Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

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niftyprose
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Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#1 by niftyprose » 12 Apr 2013, 06:14

Hi chaps, sorry for the facetious subject line -- it's been a hard week.

Exec summary: I'm putting Porteus on the hard disk of a netbook and would like advice as to best possible partition setup

Long version: I do a lot of my work on an EeePC 901, now on its fourth or fifth Linux.

When I installed Lubuntu some years back, I followed very detailed advice and partitioned the 20Gb internal SSD drive. The basic setup was a 5Gb partition for the software and a 15Gb partition for the /home directory. Both are in ext* and the 5Gb partition is further divided with some swap space. Sorry for sketchiness, but this stuff isn't relevant because I will be doing a full reformat to eradicate any trace of the recent woeful Bodhi. So any partition scheme or filesystem is doable.

My work involves not-very-complex files in .txt, .odt and .docx formats, plus some graphics. There are a great number of them and I need constant access to the archive, so there's no point preloading them to RAM.
I use mostly text edtior, LibreOffice, Gimp, browser, ftp. I keep up-to-date, but don't experiment much.
I'll be using Porteus with the 'changes' option to store system data to hard disk at the end of every session.

My guess is that it might be advantageous to give the system data stored via 'changes' its own partition, but I'd rather take advice than experiment.

TIA, W.

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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#2 by fanthom » 12 Apr 2013, 07:52

in fact Porteus does not need a separate partition to operate. it can happily coexist with you current linuxes/Windows.

instruction:
a) create a folder, lets say: /mnt/sda2/porteus-2.0 and unpack the ISO there
b) create an entry in your existing bootloader pointing to Porteus kernel and initrd: /mnt/sda2/porteus-2.0/boot/syslinux/vmlinuz and /mnt/sda2/porteus-2.0/boot/syslinux/initrd.xz (if you do not have 3rd party bootloader then you can use one bundled with Porteus, please run installer for that).
c) use 'from=porteus-2.0' and 'changes=porteus-2.0' cheatcodes (as described in our docs)
d) this is it.

porteus will be booting from /mnt/sda2/porteus-2.0 folder with changes saved in /mnt/sda2/porteus-2.0/changes folder.
no need to bother with repartitioning at all :wink:
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

niftyprose
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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#3 by niftyprose » 12 Apr 2013, 09:37

Hi Fanthom, that's your second incredibly quick reply to one of my posts -- thank you very much.

I get it about Porteus' portability and compatibility with other installations. Honestly, I do. I'm not proposing to repartition because of Porteus.

However, the appalling Bodhi has thoroughly messed up two of my machines now and I'm reformatting as a matter of principle. (There are issues with MBRs, and a couple of other problems.)

Since I can do *anything Porteus likes* with the hard disk, what would it really like?

I'll cheerfully go with a single 20Gb ext3 (default, kinda) but if there's any reason to believe that it might run better with some other partitioning scheme, I'd be delighted to hear suggestions.

Best, W.

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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#4 by Ahau » 12 Apr 2013, 15:15

If it were me, I would probably do either a single ext4 partition or one relatively small (1 or 2GB depending on how many modules you want to add) ext4 partition for the Porteus data and a second partition with the remainder of the space as ext4 for all your data. I'd go with ext4 over ext3 because I *think* it uses less disk space for journaling (honestly it's been so long since I used ext3 I can't remember the comparison). Ext2 would use even less since it doesn't journal, but then you'd be less likely to recover your data in case of some kind of failure. I'd also do a swap partition if you find yourself needing swap (keep in mind it may diminish the life span of your SSD).

You only have 20GB to work with, which is not a lot of room (I do almost everything Porteus related on flash memory and have three 16GB devices and one 8 GB device close to full all the time), and in my opinion a simpler partitioning scheme is going to offer more flexibility. If, for example, you keep all of one kind of data on one partition and all of another kind on another partition, and then the proportions of the two types of data change, you'll wind up with one full partition and one with space, then you'll mix data and then it's a mess to keep track of. One partition keeps all of the free space available to all of your directories. Maybe that's just the way I operate, though :)

In my opinion, the filesystem you use is less important than making sure you partition your SSD with the proper alignment. This is important for flash drives (though most folks don't have a clue what it means or how to do it) and I've read that it's even more important for SSD's (I don't own one myself). In short, you want to align the start of your partitions with the start of your flash memory's erase blocks. The erase block sizes vary between devices, though, so it will probably take some research on your part to find the scheme that works best for your SSD if you haven't done this already.

So yes, Porteus will run happily whatever you do (you could format the whole thing as FAT or NTFS and Porteus would still accomodate it, with a save.dat for changes), but it's wise to think ahead as you're doing, when your resources are limited :)
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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#5 by Ed_P » 12 Apr 2013, 15:17

Most machines that I work on now days I partition into 3 partitions. Partition 1 is for the operating system, partition 2 is for data files, and partition 3 is for temp backup files.

In your situation I would put Porteus on partition 1 with enough free space to support newer versions, newer features, etc. On the 2nd partition I would put all your .txt, .odt and .docx formats, plus some graphics files and the porteuschanges.dat file. On the last partition, which is optional btw, I would save a copy of the Porteus .iso file and periodically save a copy of the changes.dat file and copies of your data files.

The logic for this configuration is you can change/replace the OS on the 1st partition and not loose your data files. You can change the system's configuration and if you find it doesn't work as well as you hoped you can quickly restore the changes.dat file to a point before the change and try again. The same with your data files. If one gets messed up you can restore it to an earlier version.

Periodically the contents of the backup partition should be written to an external device thus preventing a lost of everything should the hard drive fail.

This partition configuration will work with Linux or Windows systems.

hth


-oops-

Just reread the thread and see that you have a small drive to work with. That being the case I would recommend just the two partitions, one for the OS and one for your data files. I still recommend backups but for backups I'd suggest USB flash drives.
Ed

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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#6 by brokenman » 13 Apr 2013, 00:10

The model of your SSD is an important factor regarding Ahau's comments on sector alignment. You will find a lot of old information on the net from when solid state drives were in their infancy. Many SSD's do suffer performance hits when misaligned.

Regarding partitioning schemes. I'd go with 2 partitions. One for OS and one for isolated data (as EdP suggested). No swap. Nice and simple. Doesn't sound like you will need swap for your work and as Ahau stated you'll add some time to the life of the device. For this reason I'd also format ext2. SSD's still don't come cheap and have been known to throw a wobbly on many an occasion.

You won't need a changes.dat file if using ext* partitions so you can put your changes= line pointing to the root of the partition which holds your OS. All important data I would transfer to the second partition and make regular backup images of this partition stored elsewhere.

So, as you can see, everyone has an opinion on partition schema. Mine is worth nothing more than my own empirical experience which has often left me with my head in my hands wondering ... WTF just happened?
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niftyprose
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Re: Perfect Porteus Partitioning (for non-volatile netbook)

Post#7 by niftyprose » 14 Apr 2013, 00:49

Thanks for this, chaps. Much appreciated. I went in the end with 4Gb/16GB, ext3 on both, enabling me to run a single 16GB US stick for data backup. See next post for somewhat related follow-up. Best, W.

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