Guideline for New Linux Administrators: Part XIII

Before Linux Installation  

How do I partition my hard drive before Linux installation? (2)

The listing of partitions that your Linux setup program presents to you during installation will include any MS Windows partitions which you have. For example, I have the following MS Windows partition:
mount pointtypesizecomment
[no mount]vfat1200 MB["Win C drive, hda1]
/mnt/dos_hdd2vfat1600 MB["Win D drive, hdd2]
Don't erase these MS Windows partitions during your Linux installation if you want a dual boot. If you erase the MS Windows partition, MS Windows is gone from your system! If not sure, backup your data from your MS Windows partitions before Linux installation. "msdos", "fat" and "vfat" and "ntfs" are typical filesystems used by DOS and MS Windows 3.x/95/98/NT.
As a quick reference, here is a brief summary of the standard Linux partition types ("filesystems") with a short description. I copied the info from the Linux manual pages: man fs and man mount (with some additions after I had a look at the source code files at /usr/src/linux/fs). The underlined filesystems are the ones that you are more likely to use. Other filesystems (not listed below) are available as add-ons (for example journaling filesystems, compressed, encrypted, ...).
  • minix is the filesystem used in the Minix operating system, the first to run under Linux. It has a number of shortcomings: a 64MB partition size limit, short filenames, a single time stamp, etc. It remains useful for floppies and RAM disks.
  • ext is an elaborate extension of the minix filesystem. It has been completely superseded by the second version of the extended filesystem (ext2) and will eventually be removed from the kernel.
  • ext2 is the high performance disk filesystem used by Linux for fixed disks as well as removable media. The second extended filesystem was designed as an extension of the extended file system (ext). ext2 offers the best performance (in terms of speed and CPU usage) of the filesystems supported under Linux. In short, ext2 is the main (default, typical) Linux filesystem.
  • ext3 is an extension of the ext2 filesystem with journaling. It is backwards and forward compatibile with ext2. It means that ext2 can be converted into ext3 without reformatting or data loss (just re-mounting the partion is required). ext3 can be changed back to ext2, also without data loss. I use ext3 extensively since Oct.2001--it is simple and trouble-free. It is included as an installation "option" since RedHat 7.2 and Mandrake 8.0. It is highly recommended that you use this filesystem.
  • xiafs was designed and implemented to be a stable, safe filesystem by extending the Minix filesystem code. It provides the basic most requested features without undue complexity. The xia filesystem is no longer actively developed or maintained. It is used infrequently.
  • msdos is the filesystem used by DOS, Windows, and some OS/2 computers. msdos filenames can be no longer than 8 characters followed by an optional period and 3 character extension.
  • umsdos is an extended DOS filesystem used by Linux. It adds capability for long filenames, UID/GID, POSIX permissions, and special files (devices, named pipes, etc.) under the DOS filesystem, without sacrificing compatibility with DOS.
  • vfat is an extended DOS filesystem used by Microsoft Windows95 and Windows NT. VFAT adds capability for long filenames under the MSDOS filesystem.
  • proc is a pseudo-filesystem which is used as an interface to kernel data structures rather than reading and interpreting /dev/kmem. In particular, its files do not take up disk space. See man 5 proc.
  • iso9660 is a CD-ROM filesystem type conforming to the ISO 9660 standard. Two extensions (listed below) are automatically supported.
  • High Sierra -- Linux supports High Sierra, the precursor to the ISO 9660 standard for CD-ROM filesystems. It is automatically recognized within the iso9660 filesystem support under Linux.
  • Rock Ridge -- Linux also supports the System Use Sharing Protocol records specified by the Rock Ridge Interchange Protocol. They are used to further describe the files in the iso9660 filesystem to a UNIX host, and provide information such as long filenames, UID/GID, POSIX permissions, and devices. It is automatically recognized within the iso9660 filesystem support under Linux.
  • hpfs is the High Performance Filesystem, used in OS/2. This filesystem is read-only under Linux due to the lack of available documentation.
  • sysv is an implementation of the SystemV/Coherent filesystem for Linux. It implements all of Xenix FS, SystemV/386 FS, and Coherent FS.
  • nfs is the network filesystem used to access disks located on remote computers.
  • smb is a network filesystem that supports the SMB protocol, used by MS Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT, and Lan Manager. To use smb fs, you need a special mount program, which can be found in the ksmbfs package, found at ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/system/Filesystems/smbfs. [Standard linux command "smbmount" will also do.]
  • ncpfs is a network filesystem that supports the NCP protocol, used by Novell NetWare.
  • devpts -- is a pseudo file system, traditionally mounted on /dev/pts. In order to acquire a pseudo terminal, a process opens /dev/ptmx; the number of the pseudo terminal is then made available to the process and the pseudo terminal slave can be accessed as /dev/pts/.
  • fat -- is not a separate filesystem, but a common part of the msdos, umsdos and vfat filesystems.
  • UFS -- is a file system widely used in different operating systems.
  • swap -- is a special partition type used for swapping data from memory to hard drive.
  • raiserfs -- is a brand new journaling filesystem available as standard with Linux kernel version 2.4.1 up (January 2001).
  • hfs (=hierarchical files system) -- MacIntosh filesystem. It is a late beta version., i.e., not recommended for use with critical data, unless read-only.
  • ntfs -- MS Windows NT filesytem. It is still "experimental" under Linux, i.e. not recommeded for production machines, unless read-only (Aug.2001).
some one asks:”The MS Windows partition occupies my whole harddrive. Can I shrink/split it without a re-install?”Possibly. There is a utility called FIPS.EXE on my RedHat CD that does just that. Check the directory \dosutils\fipsdocs\ on your RedHat CD for documentation. If I were you, I would back-up my essential data before doing anything to my partitions. There are also commercial utilities to change the partition size without destroying its contents.
My personal preference is to do a clean re-install of MS Windows on a single, dedicated partition. I leave some space on the hard drive unpartitioned so I can use it for Linux after MS Windows is installed. My fair division of hard drive space between MS Windows and Linux is 50%-50%. Linux programs tend to be smaller, yet Linux includes (as standard) components that MS Windows offers only with many thousand of dollars of add-ons: e.g., servers (not just clients) for ssh, telnet, ftp, http, and mail, several databases, many programming languages, word prcessors, spreadsheets, graphics programs, sound editing applications, statistical analysis programs, a typing tutor, .... I am getting even a small planetarium.[thanks networkdictionary]
You might like also:-       Guideline for New Linux Administrators: Part VIII

                                                 Guideline for New Linux Administrators: Part I

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