I called the wife for her choice of Username & Password. Wishing to dedicate the whole drive there were no choices needed to be be made, Click YES YES YES. I punched in the wife's choices and selected our global location, hit the next button & sat back with a smug look on my face, saying to the wife "That's all there is to it . . . A child could do this". In my cavalier attitude to the task I hadn't noticed I had inadvertently pressed the caps lock. Don't you look an idiot when the system keeps rejecting the password you have set 15 mins before!
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Old 3rd March 2015, 23:37   #32 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

linux has proven to me that all I do really is go on the internet. i bet most people do. i would have soldiered on with xp to be honest because i would not have paid for an upgrade but i was worried about having out of date windows. i have a friend who was going to upgrade my windows but i am a worrier so i refused. i am so relieved now that i am upgraded and everything is legal. the things you geek people discuss is well over my head so i will leave it as it is now. working and doing my internet. tv. Skype and ebook reader. i am in heaven people and thank you all. i cant believe i have done all this on my own.
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Old 4th March 2015, 08:25   #33 (permalink)
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Red face Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by okedokenow View Post
linux has proven to me that all I do really is go on the internet. i bet most people do. i would have soldiered on with xp to be honest because i would not have paid for an upgrade but i was worried about having out of date windows. i have a friend who was going to upgrade my windows but i am a worrier so i refused. i am so relieved now that i am upgraded and everything is legal. the things you geek people discuss is well over my head so i will leave it as it is now. working and doing my internet. tv. Skype and ebook reader. i am in heaven people and thank you all. i cant believe i have done all this on my own.
Hurrah for you!
The "geek people" like to hear the sound of their own voices while the rest of the world get on with the business at hand. I am pleased to hear your success with Linux. If any of us can confuse you further with comments, feedback, advice or just plain talk, please let us know.
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Old 4th March 2015, 09:56   #34 (permalink)
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Cool Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akbuk Rob View Post
The first install automatically created the swap partition of which I just accepted the default size all subsequent installations recognise it's existence and use the same.

But we are making this installation process sound more complicated than need be. Three days ago I installed Mint XFCE on a desktop for the wife. Having tested the hardware would be fine by running the LiveCD I hit the install icon. There was no operating system on the hard drive whatsoever, it had been donated by a friend who had completely blanked the drive.

As soon as the 20 minute install started I called the wife for her choice of Username & Password. Wishing to dedicate the whole drive there were no choices needed to be be made, Click YES YES YES. I punched in the wife's choices and selected our global location, hit the next button & sat back with a smug look on my face, saying to the wife "That's all there is to it . . . A child could do this". In my cavalier attitude to the task I hadn't noticed I had inadvertently pressed the caps lock. Don't you look an idiot when the system keeps rejecting the password you have set 15 mins before!
I took the extra step of creating root - home - swap partitions and, including the download time for the XFCE 32-bit iso file, I was finished in less than an hour. Of course I did not have to ask the Missus for her choices since this was a laptop I will use for travel.

I too have had the red face of foolishness with caps lock on.
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Old 4th March 2015, 10:08   #35 (permalink)
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Wink Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akbuk Rob View Post
I find it interesting that you separate your Home Directory, I have never chose to do that. I have read pros & cons on the practice and can see no big advantage for myself and the way I use my distros. For me having 4 distros on the same hard drive it could indeed be advantageous to have a centralised Home Directory but on the flip side there could/would be issues with SOME application config files.

I do think it is a good idea to partition a large hard drive, for several reasons but not least the fact that there is no need to make the disk reading arm fly back & forth over a 500Gb drive when 100 should be more than adequate for most users. Your guidance on the use of GParted is worth noting.
Never let it be said that I write 10 words when a thousand are available.

There are many arguments on forums for and against creating a separate home partition. For a new user, who is just getting comfortable with Linux the standard install may be just fine, as long as their essential personal data files are backed up in a safe place. Later, if they attempt another installation, they can attempt to make a separate home partition. Every tutorial I have encountered someone recommends the root - home - swap partitions, and, there is always someone who says it is not necessary. I think it a good idea.

