Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

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Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:54 pm

I'll be using Linux as the main OS on my new system, but haven't settled on a distribution. I'm somewhat of a "power user", but really not experienced with Linux, and would like one that is geared toward setting up virtual machines. "What distribution should I use?" seems to be the worst web search term to try with about the same seven or eight distros being discussed like they were matches for a personality test.

Are there any good sites that cover this? I tried rummaging through DistroWatch, but it seems more like a site to keep tabs on updates for the distribution you already use. Did I miss something on there?
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:26 pm

DistroWatch is about as close as you'll get as far as popularity, though like any web popularity contest it's not a reliable measure of overall adoption. Most Linux distros fall in one of four camps: Debian/Ubuntu, Red Hat, Slackware, and Arch, with the main differences being how they do package management and the overall goal of the project. This is the main decision you need to make--within one of the branches the various distros are all roughly the same, especially for a power user. You also need to choose the desktop environment, which will impact the look and feel as well as overall resource-hungriness.

I personally tend to favor Fedora as it's what I use professionally. Mint is also good for an end-user desktop, and Arch and Puppy are ideal for reviving old machines. For the desktop I like Xfce for efficiency (and because GNOME 3.x is the Windows 8 of Linux), plus some GNOME and KDE applications. Any distro worth caring about offers a live USB and it's possible to load a bunch of them on a single USB stick, so try a few and see what you like.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:04 pm

For someone new to Linux, I'd suggest Linux Mint.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:47 pm

distros being discussed like they were matches for a personality test.


That's pretty much what distros are. They're all pretty much different routes for reaching the same goal, try a few and pick the one you like (or perhaps that should be, "the one that does what you need it too with minimal work").

The only other consideration is whether any software you were thinking of using requires (or suggests) you stick with a specific distro. Pretty much anything can be made to run on any given distro but sometimes it's easier to go with the path of least resistance.

If you're new to linux and want a light way into it then you could spend some time watching back episodes of LAS http://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/tag/linux-action-show/. IIRC they're doing some sort of special show about switching from windows to linux which you might find useful.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:22 pm

Do yourself a favor. Go with Mint or Ubuntu.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:37 pm

NovusBogus wrote:one of four camps[/url]: Debian/Ubuntu, Red Hat, Slackware, and Arch,


When it comes to enterprise and big iron usage you can drop Slackware, Arch, Ubuntu out of that list and replace them with Suse.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:55 am

I went with Linux Mint [with Cinnamon] mainly because it's the "it" distro, for now, so I can move forward quickly on installation.

On Mint's recommendation, I used YUMI to build a bootable USB flash drive. It actually came in more useful than I thought when it pointed out it could also setup the version MEMTEST86+ I had downloaded earlier. A bit odd that the guides for MT86+ had me jumping through hoops with a bunch of other software (none of which made a useable USB stick) when YUMI just worked without issue. Made it through three passes with no errors, so I'm satisfied with my RAM stability.

Now, to get Mint onto the SSD.

Thanks for the input, everyone! :)
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:13 pm

NovusBogus wrote:one of four camps: Debian/Ubuntu, Red Hat, Slackware, and Arch.


Gentoo should be there too. It's the premier source based distro, and probably, the only one still left. It's not great for a newbie, or someone trying to get something setup quickly, though.

As Deanjo pointed out, really only Debian, RHEL/CentOS, and Suse/OpenSuse are relevant in the job market. There are some odd places that use Gentoo and Ubuntu, but everything else is for hobbyists. This may be different in the embedded space, but it's true in the server world.

SonicSilicon wrote:Would like one that is geared toward setting up virtual machines.


