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Re: RFC: Switching guided partitioning to LVM by default?

Geert Stappers <stappers@stappers.nl> writes:

> On Sat, Aug 05, 2017 at 04:06:49PM -0400, Cyril Brulebois wrote:
>> Hi,
>> While preparing some slides for my ???News from the Debian Installer??? talk
>> at DebConf17, it occured to me that we might want to reconsider the
>> default here:
>>     Guided - use a whole disk
>>     Guided - use a whole disk with LVM
>>     Guided - use a whole disk with encrypted LVM
>>     Manual
>> Current default is the first entry, and I think we should switch to
>> second one, with LVM.
>> If the user doesn't need to touch anything, that doesn't change much; if
>> the user wants to change partitioning afterwards, LVM's flexibility is
>> available.
>> Is anyone aware of any drawbacks of switching to LVM by default?
> When we take LVM as default (which is fine for me)
> then we should have the courage to have free PE.
> So not assign all diskspace.
> Advantages:
>  * user gets the benefit of LVM: assigning space to a file system
>  * quicker install ( no formatting/mkfs of whole disk )
>  * no need to shrink /home so space can be used for /srv
> Disavantage, in theory:
>  * user might miss disk space

I don't really have a strong opinion about whether LVM should be on by
default, but when it is, allocating all of the space seems pretty
useless to me, as the ability to extend to LVs is the main advantage of
using LVM, and you need spare to allocate for that.

Of course, if we're going to leave some spare, that is perhaps an
argument against making LVM default, since the most naive user will be
upset when they can only fit 100GB of photos on their shiny new 10TB
hard drive.

We can either decide that they deserve to be educated at that point, in
which case LVM as default is fine with me, or leave them in happy
ignorance by having given them the whole disk on one partition as

I slightly favour the latter, and offering partially-filled-LVM as the
alternative, because if people actively select that option there's a
chance that they'll remember the bit that told them they'll need to find
out how to make things bigger if they run out of space.

BTW what are other distros doing as default these days?

Somewhat Off-topic:

  ISTR that AIX (or perhaps something from SG) of about 20 years ago
  would allocate only enough space for the OS at install, so you'd see
  that e.g. /usr was 100% full, which was initially upsetting, but
  wasn't a problem because if you installed additional packages it would
  automatically add more space to things as needed.  It seemed like a
  really nice idea at the time, although I can imagine that having
  fragmented LVs might be a little annoying.  They also used to copy the
  packages from the install media onto a spare volume, so that you
  didn't need to dig out the, erm, tape probably in order to install
  packages, which gave you something to delete when the disk was full.

  Perhaps we can learn from that? (but probably not quickly enough to be
  relevant here)

Cheers, Phil.
|)|  Philip Hands  [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]  HANDS.COM Ltd.
|-|  http://www.hands.com/    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
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