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Linux, partitioning, exploring

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am sure this has already been posted, but I would rather not hijack another thread. As a bachelors student for Networking, it is probably long past due for me to jump into Linux.

I have a 500GB external hard drive which I plan to partition with Ubuntu, Fedora, and Windows server, while still keeping space for storage.

How much space do Linux Distros normally use? I am sure it is less than windows.

While searching briefly online yesterday, I found that booting linux from disk will allow partitioning, but is there a way that will allow me to do so without burning to a disk? Partition and boot partition formatting tool of some kind?

As a noob to Linux, I am also looking for any insight and potential information links. Does Linux use a different file system than NTFS? (as I will obviously need to format it that way). I have done some reading already about the kernel, and how the operating system works. No need for me to jump into full customization. I am mainly looking for navigation tips (of course, I wont mind just clicking around), what applications might I run into and what they do, and maybe some useful command lines.

I am sure this stuff could be answered through research, but why do that when I have a helpful community that can answer any questions in one shot?

I appreciate the help and I look forward to jumping into Linux smile.gif
post #2 of 29
Linux will typically use ext3 or ext4. It does support other file systems - some of which it can boot from but are either too experimental or outdated to be used as standard, and others in which it can read (and write) but cannot boot from due to them not being kernel file systems (but that's a whole other topic)

I think around 8GB is comfortable for a fairly minimal install - but if you do that, then don't bother having a separate /home partition to / (root). However it really depends on how much or how little you install. Linux is really just a kernel and distros are just different people who distribute Linux plus a selection of software they decide. So there's really no accurate answer to your question there.
post #3 of 29
With size it can be almost any size really... mine;
57

You can see uses extremely little (only about 2.5gb, for the whole system minus my misc files in home). I honestly don't know why I have root/home set to 10gb/ea, just habit I guess. Boot drive is large because I used to boot multiple distro's off the same boot drive so needed the space before.

Although I keep my installs pretty minimal and don't use many large tools. So I would say it depends on how much you intend to install on it, and then how much storage space you want for /home unless you plan to store most of your stuff in a different partition/drive.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
I don't plan to do much on it. It is mainly for exploration, and probably attempting server setups. I figure I might as well begin learning it since I will need it at some point and I enjoy messing around with stuff like this so it is all fun to me.

So coming from people that know Linux more than I do, what might be the best way to get these partitioned and setup on an external for experimental purposes?
post #5 of 29
Also depends on the desktop, many variables. I would say as a beginner plan for it to be about the same size as a windows machine. I usually make my root 20G and /home the rest. That way I can put stuff in /var if I want too, some things have that for building source stuff (kde does). You probably won't need that, you should easily get away with 10-15G off the bat but I just set 20G b/c I have the free space for it. lol
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post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Looks like I will have to do this on my desktop. I was doing some more researching and found out that the hard drives within the computer need to be dsiconnected. I might as well just partition with windows. I will need to find a formatting tool to get the right formats for each partition. Other than that, the installation is the same as windows, with one minor difference I noticed in this thread.

Is there a benefit to creating separate partitions for your boot, root and home directories. Now, as a linux newbie, please correct me if I am wrong, but the root partition is for the admin user, and the home partition is for non admin users. Boot is self explanatory.

What is the benefit of creating separate partitions for those and is it necessary? Would it make sense for me to even bother with that with 2 linux distros, a windows server OS, and storage partitions?

I really appreciate the help so far guys. I have been doing some research at the same time to grasp at least a little bit. Will only learn in time.
post #7 of 29
not really, the only reason I use a separate home is so all save personal data on re-install. I just format root / and re-install, when I get to the setup I tell it to use the partition I've designated for /home and that's that. Your installer should have the partitioning tools for you.
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post #8 of 29
Yeah, you can partition in Windows but during install it'll format for whatever you tell it to ( normally reiserfs in Ubuntu or the latest 'stable' Ext version ).

No it isn't necessary for separate partitions, but it is nice once you get a bit deeper into Linux and like above, reinstalling without loosing your home partition/directory is nice. I would say since you're just learning Linux then don't worry about separating them to make things easier. After you've learned a bit you can try to merge all your boot directories into 1 partition, isn't hard but can be a pain if you aren't familiar with Linux.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
awesome. I will be getting on this soon. Found out that the MBR has a chance to be erased if I do not disconnect the hard drives, and in my asus ultrabook the ssd appears to be attached to the motherboard with no way to disconnect. Once I get the external setup, it won't be a big deal though. I appreciate the help.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdasch3 View Post

awesome. I will be getting on this soon. Found out that the MBR has a chance to be erased if I do not disconnect the hard drives, and in my asus ultrabook the ssd appears to be attached to the motherboard with no way to disconnect. Once I get the external setup, it won't be a big deal though. I appreciate the help.

MBR is easily rewritten to accomodate Windows Boot Manager if you ever decide to go back. Other than that GRUB will be installed to the MBR, which is easier IMO to set up for dual booting than on the Windows side.
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