NOTE: "geek" stuff follows...

For the "geek" crowd out there I believe that partitioning home from system files is a good idea whether using Linux or Windows. I always partitioned XP into C:\ (system) and D:\ "My Documents" (/home) and had a separate partition for the page file (virtual memory). Partitioning saved me once on Win XP when the Missus clicked on a virus link which ate the system. I could not recover anything on the system (C:\) but all my data on (D:\) was intact. I was not so rigorous about making backups then, so some of her business data would have been lost had I not had an intact, and separate, "My Documents" (/home) partition.

In the case of Mint Linux, if you are really short of disk drive space, make a 10 GB root (/) or system directory, you will be very unlikely to fill it; ever, and certainly not before you upgrade to a new version or change distributions such as from Mint to Ubuntu or to Debian or others, I have NEVER filled up a root partition. That being said, I recommend 20 GB. I currently have 6.9 GB of system files on my Lenovo for example. If you have a new computer with 4, 6, or 8 GB of RAM, a swap file will seldom be used but Linux requires one. If you have 1 or 2 GB of RAM, make the swap file at least 4 GB in size.

When I upgrade from one Mint version to another, I have simply reformatted the root (/) partition, installed the new version and all my configuration files, personal files, and desktop customisation settings are intact. This should be true for any Debian-based system such as Ubuntu.

How large should I make root, home, and swap partitions?
You would often use a separate home in situations where you want to use:
Situations where your data needs to be safe in the case of a drive failure/upgrade (most normal installs are safe)


A separate /home is useful if you dual boot between two Linux distributions, such as if you do development or test for a distro. It also makes it easier to do a clean install without wiping out your /home and having to restore from backup.

Partitions: Planning Your Linux Installation-Guide to Linux for Beginners
This is the place where all the user-specific files, your data in other words, are stored. It is roughly equivalent to the “My Documents” folder on a MS Windows desktop (if you have MS Office installed). On a multi-user system, each user will have her own directory under /home.

Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to create a separate partition for /home. If you do not, it will reside on the root partition like everything else.

The reason I recommend creating a separate partition is that you are a new user. You are going to want to play with things, experiment, push the limits of your system. Before long, you will break something so badly that you will need to reinstall, or you’ll just want to reinstall with different options, or try a different Linux distribution. Having /home on a separate partition makes it very easy to wipe out and reinstall Linux without losing any of your data.


Why put things other than /home to a separate partition
Another good reason for keeping /home separate is that it lets you reinstall your system and/or switch distros freely without losing your personal files.

Why creating partitions in linux is good solution for easy recovery
You install your favourite linux distribution on entire disk i.e. without any partitions:
Suppose your system is crashed because operating system is unable to access some sectors and unable to boot. You lost some chunk of data due to bad sectors and because of that you might be unable to access other chunks of data in your hard disk. Bottom line is that some bad sector is affecting your entire data. So recovery here is probably harder than if you were to use multiple partitions for different category of data.

say that i have crashed my system (consider it an os problem) and system does not boot, i could reinstall my system without touching my home partition so, partition home is isolated and safe. Other benefits are as follows:
  • less amount of time in file system check.
  • freedom to choose different file systems.
  • protection of file systems.
  • ease in repairing file systems by pin pointing to the problematic file system.

Lack of partitions is a common cause for needing recovery in the first place.

A partition table is the most common or standard way to declare that the disk is in use (and thanks to various partition types, it usually also declares what exactly each partition is used for).

An unpartitioned disk looks like an unused disk to many programs; installers select them for installing; partitioners create partition tables on them; it's easy to get damage in your filesystem
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Old 4th March 2015, 12:38   #36 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

You make your case well MiddleEarth but from another perspective . . . .

