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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks. I need to pick your brains. Recently my Windows 7 install got corrupted big time, to the extent of needing a reinstall, and with not liking the way M$ is going, and having to fight the rash of updates trying to bully me into windows 10, I've decided to up sticks and move to Linux. I basically want to make it me daily driver, and from the quick peek I've had of linux, it'll do the job nicely.

So first, my machine -

Athlon x3 440 (unlocked to 4 cores and overclocked)
Asus M4A78LT-M-LE
8 GB RAM
Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti
Samsung 840 Evo 250GB (this is where I plan to install Linux)
2 x 2Tb HDDs and 2x500GB HDDs (I have a Win 7 install here as a backup, which I'm running on just now)

I think that's the important stuff.

I've picked Linux Mint 17.3 for my install, to try things out. From what i've read, it seems to be the easiest learning curve for an ex-windows user, and having ran it from a USB key to try, it seems to be the case.

I'm at the stage of wanting to install it, and from what I read, it's best to have several partitions for various things. I know you can get away with 2 or 3 (Swap, root, home), but wisdom from a security standpoint seems to dictate having logs (VAR) separate. I was also gonna create a tmp partition too. I'm a bit confused about what sizes to allocate partitions though, and thought I'd get some decent input from you experienced guys and gals.
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currently, the plan is -

SWAP 32GB (I've read you should do the RAM size, But thought having room for memory intensive stuff would be good)
BOOT 1GB (seen 256Mb would do, but again thought room would be handy)
ROOT (/) 40GB (This one, i'm not sure about, I've seen folk get by on only 10GB, but I play with lots of things, so is bigger better here?)
VAR 10GB (Just to separate off logs n stuff)
TMP 32GB (Seen advice somewhere that it should be kept around the same size as the swap.)
HOME the rest of available space. (~117Gb)

Now I know it seems like overkill on some partition sizes, but I really don't want to be reinstalling every 3 months etc, I want a daily driver that'll work for a couple of years between disasters. Also, keeping in mind this is on an SSD, I kinda like the idea of keeping partitions only half full, so wear levelling can work well. So with that in mind, is this a reasonable plan for partition sizes?

I tend to do a variety of stuff on my machine, play with lots of different things. It's mostly a daily surfer, but i can edit video, game, watch movies, do music stuff (think cubase and midi) poke about with hardware (i'm interested to here about any good Linux monitoring tools), do remote support and data recovery, skype, tiny bits of web development, and maybe interested in learning to program (I've had very limited past experience, pascal, basic, etc. Thinking learning C++/C# would be a good idea.). I'd be interested in good Linux versions of the programs I use, and also good guides to WINE, where I might get some windows programs running on Linux. So browser suggestions, music prog suggestions, etc, I'd like them all!
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Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks thestraw0039. That is a little helpful, I may use the info there to tweak the sizes a little.
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Partitioning drives isn't an issue for me, I learned about it way back in the DOS days. It's just something that as a windows user, you dont really need to do often. I'm finding with linux that it seems to want multiple partitions to save any problems. It's just getting the right sizes that has my head in a spin!
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Thanks again.
 

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Yeah I linked it more for the paragraphs on their recommended sizes of the partitions. You sound like you probably have a better grip on it then me,but glad it helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I only have 8GB of RAM, cones. From what I understood, the SWAP partition is kinda analogous to the windows pagefile? So I took it that it would be needed for memory intensive stuff. Does linux not eat up memory like windows then? If not, I may keep a swap and temp partition, but reduce them down to 8GB instead of 32GB. See I thought i'd need loads of doing stuff like editing video or anything like that.
 

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There's no need to keep empty space on every partition with a SSD. As long as the overall ratio of empty (TRIMed) blocks is high enough it will do.

Unless you really need to handle very large amount of temporary files, which I doubt is the case given your description, it's common practice to mount /tmp into RAM/TMPFS.

