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Re-partitioning before installing Debian

I'm going to be upgrading an older RH6.0 box to potato (to join my
other two 2.2 boxen) and thus, obviously, reinstalling most software.
Fortunately, I had placed my /home directory on its own partition, so
I don't have to worry about my personal files being touched.
Unfortunately, I wasn't so smart back then as to put /usr/local on its
own partition and now I want to save the stuff I have there before
installing Debian.  I'm fairly sure I understand the process, but I'm
just wondering if there's an easier way.  I was planning to:
1. Make a new partition on the HD using previously 
   un-partitioned sectors.
2. Build a filesystem on the new partition
3. Mount the new partition (maybe /mnt/temp)
4. Copy the data from /usr/local to /mnt/temp
5. Run md5sum on original data in /usr/local; compare 
   with 'md5sum -c <file>' to new data on /mnt/temp
6. Unmount the old partition from /usr/local
7. Unmount the new partition from /mnt/temp
8. Update /etc/fstab to tell it about new partition 
   for /usr/local
9. Re-mount the new partition over the old mount point
10.Ready to do Debian installation
This seems pretty straightforward, but I'm wondering if there's any
way to accomplish this more easily or without explicitly copying the
files (though I can't see how).
Thanks so much for any advice and responses.  
Take care,

P.S. I saved Karsten's posting from last week of his mini-FAQ on Linux
Partitioning and it's going to be really helpful in fine-tuning my
newer partition-scheme (which was already much improved over my
earlier RH one).  Thanks so much, Karsten.

Daniel A. Freedman
Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics
Department of Physics
Cornell University

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