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Not formatting /home

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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:41 am

After installing my remaster to the first smaller partition, I should also be able to do the editing and transferring of the hard drives /home/mark hidden configuration files, etc., by booting up the live DVD remaster I created, and using it to make all the changes. This way I don't have to kill a display manager. Correct?

Use Caja file manager to make sure the two hard drive partitions are mounted. Close this instance of Caja.
Then simply use ALT F2 to open a "run box" and enter gksudo caja or sudo caja, whatever works, open fstab from the root accessed caja file manager with Pluma text editor, which will also have root access. Should be able to make all changes this way, yes?
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby fsmithred » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Yeah, you can do it all from the live session in a gui. I like to boot into the new install at least once to make sure it works before I start moving stuff around.
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 1:07 am

Thank you much. Will give this a go at some point. Not done messing with Ubuntu-Mate just yet.

I thought you may like to see how I do my desktop layouts. This pic is of my current Ubuntu-Mate layout, but is exactly how I do it with Debian-Mate and with slightly more work Debian-Xfce.

I found this layout to be very efficient. Two extra panels with just program launchers. Left is internet software, top is media software. These two and sometimes also the bottom panel set to autohide. Can not put a panel to the right as it will interfere with mousing over the scroll bars in programs.

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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:52 pm

OK done messing with Ubuntu 16.04. Other distros using Ubuntu 16.04 have the very same errors, so...by by buntu.

I found yet another method to save all my files. Probably no easier than what we discussed; takes longer.

My 500 Gb hard drive was partitioned this way: One primary partition sda1 for / of about 30Gb. Second very large extended partition(sda2) of over 400Gb having both /home(sda5) and SWAP(sda6).

I booted up my remaster of Debian8-Mate and ran Gparted. I deleted the swap file. I resized sda5 to half of its size(took awhile). I then used the unformatted space to partition as aprox. 200Gb ext4 sda6, and a swap partition of about 4Gb as sda7.

I started as user, caja file manager, and mounted sda6.
I started Caja file manager as root(alt f2, then gksudo caja). I added a folder "Backup" to the new sda6 partition and changed the folders permissions to mark the user. Closed root caja.

I then copied all my folders from /mark on sda5 to /Backup on sda6. NOT the hidden folders or files. Now my files are safe for now, no matter if I make a mistake installing my remaster to sda1 for / and sda5 for /home/mark

Then, just in case, I opened fstab with pluma file editor as root. My fstab is using uuid so I ran [sudo blkid /dev/sda1] then /sda5 to confirm the uuid's were the same. They were. The uuid for the swap partition was of course changed, so I replaced that uuid number, and clicked save. I was actually expecting sda5 to have changed as I had resized it; shows how little I know.

Ubuntu boots up still, and my files are "safe" copied onto the unmounted partition /sda6

The rest of my convoluted plan, involved starting Firefox in Ubuntu, and starting another computer and Firefox, both having Sync setup, so that when I have reinstalled my remastered debian8, I will be able to set up sync again in Firefox and will have all new bookmarks and open tabs and history, saved. I will boot up my remaster and install it using the CLI of refractainstaller, which I know works well with Mate DTE, and is already installed, to /sda1 for / and sda5 for /home/mark. Those two partitions will be reformatted and my files are safe on sda6...if I don't get sleepy and somehow mess up.

Then reboot and confirm my installed remaster works properly. At this point I have three choices. 1/ Do nothing and simply mount sda6 when I need to use this partition space. 2/ I can go into fstab as root and add sda6 so that it is mounted every time I start up Debian8-Mate. or 3/ After moving all my backed up files from /Backup on sda6 to my new /home/mark on sda5, I can undue my previous resizing of partitions. Run gparted, delete the sawp file at sda7. Delete my /Backup partition sda6. Resize sda5 to take up the now unpartitioned space, leaving a few Gb at the end to create a new swap partition. Go open fstab as root, use [sudo blkid /dev/sda6] in a terminal to get the new uuid for sda6, which is now a swap partition, and replace /etc/fstab uuid number for the swap partition line.

This should work without any errors; fingers crossed. Is looking like your suggestion, fsmithred, may have actually been easier lol
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:43 pm

Success. My remaster of Debian8-Mate installed fine and works great. Noticed though that I missed a couple small customizations so I will be making a new and updated remaster ASAP. Actually forgot to install gparted and flash??? Must have been awake too long.

There is one thing that was unexpected from the installer that I would appreciate some feedback on.

The CLI installer did not see or utilize the swap partition, but instead created a rather small 268Mb swap FILE. Small compared to 4Gb of memory. When I am finished transferring my files from /Backup folder on sda6 to /home/mark folders on sda5, then delete the swap partition on sda7 and sda6 housing my /Backup, then resizing sda5 to grow to include the space from former sda6 space, then create a new swap partition at a new sda6;

Is it then a good idea to add the swap partition to fstab, along with the swap file entry, or instead of the swap file entry(deleting the actual swap file as well)? Is there a reason you can explain to me, why for the first time ever installing a Linux OS, I have a swap file instead of a swap partition?
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby fsmithred » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:38 pm

The reason there's a swap file is so that you don't have to waste a partition on something that probably won't get used. The 256mb is generous space for most cases. Whether you use a swapfile or a swap partition or both is up to you. If you're planning to hibernate your computer, the swap should be as big as the ram.