/boot is a very stable partition and may not see any new data in years. 1GB is way too high. Not a big deal though.

I personally won't try to separate / and /home because it forces balancing capacity in advance. If you ever screw up as long as the file system itself isn't dead you can reinstall without deleting /home.

Some people would even avoid the swap partition and use swap files, which is more flexible (can be resized and remounted on the fly). If you prefer a swap partition, use as much space as you can get away with for it is a good way to ensure OP space, since the swap is guaranteed to be empty and TRIMed when not in use.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Now i'm even more confused, MrKoala! LOL! Linux must use memory really different to Windoze, I'm used to Windoze complaining about not having enough etc etc. And the idea of having temp in RAM, isn't that just eating away at space a program can use? Sometimes I can be multitasking a lot, and have several programs open, so wouldn't having tmp in RAM just eat it up faster?

As for the Swap partition, I thought that was a necessity? I didn't realise you could use a file instead. Does that mean I could run with a swapfile, say in the root partition? I think i'll stick to having a separate home partition though, being a newbie to linux, cos i get the feeling that at some point, i'm gonna screw something up! I'm a tinkerer by nature.
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Linux is very different then Widows, the less you try to compare them when you are new to Linux the better. If you want swap I think it normally only needs to be twice the size of your RAM. There are a few of us on here that do not use it, probably around a 50/50 on if you need it or not. tmpfs dynamically grows, like I said I believe the default limit is half the size of your RAM. While we are talking about RAM I've never ran out in Linux, although I mostly have 16gb, in Windows it would constantly use half or more of RAM. My opinion is Windows just uses it because more RAM the better.
 

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@latelesley: The most important thing you need to do before you install is disable the core unlock and remove any OC you have. Linux in my experience will be extremely picky with any OC and what may be stable in Windows I've seen firsthand and heard plenty of others state will likely not be stable in Linux. On rare occasion I've heard some get away with OCs that wouldn't work in Windows but for the most part Linux will not be as forgiving. So it's best to get rid of the core unlock and OC until after everything is setup.

As for partitioning I rarely bother splitting up the main partitions as I usually back up things to external drives. If you absolutely need to I'd go with a / and /home setup. Unless you're intending to really practice fixing broken installs I can't see a reason for a GENERAL user to do anything more. In regards to /tmp IIRC should be set as tmpfs (mount into /dev/shm usually) and that's really the best setup. They will hardly use more than 1/2 a GB unless you have a serious issue. There are parts of /log and /var that I'm sure are also safe to mount (and maybe some distros do already) as tmpfs. Again, it would take weeks of uptime for a normal user to have enough written to /log /var for it to take up noticeable RAM and it actually would make you notice hardware or software issues because if there is an issue that would be what fills either location fast enough for you to care (IIRC).

With swap; 2x your RAM is the most you need but honestly if you have 8GB+ of RAM you will really need to put effort into trying to run out of RAM. With an SSD in use I recommend using either zRAM or zswap (DON'T USE BOTH TOGETHER) if you feel you need swap. For me, I usually just use zRAM and that works the best even on my laptop which constantly wants swap because 4GB isn't enough to browse the net anymore (or I messed up the cache settings and didn't remember).

Finally, the normal way programs operate in Linux uses less RAM because the programs share more common core parts such as libs than they do in Windows. Basically, if a program needs libx and 8 other programs do as well; they'll all share libx in Linux. In Windows they will each have their own version of libx and so roughly 8x the RAM(and 8x the disk space) is used because each program is using it's own copy. Now, MS has made some changes (especially in Win10) in regards to this but most devs don't; this is why programs are huge in Windows and why they use so much RAM. That said, Ubuntu's Snappy is going to, in a very broad way, replicate that issue IIUC as that is how they'll allow devs to release brand new packages that depend on libs that wouldn't be released for certain releases (IE an LTS won't get libx2 but a dev can now include libx2 in their Snap package).

