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Re: Corel/Debian Linux Installer

Christopher W. Curtis <ccurtis@aet-usa.com> wrote:

> The biggest problem with partitioning is planning.  How much space
> do I need?  How much should I allocate?  Is it enough?  Too much?
> Should I reserve 5% for root or not?  These are questions that the
> new user, and even experienced users, would most likely prefer not
> to deal with.

> So how do we make the debian install better?  The answer, at least
> to me, seems simple: Do not make disk partitioning priority one.  It
> is not; don't force it as though it were.  Leave partitioning to
> later; for example, until _after_ they have chosen the software to
> install.

This is principally correct, BUT:
- The new user doesn't really know what he wants (he also doesn't know 
  when he selects the packages to install).  So it may be a not too
  bad choice for the new user to use not too many partitions.  With
  less partitions the free space will always be on the partition where 
  you need it.  I'm not fully sure whether this is the optimal way for 
  all new users (I personally prefer many partitions), but when
  talking with some not so advanced users I found out that they prefer
  one single partition over many (wrong divided) partitions...
- The advanced user knows much better how he wants, what partitions he 
  needs in which sizes on which machine. He knows this much better
  than any program will do.

> One there is a list of packages to be installed, the installer knows
> how much disk space will be needed.

The installer knows how much /usr space is needed, but it doesn't know 
anything about the needed size of /var, /usr/local, /opt, /home,

> The .deb format doesn't allow this, but it would also be good if
> information could be kept as to how much space these packages
> require in /var.

How should a program find out, whether for example INN should handle
10 news groups with one week expire or whether a full feed news server
should be run?  Same for packages like wwwoffle: It strongly depends
on the configuration how big the cache becomes.  So deciding which
package needs how much space on /var is Woodo, nothing more.

> With this information, the debian install can say, "I see what you
> want to do, and I think this is a good disk layout for you.
> Accept/Resize".

I don't think that an intelligent advice is possible here.

> Also, I would like to try to emphasize filesystem layout on the
> partitions so that they can be used most effectively:

> /     -- small, 32-64MB, mounted readonly, 0% reserve
> /etc  -- small, 16-32MB, mounted read-write, 0% reserve
> /usr  -- dependent on packages selected, readonly, 2% reserve
> /var  -- dependent on packages selected, read-write, 5% reserve
> /opt,/usr/local -- medium, read-write, 2-5% reserve
>      I say read-write for /usr/local/var, etc.
> /home -- remainder, read-write, 2% reserve (assume large)

Do you really think that a new user (coming from Windows and maybe
using other OS in parallel on the same hard disc) will install 7
partitions (swap, /, /etc, /usr, /var, /usr/local, /home)?  Most
people won't have so many partitions available for Linux.

And the advanced user may prefer a different partition scheme (I
personally prefer: swap, /, /usr, /usr/local, /var, /home,
/usr/local/src, /usr/local/bak), so your advice won't fit the advanced 
user's needs.

> the rest are just eh guidelines that I've used in the past and which
> have worked well.

And every other advanced user has this own priorities and doesn't want 
to change them...

> And then configure while installing in the background, like
> OpenLinux.  That is very slick.

Yes, that would be great.



 * roland@spinnaker.de * http://www.spinnaker.de/ *
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