It depends on what virtualization solution you want to use. For KVM, Red Hat derived (RHEL/CentOS/SL or Fedora). For Xen, Debian or Xenserver. For Virtualbox, pretty much anything it supports.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:38 pm

Unsurprisingly, my first installation of Linux befuddled me a few times. Some things I learned:
  • "Root file system" is a rather literal term. It took me over an hour of fruitless searching to suddenly realize that one of the partitions needed to have its mount point set as '/' -- i.e. root.
  • At least Linux Mint refuses to install to a FAT formatted partition, if not all distributions. I was a bit perplexed since Mint's built-in partition software can format FAT16 and FAT32.
  • Linux Mint is installed to the base drive, not the '/' root partition. I stared at a "grub-install /dev/sdXX failed" fatal error while I web-searched for help, only to just guess the proper reselection to make. Perhaps it's all those years of DOS-based systems that made me want to install to a partition rather than to the ... master boot record? (I'm not sure what part of the drive / file hierarchy it is.)
  • Swap disk space is used for hibernation and sleep power modes under Linux. Following advice from a video, I created a partition for it, but it seems Mint went and allocated some portion of the /Home partition for swap, regardless. I'm not sure if this is a change made between versions of Mint, or if I am simply unaware of a step to set the partition as the swap space.

Okay, now to responding to responses:
I'm fairly certain my hardware supports directed I/O virtualization (VT-d specifically.) That's should be the type Xen supports, but I'm only starting to delve into this so I may very well be mistaken. I don't even know much about what software is available.

Lastly, it must be a bit telling that while I do know what it is when people mention Gentoo, I can't help but think of Pokemon Gold and Silver.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:07 pm

SonicSilicon wrote:"Root file system" is a rather literal term. It took me over an hour of fruitless searching to suddenly realize that one of the partitions needed to have its mount point set as '/' -- i.e. root.

Right, root or / is the main overall filesystem itself. It's like your C: drive if you're coming from Windows, except that the filesystem and partition(s) aren't exactly the same thing. For example you could install your main OS root on one disk and another partition on another disk, and mount that sub-partition under the main partition as something like /home/myuser/otherdrive and access it just like anything else.

At least Linux Mint refuses to install to a FAT formatted partition, if not all distributions. I was a bit perplexed since Mint's built-in partition software can format FAT16 and FAT32.


Penguins prefer ext3/ext4, for sure. FAT32 doesn't support large files or user permissions, both of which are things that Linux really likes. It's probably possible to make a FAT32 Linux install, but it would take a lot of hacking and be far beyond what you'll get from any normal installation process.

Linux Mint is installed to the base drive, not the '/' root partition. I stared at a "grub-install /dev/sdXX failed" fatal error while I web-searched for help, only to just guess the proper reselection to make. Perhaps it's all those years of DOS-based systems that made me want to install to a partition rather than to the ... master boot record? (I'm not sure what part of the drive / file hierarchy it is.)


You're confusing the OS with the bootloader, which is a small program that tells the computer where it should look for the OS. Mint is installed under / and the bootloader, grub, is being installed to the MBR of your hard drive. Windows has a bootloader too, you just don't interact with it much under normal circumstances. So do phones, embedded controllers, and anything else that runs an operating system. Grub can be pimped out in a lot of interesting ways, if it's something that interests you.

Swap disk space is used for hibernation and sleep power modes under Linux. Following advice from a video, I created a partition for it, but it seems Mint went and allocated some portion of the /Home partition for swap, regardless. I'm not sure if this is a change made between versions of Mint, or if I am simply unaware of a step to set the partition as the swap space.


This doesn't sound right to me, Linux swap space inherently needs to be a swap-space partition. /home is usually the largest partition if it isn't combined with root so perhaps it was simply reporting the remaining space on the physical disk?
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:08 pm

SonicSilicon wrote:Linux Mint is installed to the base drive, not the '/' root partition. I stared at a "grub-install /dev/sdXX failed" fatal error while I web-searched for help


I'll try to explain this as simply as I can.

Your hard disk can be divided into many partitions. In the DOS/Windows world, these would be called C, D, etc. In the Linux world, they're called /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, etc.

If you had a second disk drive, the partitions on that disk would be called /dev/sdb1, /dev/sdb2, etc. (sdb rather than sda).