PS: If you want to speed up your web browser then you should direct its tmp and cache to tmpfs. Big speed up.
 

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Windows pagefile is more akin to RAM cache in Linux. With swap set on, stuff in RAM gets rotated out to disk when you hit the threshold defined by /proc/sys/vm/swappiness (default threshold 60%).

I would say just go with Fedora because it comes with LVM by default so your partition scheme is abstracted. Basically that just means the total available space is seen as a "pool", which means if you mess up the scheme and want to change it, you won't run into the nightmares that you would with standard ext4 partition modification (having to occasionally nuke a partition because it's not in the right place to be modified the way you want it). Later you could also add on the HDDs and RAID them together for the best outcome altogether.
 

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If you're new to linux, it's best to just use the defaults set by the installer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol View Post

I would say just go with Fedora because it comes with LVM by default so your partition scheme is abstracted.
I wouldn't consider Fedora a good distro for beginners because of their strict FOSS philosophy. Too many hoops to jump through just to play a simple .mp3.
 

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What hoops? Adding a third-party repo and getting a file from it is at most two hoops, both of which involve doing something that any user on any distro is likely to encounter anyway
 

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Quote:
Sometimes I can be multitasking a lot, and have several programs open, so wouldn't having tmp in RAM just eat it up faster?
It will, but when you do have enough RAM it will make temp file access much faster and wear down your SSD less.

By mounting a temp path to permanent storage, you're telling the OS "those are less important data, keep them on slow permanent storage no matter what", so you're actually managing the data allocation manually. If you put the temp in RAM and give the system enough swap, the kernel will balance memory load from different data types and decide what goes onto the swap once physical RAM runs low. If temp data is used once and never touched later it will enter the swap first. If your running application keeps some data sleeping that will go instead. The kernel's algorithm is probably better than what you'll do manually most of the time, so just stop worrying and let the system do its job. "Both these application data and those temp files don't need to survive reboot and would ideally stay in RAM, but we don't have enough RAM for it now. Figure out how to manage this mess, my dear kernel."

BTW, if any of this happens frequently, RAM sticks are cheap.
Quote:
Finally, the normal way programs operate in Linux uses less RAM because the programs share more common core parts such as libs than they do in Windows. Basically, if a program needs libx and 8 other programs do as well; they'll all share libx in Linux. In Windows they will each have their own version of libx and so roughly 8x the RAM(and 8x the disk space) is used because each program is using it's own copy. Now, MS has made some changes (especially in Win10) in regards to this but most devs don't; this is why programs are huge in Windows and why they use so much RAM. That said, Ubuntu's Snappy is going to, in a very broad way, replicate that issue IIUC as that is how they'll allow devs to release brand new packages that depend on libs that wouldn't be released for certain releases (IE an LTS won't get libx2 but a dev can now include libx2 in their Snap package).
This is true, but keep in mind that it only applies to the executable itself, not dynamic data generated at runtime. Once you turn on Chrome which you left closed with 50 tabs yesterday... well... you get the idea. It doesn't care which OS you're running.
Quote:
Windows pagefile is more akin to RAM cache in Linux. With swap set on, stuff in RAM gets rotated out to disk when you hit the threshold defined by /proc/sys/vm/swappiness (default threshold 60%).
Windows page file is the straight forward WinNT counterpart of Linux's swap. One can call the page file "swap" and many Windows admins/devs do understand. WinNT has its own RAM cache, it's a different subsystem.

Caching and swapping are two opposite types of behavior. Caching saves hot data in local storage while swapping throws cold data to remote storage. They are not akin to each other.