If you want the cli installer to show you the swap partitions and ask which one to use, edit /etc/refractainstaller.conf to set use_existing_swap="yes". I made it that way to keep the number of questions down. It could easily be changed to ask only when a swap partition is detected.

Opinions? Anyone?

Note: I had to look at the code and the config file to answer this question. I never use this option, so I forgot about it. In the gui installer, it's a checkbox in the options window.
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:25 pm

"The reason there's a swap file is so that you don't have to waste a partition on something that probably won't get used."

Is this because GNU/Linux's use less memory than Windoze, and that newer computers have plenty of ram for Linux's?

I don't know why I didn't go through the installer settings before creating a remaster. Obviously I should have.

Does this sound reasonable to do:Default setting to create and use a swap file, for newer 64 bit computers since they generally have more ram; but for remasters that I make for older 32bit computers that likely have less than 2 Gb ram, set the config to use_existing_swap="yes"

I started out with Windows 3.1 and always made the swap files at least 2.5 times the ram, really depending on the amount of ram though. Windows would allocate areas of the swap file even before actually using it. I was always in the habit of changing windows virtual memory(swap file) to a permanent one sized to suit. Added some stability and/or less CPU usage than a swap file always resizing itself.

I didn't even think there would be a good reason to create a swap file so small. Habitually I have been still creating swap partitions at least as big as the ram, but then all my computers are quite old. This used laptop is my first 64 bit PC; has 4 Gb ram. With Windoze I would sometimes run up several demanding programs and check to see how much memory was being used, aiming to keep normal memory usage to less than 50% of total real ram. If higher then I would try to add more physical ram, as using the swap file slowed things down a great deal.

If you want to keep questions down to a minimum from the CLI installer, perhaps it can make all the decisions based on the amount of available memory. I suggest, keep in mind I am not a programmer, to make it look for a swap partition and use it if the computer has say, less than 2Gb ram(whatever size is sure to work well). If there isn't enough ram and no swap partitiion exists, then create a larger swap file automatically, assuming there is enough room for say a 2Gb swap file. If no swap partition is found, and there is plenty of ram, then to automatically create a small swap file as it did when I installed my remaster.

Would be nice if the installer asked few questions, less chance of making a mistake. I did my install twice because I made a decision error.

I managed to save all my files, using my convoluted method, and now my partitions are back to original size. Swap partition is currently not being mounted/used. I found one error after growing my /home/mark partition and recreating a 4Gb swap partition. Gparted(run from my live DVD) had an error flag on my shrunk then grown /home/mark partition, so I ran Gparted's "check". Whatever was in error was corrected. So far everything worked very well. My clock was set to GMT, as is the computer, but putting in my location set the clock correctly.

Other than confusing myself with the swap file/partition, and having forgot to do a couple things to my setup before creating a remaster, refracta allowed me to create a beautiful distribution. I will soon create another with all updates and additions with the CLI, and that being successful, will also create it again with your GUI installed and see how that goes.

You have done a great thing fsmithred creating refractasnapshot and installer. It takes a long time to do a really nice desktop setup, so if lightning strikes, I can run my same setup live on most computers or get everything back in a new installation, quickly. Thank you again and again.
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:57 pm

Off topic somewhat, and in fact yet another question but; is there a difference between the data access/record speed of a Linux swap file compared with a Linux swap partition?

Are there other pros and cons for each? Security, stability, compatibility, accuracy?

Swap partition is needed, ahead of time, on very old computers, with too little ram to even run a live CD or DVD

Has the typical computer, for years now, come default with enough ram, that a swap partition has become unnecessary for them? Is there any advantage for computers with sufficient Gb of ram, to have a hard drive swap partition, over a swap file?

a friend stopped by with a little something something, while...when i had started this post, am i stille maken sencs ;-)
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby fsmithred » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:48 am

If the swap is on a different hard disk from the system it can be faster, because the two disks can be working at the same time. I don't know if there's a speed difference between swap file vs. partition.

The advice to make swap 2.5 times your ram was important when ram was measured in megabytes. (Think of running with 32 or 64mb.) You can check how much swap you're using with
Code: Select all
free -m
I usually see it at around 60-80mb. That's with 2GB ram and a bunch of stuff open. It's my understanding that you need to have some swap, because some programs expect to use it.

You can also change the size of the swap file in the config file. I'll probably change the cli script to check for a swap partition, and if it finds one, ask if you want to use it or use a swap file. And the config file setting could disable the question.
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Re: Not formatting /home

Postby Mark9 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:50 pm

I just noticed something else about swap file/swap partition.

I am writing this from my live DVD remaster which was burnt from a 3.3Gb .iso. I ran Gparted and noted that my hard drives swap partition is not being used, same as the install of the remaster to hard drive.

I looked in the file system(live) and do not see a swap file, which makes sense since the data on the DVD can not be swapped. When installed to HD there is a swap file.

Is this going to be a problem, running this remaster on a 64 bit computer with less ram?

Shouldn't the live running remasters look to the hard drive for a swap partition?
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