Install Linux on the partition you created during the installation process (not a Windows partition you already had). If the partition you created was /dev/sda2, install Linux there. Once you boot into Linux, this will become your root partition, or /.

The DOS/Windows to Linux HOWTO may be useful.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:43 am

It sounds like you are trying to dual boot or install and leave space for other stuff. Don't do this if you are new to Linux and other UNIX type OS. Whilst I haven't run the Mint installer, most of the Linux installers will quite happily set everything up by default if they can have the whole disk. If there are already partitions on the disk, just tell it to delete them and go ahead and use the whole drive for Linux.

To check if you do have I/O virtualization available, in a terminal do "cat /proc/cpuinfo" and this will show you a bunch of stuff about each processor. The bit you are looking for is the line with "flags", and "vmx" is the Intel VT-x stuff. If it isn't in the big long list of flags, check in the BIOS screens that you have it enabled.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:05 am

Just curious... Why use a FAT partition? What's the default format these days - EXT4? Why not go with that?

Regarding the root file system, you've probably figured it out by now, but I like to think of it as a "unified file system". You can have any number of disks, volumes, different types of file systems (EXT3, EXT4, FAT, NTFS, etc) and they all get mounted at some mount point of the root file system, so you can access any number of file systems essentially as subdirectories of root. Each additional file system is a "trunk" of the tree that is anchored by the "root". I think it makes way more sense than Windows' drive letters approach, but you can do the same thing in Windows by mounting a partition in an empty folder.

Regarding distros, I'm a big Debian fan.

Regarding running virtual machines, I think any distro will do fine for that.... just install Virtualbox (free) or VMware (paid). Virtualbox is quite good, last time I used it...
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:58 am

A little late to this thread (was out of town Tue-Sun and I am just getting caught up).

IMO going with Mint was a very reasonable choice. It is one of the more beginner-friendly distros. It is in the same "family" as Ubuntu and Debian (with Debian being the "upstream" distro, i.e. the one that sets the general tone for most of the under the hood infrastructure and package management).

Fedora is good if you want bleeding edge. But you need to be willing to upgrade often since releases are not supported for very long. One major selling point of Fedora is that it is essentially the development branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so if you want/need to become familiar with Red Hat, Fedora can make sense.

If you want to stick with a stable release with long-term update support, I would've recommended Debian, Ubuntu LTS (or one of the Mint derivatives thereof), or CentOS (which is effectively a free version of RHEL). The downside of going with a long-term support distro is that you will not have the latest versions of everything available in the distro's repository.

As has already been pointed out, FAT does not support essential features that Linux needs from its file system, making a native FAT boot partition problematic. The only FAT-booted Linux systems I've seen either uncompress a Linux filesystem from the FAT partition into a ramdisk, or set up a virtual Linux file system inside a file on the FAT partition. NTFS is not a particularly good fit for Linux either; although it supports fine-grained permissions, the security model is different enough that it doesn't map particularly well. Both FAT and NTFS can be mounted as data partitions though.

For virtualization I typically use and suggest VirtualBox. It isn't the fastest or the market leader, but it is free, Open Source (mostly*), cross-platform (look and feel is basically identical whether you host it on Windows or Linux), can read other virtualization software's virtual disk images, updated frequently with bug fixes and new features, has good documentation, and is easy to set up. (It is only "mostly" Open Source because the USB 2.0 pass-through and Microsoft RDP protocol support are Closed Source; however, the binaries which add those features are free for non-enterprise use.)

FWIW at my workplace, the systems that aren't running Windows are running either Debian or Ubuntu. We looked at Fedora early on for doing some prototyping work, but eventually settled on using Debian and its derivatives.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:54 pm

Linux on a file allocation table, ROTFLMFAO. That will be loadlin that loads from FAT.

No!

OK there is no need. Any modern Linux will happily read and write whatever. I hang my windose partitions on my file system and it's seamless.