Very confusingly, there's now a "swapfile" system in Win 8/10 which is basically hibernation for Metro apps.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OK, thanks for all the input Rookie1337,Petrol,Diffident and MrKoala. The tmpfs term is new to me, so I may need your help to set that up. But what I'm getting from you all, is basically I don't need as many partitions. Maybe just SWAP, BOOT (I might get a UEFI board later), ROOT, and shouldn't really bother with HOME. Since I'm so new though, I think I do want to stick to a separate HOME partition. And I don't need nowhere near the sizes I was planning...so how about this -

SWAP 8GB
BOOT 512MB
ROOT(/) 50GB (i'm thinking a little bigger than planned since logs n stuff will be here?)
HOME ~174Gb

And then call in yer help to set tmp n things to the tmpfs (which I take it is like a RAMDISK?)?

And I know you suggested Fedora Petrol, But I think since i'm making the jump from windows, Mint might be a better fit. While i'm not scared of the command line (or shell in linux?), I am a newbie to it, and could get easily lost in a problem. Mint seems to have lots of things at the GUI level, including the package manager, which will probably be helpful till I find my feet, and learn how linux ticks. RIght now, i'm needing a daily driver to get me going on linux. And as long as I can get my video desktop, Web, a few games and midi musical stuff going, that'll be a good start. I'm not the fastest of learners nowadays, so i'll just be dabbling with wee bits at a time to build my knowledge. maybe once i can fix things from a shell, then i'll try something a bit more technical like Fedora, but for now, I think it's too much of a leap. (Considering the only shell commands I kinda know is LS and SU, I've a LOT to learn!)
 

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Well I won't try to sway you but IME Fedora is just as easy to grasp as a distro like Mint. I would still say LVM is worth it for managing partitions in the long run, though that does add a bit of complexity in setup... but storage is a hassle anyway :\
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKoala View Post

Windows page file is the straight forward WinNT counterpart of Linux's swap. One can call the page file "swap" and many Windows admins/devs do understand. WinNT has its own RAM cache, it's a different subsystem.

Caching and swapping are two opposite types of behavior. Caching saves hot data in local storage while swapping throws cold data to remote storage. They are not akin to each other.

Very confusingly, there's now a "swapfile" system in Win 8/10 which is basically hibernation for Metro apps.
In retrospect it was a poor analogy but I was thinking more in terms of disk usage. Linux swap requires a sacrifice partition of fixed size, while pagefile can be set to start really small and scale up later so it won't stand out as a space hog if there's enough RAM to minimize the need for swapping
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol View Post

What hoops? Adding a third-party repo and getting a file from it is at most two hoops, both of which involve doing something that any user on any distro is likely to encounter anyway
For us, it's not a big deal..but for someone that's new, they are better off using Ubuntu that will have popular codecs and proprietary video drivers working "out of the box".
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi folks, right, I have the basics in, really feel like a novice to computers again! Here's how I set up the disk -



Now I just need to go on a steep learning curve to get the stuff I want working. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to get that screenshot! 15 mins! ridiculous! Pass me the dunce cap.
tongue.gif


Thanks for the help folks. Any comments, program recommendations etc will be appreciated. also if I can get flash working, that would help, i have a web pool game i play which requires it. (miniclip)
 

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go here: https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

select .tar.gz from the drop-down menu

when file downloads use tar -xvzf to extract it.

most of the files will be extracted into their respective directories but libflashplayer.so will be dropped into whatever directory you've extracted the tar file into, and that's the plugin file. if you copy that to your browser's plugin directory then it should show up as a plugin you can enable within the browser settings
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by latelesley View Post

Hi folks, right, I have the basics in, really feel like a novice to computers again! Here's how I set up the disk -



Now I just need to go on a steep learning curve to get the stuff I want working. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to get that screenshot! 15 mins! ridiculous! Pass me the dunce cap.
tongue.gif


Thanks for the help folks. Any comments, program recommendations etc will be appreciated. also if I can get flash working, that would help, i have a web pool game i play which requires it. (miniclip)
Mint has a flash plugin in their repo. Install it from Mint's Software Manager/Center or synaptic package manager or whatever Mint calls it.
 
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