Re: New first time install

From: Jim Trice (
Date: 11/05/03

Date: Wed, 05 Nov 2003 12:37:34 +1030

Mr. 1nOnly wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I'm brand new to the world of Linux and Suse and looking for some help to
> get started.

Welcome :)

> I am looking to setup a duel boot system. I have two HDD both 120GB The
> first one has two partitions both XP NTFS. The second I want to use for
> Linux and if possible, use part of it with both systems for file storage.

Sounds like a reasonable idea. Linux should be able to read your NTFS
partitions without any trouble. Writing to them may be a different
question. And Windows has no hope reading or writing to Linux file
systems. There is third party software to let Win read/write ext 2/ext 3
formats, but reputedly it can destroy all information on a file system if
it is writing when Windows hangs. I'd set up a small amount of the second
drive as FAT 32, to transfer files between the two systems. Down side is
that this can change your drive assignments in Windows, and confuse some

> For starters I am looking for recommendations for partitions and formats
> for my second drive.

Could cause debate until the cows come home. I'd probably do something
   /boot small ext2
   /swap 256MB to 1GB swap
   /data 2GB FAT32 (for transfering files)
   extended partition containing
      / approx 8GB reiser or ext3
      /var 2 or 3GB reiser or ext3
      /home everything thats left reiser or ext3

When the installer asks you about partitioning you should use the expert
partitioner to set this up. Its actually pretty easy to use.

/boot can be tiny, as little as 1 cylinder on a drive that size. Mine is
50MB, but I'm only using 4MB of it, Put it near the beginning of the

/swap is used for virtual memory management. No matter how much RAM you
have you will need some of this, as the kernel likes to swap out stuff that
hasn't been accessed in a while. I don't know how much RAM you've got, or
how you use the system, so it's hard to tell how much swap you will need.
I would use at least 256 MB, and up to twice the physical RAM if I thought
I was going to hit swap a lot (large data files, lots of simultaneous
processes, whatever). Older kernels needed swap to be at least twice the
size of RAM, so you will often see that recommended, but that is no longer
strictly needed. I'd put swap at the beginning of the drive, just after

/data is a "how long is a piece of string" deal. FAT 32 is pretty horrible.
I'd keep it smallish, about 2GB. I'd look at it as temporary storage while
transfering files to NTFS. One downside of dual booting is some inevitable
duplication of data. /data will not appear as a preselected mount point in
the expert partitioner, but you can just type it in. Don't forget the "/".

/ is the root file system. It is where all your other filesystems will be
mounted, and where the guts of the OS lives. Mine has 9GB, and I've used
just under half of it, having installed world + dog.

/home is where all your data and personal config files live. If you are
anything like me you will want as much of this as you can get. Keeping
home on a seperate partition makes it possible to preserve your personal
files when you upgrade to a new operating system.

/var is for files that change often, including system logs. We are back to
length of string here. I'd give it a couple or three GB on a non-server.
But I don't like to feel cramped.

And when you are asked where to put the boot manager, put it in the MBR of
the primary master drive (probably your windows drive).

> Second I am using the LiveEval CD. Can I use it for the HDD setup and FTP
> install, or would it be better to wait for the disk to arrive.

If you have tried the live eval, and found SuSE to your liking and your
hardware supported, get the Pro edition and install from that. In the vast
majority of cases installing from the disks is stunningly easy. The
manuals in the Pro edition are well worth it IMO.

And, of course, before you start, back up everything important.

HTH, Regards,