A plug for Slackware ... but only if you want to learn about *nix. Otherwise it's a steep learning curve just to get stuff working well.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:17 pm

My idea with formatting as FAT32 was to make it easier and faster to recover files in the case of an OS fault. (Typically I just pull a drive and hook it up on another system to do so.) It seems the typical response to that is simply to boot a clean copy of Linux from a USB flash drive, anyways, so I'm not sure if going back and making a separate FAT32 partition for work files would really be of any use.

I did end up formatting as XFS for both '/' and '/home' partitions. It seems of have most of the benefits of ext4 while being more mature and possibly better for solid state drives. Mint didn't provide any control over block size for any formats, so hopefully it chose something reasonable, if not optimal.

Back to distros; I guess this computer is set up now to easily switch to another version of Linux, so I should be able to easily migrate when I feel ready. That will probably be when I get stuck trying to implement something.
Slackware seems to be far from my grasp, for the time being.

As for virtual machines, I may start a new forum thread for discussing that. Most of my interest at this point was to be sure I didn't inadvertently make it difficult to use one by selecting a distribution that handled them poorly or outright couldn't.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:54 pm

SonicSilicon wrote:My idea with formatting as FAT32 was to make it easier and faster to recover files in the case of an OS fault. (Typically I just pull a drive and hook it up on another system to do so.) It seems the typical response to that is simply to boot a clean copy of Linux from a USB flash drive, anyways, so I'm not sure if going back and making a separate FAT32 partition for work files would really be of any use.

Yeah, that's pretty typical. Boot from USB or CD, and copy the files off over the network, or to an external drive. Saves you from having to physically move the drive.

It is also generally possible to repair a bricked OS install from that same USB/CD boot media, though it will almost certainly be non-obvious how to do so until you've familiarized yourself with how the bootup process works.

SonicSilicon wrote:I did end up formatting as XFS for both '/' and '/home' partitions. It seems of have most of the benefits of ext4 while being more mature and possibly better for solid state drives. Mint didn't provide any control over block size for any formats, so hopefully it chose something reasonable, if not optimal.

Ext4 is plenty mature as well. Both are solid, production quality journaling file systems.

I generally just go with ext4 since it is the default on Debian/Ubuntu. There's something to be said for going with the default FS for your distro; it will have had the most testing as part of the release process, and be best integrated with any distro-specific tools, so in theory it should have the lowest odds of unexpected sh*t happening.

The one major disadvantage of XFS is that file systems cannot be shrunk once they have been created. So e.g. if you decide you want to image the disk to a smaller drive, or shrink a partition (or logical volume) to free up some space for something else, you're hosed.

SonicSilicon wrote:As for virtual machines, I may start a new forum thread for discussing that. Most of my interest at this point was to be sure I didn't inadvertently make it difficult to use one by selecting a distribution that handled them poorly or outright couldn't.

Any of the major distros should have good support for virtualization, provided your CPU has hardware virtualization support.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:The one major disadvantage of XFS is that file systems cannot be shrunk once they have been created. So e.g. if you decide you want to image the disk to a smaller drive, or shrink a partition (or logical volume) to free up some space for something else, you're hosed.
O_O oh. I'm assuming by implication that an ext4 partition can be shrunk. I've only done a clean installation of the OS, so maybe I should redo /home as ext4?
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:26 pm

just brew it! wrote:Fedora is good if you want bleeding edge. But you need to be willing to upgrade often since releases are not supported for very long. One major selling point of Fedora is that it is essentially the development branch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so if you want/need to become familiar with Red Hat, Fedora can make sense.


It's bleeding edge for Red Hat, which means it's still pretty solid.

Generally, I can get away with upgrading every year to year and a half. Fedup makes upgrading between releases fairly easy, but generally by that time I'm looking to reinstall anyway. Fedora may be moving to a yearly release rather then six month releases.

Getting demos of stuff before it's in RHEL/CentOS is nice. Especially when you figure out what's going to break.

The downside of going with a long-term support distro is that you will not have the latest versions of everything available in the distro's repository.


