SuSe 6.4 but really Linux question...

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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 10:07 pm

OK, I had a SuSe 6.4 Linux install using KDE for the interface. I added some new drives and now Linux is like system death when it tried to boot. I nearly lost my WinNT partitions because Linux apparently tried to fix the mixup. After I just sigh philosophically and reinstall Linux from scratch tell me how I keep this from happening the next time I move the physical drive to a different location in the boot chain. Also, please suggest a better interface than KDE if you have any preferences. I come from a DOS, DesqView, OS/2, WinNT sort of world. System is in signature.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 11:01 pm

OK, I've nuked the old install and I'm off to install it again from scratch.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 11:24 pm

This reminds me of the old joke about the guy who goes to the doctor and says "Doctor, when I go like this, it hurts!" The doctor answers "Then don't go like that!"

Linux doesn't have a mind of its own. It doesn't try to fix things, much less botch the job. The bottom line is that you made a change to your system and suffered the consequences. Next time you might want to come up with a plan before you start pulling stuff apart.

Linux, like most operating systems, relies on the physical and logical layout of drives and partitions to find things. If you scramble that order, you're asking for trouble. Since I don't know exactly what you did, I can't get any more specific than to say to leave things the way you found them. It doesn't hurt to make backups.

I prefer KDE, but if you must emulate your favorite DOS-Win environments, try these:

DOS -- `init 3' Set it to boot to runlevel 3, without X.
DesqView -- 8-1/2, the Plan 9 window manager, is pretty crude like DesqView X.
OS/2 -- WindowMaker and many others use the old, familiar dock.
WinNT -- KDE can be made to look almost identical to Explorer.


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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Speed on 2002-03-15 22:24 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 2:34 am

Speed, I'm back! I Just got Linux reinstalled. I've been using KDE all along but from remarks in the forums, I gathered many thought it was too Windows-like so thats why I asked what other Linux users like. As to data loss I did not loose any because I realized how it was reading the partitions for bootup. I saw that it was trying to read the NTFS partitions which physically took the place of the Linux volumes and was unhappy and looked to be about to try a fix up. I rebooted at that point. In any case I did have backups of all my partitions so I could have restored them if there were a loss. However, I feel you are being a little bit overcritical.

All I'm saying is that I did not realize Linux was that literal in the fstable (spelling?). If for example this had been a WinNT4 NTFS boot volume put out of place; it would still be bootable but would complain about broken links to software volumes. Then one can simple use the hardrive administration tool to rename the drive volumes to the appropriate letters and everything is hunky dory after a few boots. So I had a plan in that I thought Linux being in a single root partition would just act like WinNT in the same situation and be happy. So tell me if I'm thinking right here. I had a tiny boot partition, swap, and a root partition and I think there lies the problem. The table in the boot partition was pointing to the wrong volumes. If I had installed Linux in a single root volume maybe it would have "worked".

As it was I was adding 4 bigger faster harddrives to my system and moving the WinNT logical volumes to new larger partitions to take advantage of the setup. For example, I stripped a swap partition across all 4 with WinNT's disk administrator and I moved and expanded my old NTFS partitions to the new volumes. But I did not move the Linux partition to the appropriate relative volume and offsets because so far, PQmagic has not sucessfully moved a linux volume for me. So instead of being the second volume in the SCSI chain it was the 5th.

I do run on, sorry. Anyway thanks for the suggestions. KDE is the default SuSE installation and I like it a lot. But I might try WindowMaker just to see how it looks.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mr Bill on 2002-03-16 01:36 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 3:35 am

Mr Bill, I'm not trying to shame you or anything. It's your system. I just don't see it as too reasonable to expect someone else's software to conform to your rules by default. You got lucky when you mixed up your Windows partitions. But that's way different from choosing wisely.

The first thing you need to understand is that Linux is not Windows. Any rules that apply to Windows don't necessarily mean anything in Linux. The next thing you need to understand is what partitions are, the types there are, and how that relates to Linux (and Windows too, if you plan on using both). You refer to "volumes", which has different meanings, none of which really apply here. A computer is a very literal device, so success or failure relies on being precise. You can do a lot of damage with Partition Magic, if you don't understand what's what.