"How large should I make root, home, and swap partitions?"
Decrease "swappiness" from 60 to 10 or even 5 if less than 1gb RAM in system.
Mint and Ubuntu's inclination to use the swap, is determined by a setting. The lower the setting number, the longer it takes before Mint starts using the swap. On a scale of 0-100, the default setting is 60. Which is much too high for normal desktop use, and only fit for servers.

To check the swappiness value use command: cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
To change the setting: gksu gedit /etc/sysctl.conf
Search for (or add if it isn’t there) “vm.swappiness” and change it to:
vm.swappiness=10 (Kicks in after next reboot).

Reducing swappiness will inevitably mean the swap partition will be used less and the system will not slow down when RAM is asked to do a bit of work. Ergo no need for the swap partition to be oversized.

Should I create a separate home partition?
16. No. I advise against a separate home partition: it only makes things more complicated, while offering no extra safety at all.

You always want an external backup of your documents, on an external device. A separate home partition is still part of the very same hard drive that all the other partitions are on. And they all die when the hard drive dies....

Plus you'll want to erase most of the old application settings anyway, before upgrading or re-installing. Because some of them may cause malfunctions in the new Ubuntu version.

The settings that you do want to keep, can easily be copied to an external device and then transferred back into a new installation. So a separate home partition causes more trouble than ease of use...
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Old 4th March 2015, 16:17   #37 (permalink)
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Wink Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akbuk Rob View Post
You make your case well MiddleEarth but from another perspective . . . .

"How large should I make root, home, and swap partitions?"
Decrease "swappiness" from 60 to 10 or even 5 if less than 1gb RAM in system.
Mint and Ubuntu's inclination to use the swap, is determined by a setting. The lower the setting number, the longer it takes before Mint starts using the swap. On a scale of 0-100, the default setting is 60. Which is much too high for normal desktop use, and only fit for servers.

To check the swappiness value use command: cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
To change the setting: gksu gedit /etc/sysctl.conf
Search for (or add if it isn’t there) “vm.swappiness” and change it to:
vm.swappiness=10 (Kicks in after next reboot).

Reducing swappiness will inevitably mean the swap partition will be used less and the system will not slow down when RAM is asked to do a bit of work. Ergo no need for the swap partition to be oversized.
In the interest of not getting too "geeky" I had not mentioned this. For a low memory machine this is a good thing to do. My new Lenovo purrs for weeks on end without shutdown and has yet to touch the swap. I also have 8 GB RAM. Correctomundo dude.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akbuk Rob View Post
Should I create a separate home partition?
16. No. I advise against a separate home partition: it only makes things more complicated, while offering no extra safety at all.

You always want an external backup of your documents, on an external device. A separate home partition is still part of the very same hard drive that all the other partitions are on. And they all die when the hard drive dies....

Plus you'll want to erase most of the old application settings anyway, before upgrading or re-installing. Because some of them may cause malfunctions in the new Ubuntu version.

The settings that you do want to keep, can easily be copied to an external device and then transferred back into a new installation. So a separate home partition causes more trouble than ease of use...
Great site you linked to, thanks.

I quote myself "There are many arguments on forums for and against creating a separate home partition."

"erase most of the old application settings anyway"? Probably not.
A new user may not want to customise their desktop all over again. I do it, you probably do it also I suppose but then we like this boring "geek" stuff.

"Because some of them may cause malfunctions in the new Ubuntu version."? The author does not state what malfunctions they speak of. I used to carry over all my old home settings and have gone through a lot of updates. The newer versions, sometimes, created a new directory for configuration settings, I have never had a "malfunction" because I did this. Disagree on that one.

The big IF is IF a person keeps regular backups. IF a person updates or changes distros within the Debian family (for example) conflicts are so rare as to be meaningless.

We will probably agree to disagree on this. If I were training a new user, my advice would be to walk them through the separate home partitioning until they were comfortable and had taken good notes for future reference.
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