RHEL and CentOS now have the Software Collection Repos, which are house more up to date versions of software libraries. (https://access.redhat.com/site/products ... dev-page=5) It's fully supported by Red Hat for three years, so it's not losing much in terms of support.

Then CentOS has the contrib, extra, and plus repos. Plus has newer kernels supplied by the CentOS team. I'm not really sure what contrib and extra provide.

Then there are the EPEL and RPMFusion repos which can be used with RHEL, CentOS, and SL. They generally have newer stuff that isn't in the main repos, but they do invalidate the RedHat support contract.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:37 pm

SonicSilicon wrote:
just brew it! wrote:The one major disadvantage of XFS is that file systems cannot be shrunk once they have been created. So e.g. if you decide you want to image the disk to a smaller drive, or shrink a partition (or logical volume) to free up some space for something else, you're hosed.
O_O oh. I'm assuming by implication that an ext4 partition can be shrunk. I've only done a clean installation of the OS, so maybe I should redo /home as ext4?


You should redo your installation and use entirely default settings, honestly. In my opinion (I'm a *nix sysadmin, so it might be worth something?) you'll learn more information, faster, and with less frustration by starting out with a default installation of Linux Mint and then modifying it afterwards as you learn about what really makes up the "OS."
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:39 pm

SonicSilicon wrote:
just brew it! wrote:The one major disadvantage of XFS is that file systems cannot be shrunk once they have been created. So e.g. if you decide you want to image the disk to a smaller drive, or shrink a partition (or logical volume) to free up some space for something else, you're hosed.

O_O oh. I'm assuming by implication that an ext4 partition can be shrunk.

Yes, it can. Not while the file system is mounted mind you (so if the file system in question contains / you will need to boot from a thumbdrive or CD to do it), but at least shrinking a file system in place is possible.

SonicSilicon wrote:I've only done a clean installation of the OS, so maybe I should redo /home as ext4?

If you think you might ever want to shrink the file system you may want to consider it. Of course you can always copy everything off to another drive, blow the old file system away, create a new (smaller) file system, and copy the data back, regardless of the type of file system. So it is not a huge deal for most use cases.

It's more of an issue for situations where you want extra flexibility in allocating space, e.g. a server with multiple file systems residing on a shared LVM+RAID pool or something.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:02 pm

I totally missed this thread, too. Most of the recommendations seem to be right on the money, though.

Since you're starting from scratch, I would actually recommend using a VM to get your feet wet and get used to how things are done and what things are doing what. In my first Linux days, I managed to blow away neighboring Windows installs *many* times, and that can make sad user, especially if there's something wrong with your last backup.

These days I run Debian mostly, but I've been playing with Linux Mint again a bit recently, and I do like how smoothly it manages to get everything into a sane config. I'm not a fan of Ubuntu, though, they seem to "get it" less each year, with regards to Free/Open-source Software in general. They seem to me like they want to be the next Windows, in both good and bad ways.

With regards to Mint specifically, I'm a big fan of MATE and Cinnamon, their forks of Gnome 2.X and 3.X respectively. Gnome 3 went along with Ubuntu a little much for my liking, and seems to be pushing a tablet-like future, which I don't care for. MATE is a plain and simple fork of Gnome 2.X, but being updated and supported. Cinnamon has a better future, IMO, as it's getting a free ride from Gnome 3.X for infrastructure, only redoing the user interface part. Both are sadly neglected and falling behind on other distros, though. MATE really never got picked up by any other distros, and Cinnamon is broken and unusable on Debian, no one working on fixing the few problems. Likewise, the Cinnamon devs just dropped their Ubuntu supporting overlay (PPA), which makes Sad Penguin.

If you decide to step back a little, most distros actually play very nicely inside of VMware's products, and there are other virtualization solutions as well. I would strongly recommend sticking to the defaults until you're more up to speed, the more things you've messed with, the harder it is to get support. Your FAT/Ext4 issue spells that out exactly, it's theoretically possible, but no one else is doing it or interested, so support will be near zero. Go with the flow for a little, and you'll find it easier to start planning your own routes later.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:14 pm

Also, I only just recently took my own advice and got used to using a separate home partition. That really does make switching to another distro or reinstalling without blowing away your settings *much* easier. It's a case of me not taking my own advice, I suppose, but I'm glad that I'm on board now.

