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I have an old HP Pentium III machine that I'm wiping and putting Linux on to turn it into a juke box. It's sole purpose will be playing MP3s hooked ...
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    File Systems and Linux Installation


    I have an old HP Pentium III machine that I'm wiping and putting Linux on to turn it into a juke box. It's sole purpose will be playing MP3s hooked up to my home entertainment system. I've talked about this on the Newbie forum in this post:

    http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/lin...-linux-pc.html

    My question for the Installation forum is about file systems. The P III machine right now is a dual boot Win 98/Win 2k computer. It has the original 20 gig hard drove on which Win 98 resides. I've added an additional 90 gig hard drive which houses Windows 2000. The 20 gig drive is a FAT32 one. The 90 gig one was previously was partitioned into two logical drives, one NTFS one and another FAT32 one. (It's a long story why I did that; I won't bother you with the details). As I write this, Partition Magic is working on converting the NTFS one to FAT32 so that I can later merge the two drives.

    So I'll soon be back to having just one logical drive per physical drive, both of which will be FAT32 drives. I'm planning on installing either Ubuntu or Xubuntu. Will either of these Linux versions have no trouble with the two FAT32 drives? I want to wipe out both Win 98 and Win 2K, and wipe out all data. Linux uses a different file system, right? I'm fine with Linux formatting both drives to its native file system. Or would it somehow be better for Linux to start with NTFS drives? I can convert them to that with no problem. I've got Partition Magic. Doing so will make Win 98 no longer run since it doesn't support NTFS, but that's no big deal since I want Linux to wipe out both Win 98 and Win 2K.
    Last edited by Tom_ZeCat; 04-19-2008 at 10:22 PM. Reason: typo

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    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    You don't need to merge partitions, Ubuntu and Xubuntu installers have options to use the entire hard drive and will create partition tables to suit. Both are capable of read/write to fat & fat32 partitions and reading ntfs partitions. I use PartedMagic for partitioning but if you are using the Ubuntu live CD you can use gparted from it anyway.

    Given particular hardware Xubuntu will give you better performance than Ubuntu because it is less resource demanding. If you intend using only Linux then you would be better off using Linux file systems. The minimum partitions for Linux is 2 - a swap partition and a root partition but a home partition is also frequently created.

    In your instance if you just want lots of data then create a root (ext3), swap and home partition (ext3) on the first hard drive and just create an ext3 partition on the second hard drive using all the space on th disk. That way if you have problems with the OS and need to reinstall you can just choose to mount your home partition and the other disk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_ZeCat View Post
    My question for the Installation forum is about file systems. The P III machine right now is a dual boot Win 98/Win 2k computer. It has the original 20 gig hard drove on which Win 98 resides. I've added an additional 90 gig hard drive which houses Windows 2000. The 20 gig drive is a FAT32 one. The 90 gig one was previously was partitioned into two logical drives, one NTFS one and another FAT32 one. (It's a long story why I did that; I won't bother you with the details). As I write this, Partition Magic is working on converting the NTFS one to FAT32 so that I can later merge the two drives.
    You don't need to format the drives with fat32. Even more, there's no easy way that you could install linux on a fat32 filesystem, because fat32 lacks the most elemental capabilities that linux needs to run ok, like proper file permissions and ownerships. Besides that, fat is the worst filesystem ever, and it has many problems and limitations.

    If you don't have a big experience with different filesystems, I advise you to use ext3, which offers a good ratio performance/cpu consumption, and is stable, reliable, and very well tested and widely known and used as a linux filesystem.

    This is, most likely, the default filesystem that ubuntu and most distros will choose when formatting your hard drive.

    So I'll soon be back to having just one logical drive per physical drive, both of which will be FAT32 drives. I'm planning on installing either Ubuntu or Xubuntu. Will either of these Linux versions have no trouble with the two FAT32 drives?
    The linux kernel can handle fat32 drives without any problem. But linux can't live on a fat32 partition. This means that you will have no problem reading or writing your remobable usd drives or whatever stuff you need. But you can't install linux on a 32 bits filesystem.

    I want to wipe out both Win 98 and Win 2K, and wipe out all data. Linux uses a different file system, right? I'm fine with Linux formatting both drives to its native file system. Or would it somehow be better for Linux to start with NTFS drives?
    The tools you will be using to format those drives, don't care if they are formated with fat32 or ntfs, or if they are not formated at all.

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    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Just to make clear the situation ...

    Linux must be installed using partitions with Linux file systems - usually ext3 and swap. You only have the option of storing data to partitions with fat, fat32, ntfs or linux file systems (there are a couple of other file systems as well).

    My advice for your application is use Linux file systems only ext3 (and swap for the swap partition).

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    Thanks for the help. I've got it up and running! I chose the option to format the drive, which I assume makes it an ext3 drive. That's what I want. I don't have any need to have any Windows-based file systems since I don't plan to put Windows on this PC.

    And the sound works! I won't have to hunt for a sound driver or buy a new sound card.

    I'm surfing around getting used to this new OS, which I've never used before. I chose to install Ubuntu on the larger hard drive and to let it wipe out Win 2K, which I don't need. I think Win 98 might still be on the older drive and it's still FAT 32. I'm going to go in right now and see if I can figure out how to format that drive as ext3 and get rid of Win 98.

    Does Linux have the equivalent of a DOS prompt where you can type something like:
    format d:/FS: [whatever file system you want]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_ZeCat View Post
    Does Linux have the equivalent of a DOS prompt where you can type something like:
    format d:/FS: [whatever file system you want]
    You can open a command prompt by switching to vt1 (control+alt+f1), you come back to your X graphical session usually by doing control+atl+f7, though that's entirely configurable and can change from system by system. Usually, 6 vt's are spawned, from f1, to f6.

    You can also just open a terminal emulator from your desktop. In the menu you should see something like gnome-terminal, terminal, xterm, konsole, or so, depending you the desktop you are using and the available software.

    Administrative stuff can usually only be done by login as the user "root". But ubuntu -once more- likes to do things in a diffferent way to confuse the user. And it doesn't allow loging in as root. So, you have to use the command "sudo" to do tasks as if you were root.

    So, if you want to format your other disk, you first need to open a terminal window (or change to a vt and login with your user name).

    After that, do this on the command line:

    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    This will help you identify the names of the different drives and partitions. Identify the name of your second drive, and then the name of the fat32 partition inside it.

    Then, you would use this command to format it:

    Code:
    sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/hdb1
    That line would format the first partition in hdb. Change it by the correct partition in your case. If you are in doubt, don't randomly do anything because you can format the wrong partition (and we all know that's not a good thing).

    If you need help, post here the output of the fdisk command, and we will help you.

    There might be also a graphical way to do this in ubuntu, I don't really know. I always prefer to use generical tools because I don't like to learn the same thing again and again in different ways depending on the distro.

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    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Good to hear you have things up an running.

    You can use a terminal as indicated by i92guboj above. To be honest for this type of task I would use gparted, which you can access through the menu ... on the live cd.

    Ubuntu has the root account disabled by default and as i92guboj indicated you must use sudo to gain root access rights for CLI. I suggest you stick with the Ubuntu defaults an leave the root account disabled.

    Have fun with your new system.

    Ed: gparted is not installed by default, if you boot from the live CD you can find it in system->administration->Partition editor

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