[svlug] question re partitioning system

Joe Brenner doom at kzsu.stanford.edu
Mon Jan 28 11:18:01 PST 2002

Darlene Wallach <wallachd at earthlink.net> wrote: 
> I'm getting ready to install RedHat 7.2 on my system. I purchased my
> computer from VA Linux Systems. It came with their modifications to
> RedHat 6.2. It came with a 30 gig hard drive.

> Since I'm upgrading to 7.2 I thought I should take the opportunity
> to repartition my system. 

And later Darlene Wallach <wallachd at earthlink.net> wrote: 

> Are you suggesting that I choose ext2 over ext3?

If you're asking for opinions, I would suggest sticking to
ext2 for now.  ext3 will probably work fine, but ext2 
definitely will.  The primary difference is that if you do 
an abrupt shutdown (e.g. power failure) ext2 will insist on 
spending some time on checking the disk when you restart the
system.  Ext3 doesn't need to. 

But there are some occasional (but thankfully rare) reports
of disk corruption with the new ext3 system.  

> What are the differences between GRUB and LILO? Are there advantages of
> one over the other?

Once again, lilo is older and will definitely work.  Grub is
newer and will probably work (I think it's been in use on
Mandrake for some time). If I remember right, it's main
advantage is that it looks prettier. 

When I did a RedHat 7.2 installation, I ran into trouble,
and tried again with more conservative choices, and got it
to work.  My guess is that the graphical installer was
giving me trouble, and the text-based option works better. 
However, it *could* be that Grub was having trouble for some
reason with my old scsi card and scsi drives.  

In general, my experience with RedHat has been that they
like to make new, whizzy and quite buggy software the
default and let newbies struggle with it, and even the *.2
releases aren't perfectly safe these days.  So my advice is
to be really conservative, stick with the older and better
tested options as much as possible.

> I should be able to use the upgrade option as opposed to new installation?

I haven't tried to do it, but personally I wouldn't think
so, not if you're planning on doing repartitioning.
Shrinking a partition is a tricky business, as I remember
it.  (By the way: you're not thinking about doing any of
this without thoroughly backing up anything you don't want 
to lose, right?)

> It is currently laid out:
> $ df -k
> Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
> /dev/hda3              1517952   1336364    104476  93% /
> /dev/hda1                23990      3475     19311  15% /boot
> /dev/hda4             27432860   4409404  23023456  16% /home

Ouch.  That looks hard to work with all right.  

I'm a big fan of small numbers of partitions these days.  
Currently my box at home is just set-up like this:

   Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use%
   Mounted on
   /dev/hda5             12910920   5462916   6792152  45% /
   /dev/hda1                23302      2361     19738  11% /boot

The trouble extra partitions is that you're dropping a wall 
down on your disk that's going to be hard to move later if 
you realize you got it in the wrong place.  

Looking at Rafael's recommendation:

Rafael <raffi at ark.linwin.com> wrote:

> My recommendation:
> /	150 MB
> /usr	2-4.5 GB [1]
> swap	RAM x 2, 1GB max.
> /var	32 - 500 MB [2] 
> /tmp	100 - 350 MB [3]
> /home	the rest
> /opt	[4]

He's thought this through pretty carefully, but even so he
has to stick in caveats in the form of things like that
point [2] on /var.

But most users don't really want to think these things
trough that carefully, and don't really know what they're
going to be doing with their systems in the future.

For example, suppose you get interested in using the
postgresql database?  Redhat puts the database files 
under /var by default.  All of a sudden that 500Mb limit 
might not be quite right...

Further, Rafael <raffi at ark.linwin.com> wrote:

> In one case I had to manualy configure ethernet card (in rc script)
> because it wouldn't take that from the default Redhat files. I exchanged
> email with VA support and eventualy got response from Rick Moen, who has
> good knowledge about VA linux systems.

By the way, Rick Moen is generally tremdendously helpful
with linux newbies, though he's unfortunately not hanging
out on this list at the moment.  You might try asking
questions on the balug mailing list some time... 

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