Linux 101, a sample partitioning layout for a dual boot UEFI system (mine!):

/dev/sda - 256GB Samsung SSD
/dev/sda1 - 250MB UEFI system partition, FAT32, holds rEFInd, Win8's native loader, and GRUB2. rEFInd can boot either of the other two, but I like having the original boot loaders available for use as well.
/dev/sda2 - 100MB garbage partition, NA fs, Windows made me put this here. It's useless and unused.
/dev/sda3 - ~200GB Windows install, NTFS, for gaming, UEFI install of Windows 8.1 Pro. Came free with my laptop purchase and it's good for video games.
/dev/sda4 - 2GB Linux swap partition, swap, you need swap, even with a ton of ram. It's small because I have 32GB of ram in my laptop, but you just plain have to have swap, in Windows and Linux both. They don't work well without.
/dev/sda5 - 30GB Linux root partition, EXT4, this is bigger than necessary, but I often do crazy things that cause usage to shoot up for a little while, and it's easier to clean up than to run out of space.
/dev/sda6 - ~10GB Linux home partition, EXT4, I'll make this a little bigger next time, but I use my SD card to hold onto random junk that would normally use up too much space (downloaded things, things I'm moving between win and lin)

/dev/mmcblk01 - 32GB SD card
/dev/mmcblk01p1 - 32GB, FAT32 format, used for things I've downloaded and haven't moved to an external HDD, or things I'm moving between Linux and Windows, and I don't want to reboot at the time.

This particular setup isn't horribly common, because I use UEFI, so I decided to post it here, to help give you an idea of a "normal" dual boot setup. You may or may not notice, but this setup only works with UEFI, since it has six primary partitions. It won't boot using MBR/legacy BIOS. Hope it's helpful.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:23 pm

As a side note to UEFI, unless you like pulling your hair out, I suggest avoiding trying to boot directly from a software RAID-1 array on a UEFI system. I did manage to get it working eventually, but it wasn't pretty and involved a lot of cursing!
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:10 pm

UEFI is FUN and EXCITING and the learning curve is NOT BAD AT ALL!

Would I lie to you? ;)

(Yes, UEFI can greatly complicate a first install, another vote for using a VM as training wheels.)
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:32 pm

Part of the problem seems to be that some installers will see a UEFI BIOS and try to "help" you in various ways, but screw things up. On at least one occasion, I ended up dealing with it by doing the initial install on an older non-UEFI system, moving the boot drive over to the UEFI system, then configuring the BIOS to allow legacy boot.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:59 pm

Piffle, just enable csm and install old style. I get what you mean, though. Things will be better once the motherboard OEMs figure out what they're doing.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:09 pm

Forge wrote:Things will be better once the motherboard OEMs figure out what they're doing.


That might be a long wait. :)

Forge wrote: Both are sadly neglected and falling behind on other distros, though.


The Cinnamon devs only care about Mint, which is the problem with Cinnamon on other distros. Cinnamon on Fedora is pretty good, when I occasionally check it out.

I think Xfce superseded Mate. Everyone who was interested in a GTK+ 2 DE moved to Xfce. It can be made to look like Gnome 2, and UX is better then it ever was in Gnome.

SonicSilicon wrote:O_O oh. I'm assuming by implication that an ext4 partition can be shrunk. I've only done a clean installation of the OS, so maybe I should redo /home as ext4?


The ext filesystems are more of a general purpose filesystems, and they are well supported. The support is better then XFS really since it's the de facto Linux filesystem standard and run in more places. XFS is good with large files and in partitions larger then what ext4 can handle.

ext4 partitions can be expanded online, but they can't be shrunk online. To shrink them, you need to unmount them and do as JBI suggested.