If you have things running now, count your blessings and live with it for a while. Before you try moving stuff around again, I suggest that you read a few of the HOWTOs that discuss hardware, drives and partitions. IMHO it's better to be educated and successful than it is to be unsuccessful.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 2:30 pm

I think you are being very condescending here. But hey, maybe thats your thing, OK? (:-) Lets see there are two main partition types. Primary, only one of which can be visible per drive at any given instance (I've never used more than 3 on one drive if you include the boot manager); and extended. Primary partitions can have only one logical volume. Extended partitions can have multiple logical volumes which DOS, OS/2, and Windows assign as letters. I'll skip over the hierarchy of drive letter assignment by drive number and partition type. Now there are also some specialty type partitions such as the Linux swap partition but I suspect thats just a common naming convention. What it comes down to is just a list of cylinders and offsets in a table in the drive boot record. I don't consider myself to be a MIS manager but because PC's are fun and most people at work don't like to mess with them, I usually take on the job. PC's are very necessary in the laboratory environment to run and acquire data from instruments. I've built new from scratch maybe two dozen PC's and rebuilt or upgraded used perhaps three dozen more used PC's. I used to prefer Fdisk for new disk setups but PQMagic run from an appropriate DOS is way lazy easier. I set up most systems as dual boot DOS-WinNT because DOS can be so useful for maintenance programs and WinNT is most portable if its the second or higher (extended partition logical) volume in a dual boot configuration. WinNT is stable enough to run instruments well and multitasks well enough to be useful for other tasks and its easy to network. I never went the Win9x route beyond Win 3.11 because I think Win9x is just a collection of mouse drivers running on DOS. Instead I went with OS/2 from version two through the demise of version 4 then moved over to WinNT4 workstation. I find that the WinNT systems are relatively easy to administer in the labs that I've worked in or managed. Plus you can usually move a dual-boot configured WinNT boot volume to a new PC with a little care for device drivers and it boots right up and perks along.
I've noticed over the years that most programs are relatively easy to use without a manual because most people are coding the same kinds of programming structures and similar user interfaces. So, I don't think its entirely out of line to guess that an OS will have many characteristics in common with other OS's. You may not think its true but mostly it is in the broader sense.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 2:57 pm

On 2002-03-16 13:30, Mr Bill wrote:
I think you are being very condescending here. But hey, maybe thats your thing, OK? (:-) Lets see there are two main partition types. Primary, only one of which can be visible per drive at any given instance ...


Not to gang up on Speed here, but I agree with you on the first point. As to the second piece, you are both right and wrong. Yes, there a two partition types called primary and extended. However, you are allowed to have up to four primary partitions in Linux, all of which are mountable.

You are correct in assuming that the concept of partitions is pretty global. However, many times they are called different things and may operate in vastly different ways on different filesystems and OS's

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: SecretSquirrel on 2002-03-16 13:57 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 3:30 pm

Say, thats interesting. I just checked a reference, there can only be up to 4 primary partitions on a DOS, OS/2, Win9x, WinNT (maybe for any mainstream OS?) on a harddrive. Then, four primary partitions per drive in Linux is not just a coincidence is it? So, if you can mount all 4 in Linux; thats at the same time? Thats really neat! It suggests some maintenence possibilities. I sometimes make or copy a primary partition for a drive that I'm setting up and then hide them so I don't have trouble with drive order when I reboot. Suppose I had 4 primary partitions on a drive three of which are hidden on a multiboot DOS/WinNT/Linux system. If I were in Linux can I mount a "hidden" primary partition and then read/write to it and have it remain "hidden" when I reboot back to WinNT or DOS? I can envision that as being useful. Thanks for being considerate. I'm trying to fit in with y'all.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 10:34 pm

*sigh* Well it looks like I've been trolled. Mr Bill really knows all about the subject, and therefore had no valid reason to ask. I feel so foolish. If it's condescending to take a person's statement at face value, and answer at that level, then I must be condescending. From now on I promise to limit myself to "RTFM" replies...
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Postposted on Sun Mar 17, 2002 1:34 am

Not a Troll! I tried to ask a question about why Linux behaved as it did and my experience all comes from a DOS OS/2 NT viewpoint. I'll freely admit knowing my way pretty well around those systems. I had a fair amount of time invested in that Linux installation and I hated to throw it away and start over. It took me forever to figure out how to get Wordperfect Office for Linux to install in SuSE.
I tried to be polite and make it clear I was not as ignorant as you suggested, thats all and maybe I blabbed on a bit too much. Man we geeks (me too!) are all so touchy. I am sorry we have conflicted over this and I apologize for the barb about it being your thing. Maybe we can start over in another thread and be more civil to eachother.
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