If you're going to be resizing partitions regularly, you should probably get familiar with LVM. LVM abstracts the filesystem from the underlying cylinders and sectors of the disk, which makes it easier to expand partitions since freeing space returns the space to the volume group. Partitions can even span disks without having to use RAID, which is kind of neat.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:
Forge wrote: Both are sadly neglected and falling behind on other distros, though.


The Cinnamon devs only care about Mint, which is the problem with Cinnamon on other distros. Cinnamon on Fedora is pretty good, when I occasionally check it out.

I think Xfce superseded Mate. Everyone who was interested in a GTK+ 2 DE moved to Xfce. It can be made to look like Gnome 2, and UX is better then it ever was in Gnome.


This cheeses me off, badly. I was running Debian and XFCE4 pretty happily, every boot I would run arandr if docked, to enable my other monitors.

Then I gave Mint 17 a try, on my second SSD. All my monitors Just Worked on first and every try, like Magick. Flip back to Debian, arandr needed. Back to Mint and install XFCE4, copy over my home dir, arandr needed. Blow away home dir to reduce variables, still arandr time. Copy home again, run Debian home dir + Cinnamon, all monitors work like magick! Can even dock and undock and it reconfigs on the fly! It's SO EPIC!

Back to my main install of Debian, I must recreate the magick.
apt-get update && apt-get install cinnamon *BZZZT NOES*
Why? Cinnamon in sid is ancient and bah-roken. Go online, look up issues, it's a few trivial problems with muffin, hell, FORGE COULD EVEN FIX THIS! Contact responsible developer from listing, "Oh, I'm not working on that anymore, it's scheduled for removal" **WTF??**

Seems Cinnamon was so apathetic about addressing issues that Debian is willing to devote serious man hours to flat out REMOVING it??? Find me a Cinnamon dev, I already have a spoon!

So Mint is a so-so distro, I don't like Ubuntu for idealogical reasons, and Mint is too close. Debian is moving away, you say Cinnamon works ok on Fedora? Maybe I'll try that out.

I'm a bit off-topic, I apologize to the OP, but this has been bothering me for a while.
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Re: Choosing a distro; list / database by usage?

Postposted on Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:01 am

Flatland_Spider wrote:ext4 partitions can be expanded online, but they can't be shrunk online. To shrink them, you need to unmount them and do as JBI suggested.

If I am not mistaken, XFS allows online expansion as well. But you cannot shrink an XFS file system, online or not.

Flatland_Spider wrote:If you're going to be resizing partitions regularly, you should probably get familiar with LVM. LVM abstracts the filesystem from the underlying cylinders and sectors of the disk, which makes it easier to expand partitions since freeing space returns the space to the volume group.

Functionality of Linux LVM is somewhat analogous to Windows Dynamic Disks (a.k.a. Logical Disk Manager). It allows you to combine multiple disks, partitions, and/or RAID volumes into a single pool of space.

Flatland_Spider wrote:Partitions can even span disks without having to use RAID, which is kind of neat.

While it is true that you can do this, it does expose you to the "if any one drive fails, all data on the entire logical volume is lost" failure scenario, just like RAID-0 and JBOD would. I think what is even cooler is how flexible Linux's storage subsystem is. LVM can be used alone, or combined with MD (Linux's software RAID subsystem). File systems can be created on top of LVM+MD, on LVM alone, on MD alone, on raw partitions, or even on raw unpartitioned devices. I'm pretty sure you can even do file system on top of MD+LVM (i.e. a RAID of logical volumes), though the situations where this would make sense are probably somewhat contrived.

Another neat feature of LVM is the "snapshot" feature. You can dynamically create a logical volume which preserves a bit-for-bit snapshot in time of another existing logical volume. This is done using copy-on-write, so you only need enough physical space to hold the *differences* between the two volumes (and yes, both the original and snapshot volumes are writable, they can diverge due to writes on either one, though the most common usage scenario is to treat the snapshot as read-only, either for purposes of backing up a consistent snapshot of the "live" volume, or for use as a restore point).
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