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My system: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3GHz) 64bit, 6mb cache (will probably overclock to 3.5 though I've heard rumors that 4.25 is possible without errors...) 4GB DDR2 Ram (upgradable ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! meskaune's Avatar
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    Talking Virgin Computer...what should I do with it?


    My system:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3GHz) 64bit, 6mb cache (will probably overclock to 3.5 though I've heard rumors that 4.25 is possible without errors...)
    4GB DDR2 Ram (upgradable to
    Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT 512mb pci express
    320 GB harddrive (I plan on adding some more hard drives, it can take 5)
    420W power supply
    20x DVD R/RW Dual Layer Drive

    I just got a new desktop, and I need some help deciding the partition table and operating system/s to put on it.

    The first Distro I used was Debian + Fluxbox which I used for a year. One day I went to my school's LUG with a question about debian, and instead of helping me they handed me an Ubuntu CD. I installed, didn't like gnome, so I used fluxbuntu for 2 years (its a server install of ubuntu with flux and rox-filer), after I hated one of their updates, I switched to Xubuntu for a year. The bugs in ubuntu are driving me crazy so I need to switch.

    I've got a virgin computer, and I want to make the most of it's capabilities.

    What I want in my operating system:

    The ability to upgrade without a reinstall
    A system that is fast and stable
    Good Documentation
    Easy to install and uninstall software--exspeically drivers (I'm a fan of debians apt-get)
    Full or close to full support for my hardware.
    Secure
    Something I won't have to spend months to configure. Been there, done that. I need a working system NOW, I no longer have time to be a larva. (unfortunately)
    Something that can take abuse; I like to experiment with things, I usually have around 10 open programs running (opera, pidgin, skype, conky, rhythmbox, sometimes gimp, blender, etc) I use 8 desktops and switch between them and the programs. I also have a habit of leaving my computer on for months on end without rebooting. (After I got it out of the box, my BF sadly stroked the cpu and told it he was sorry. Lol)

    What I plan on using it for:

    Regular Workstation, e-mail, movies, IM, etc.

    Running virtual machines:

    I would like to run windows xp under a virtual machine, but I'm wondering if this is a good idea with my hardware, or should I dual boot? I also want to try out other linux distributions via virtual machine.

    Ideally I would have linux on one monitor and windows xp vitalized and used on another monitor. If this would decrease the graphics card utilization, how much of a hit would it be, could I play games in the visualized windows OS and if I used a 64 bit windows OS would it work? How much would this slow my computer? Should I just test it out to see?

    I also want to install LAMP and test software for a webserver. (I work for a non-profit who desperately needs upgrades)

    I would also use it for any other experiments that I HAVE to try.

    I have some questions:

    Is getting a 64bit OS worth it?

    Should I dual boot with windows or virtualize it?

    I'm leaning toward installing Debian testing and gentoo (I want to learn about the ports system) as the main OS's. I might consider linux mint if its more stable than ubuntu. Someone told me this, though I doubt its true.

    I will probably use xfce as the UI.

    Any other OS suggestions would be appreciated. Im not familiar with Red Hat, but if it fits my requirements I would consider switching. I sort of want to test out gOS, but I don't know if it would make a good main OS.

    Partitions:

    I have a 350GB hard drive and will put a 250GB drive in the computer.

    Should I have /boot on its own partition? If so how could I make /boot be shared by different OS's?

    I was thinking maybe I should do something like this:

    350GB Drive:

    Code:
    /boot  (500mb) should I use less/more?
    /swap (4GB)
    /Main linux OS (20 GB)
    	/usr
    	/var
    	/tmp
    /home (300 GB)
    250 GB drive:

    Code:
    /Other OS (20 GB)
    	/home
    	/usr
    	/var
    	/tmp
    
    back-ups
    The tabbed partitions would be logical drives in an extended partition.

    Should I have a sepperate partition for the virtual machines?

    Sorry there is so much in this post...maybe I should have split it up...

  2. #2
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Hello and Welcome.
    Just a couple of quick thoughts....I think you should try Gentoo, yes it might take you 3 weeks to get it set up just right but once you do, you are golden.

    You can share /boot /swap and /home with multiple distros but with 4GB RAM, I would not use more than 1GB Swap, and that is being generous. It's just a waste because you'll never need that much swap unless you are some kind of Developer.
    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help, Please keep it on the forums only.
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  3. #3
    Just Joined! meskaune's Avatar
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    I want to be able to hybernate and suspend my computer, and I thought swap had to be the same size as ram for that to work. If I'm mistaken I would gladly make swap smaller.

    I think I will make gentoo my second install. I need to have a working OS for homework and things right now, so that would be the main install.

    I might switch to gentoo if I get it set up on the other drive and working great.

  4. #4
    Linux User saivin's Avatar
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    My suggestion: Debian or Arch

    Debian and Arch are two that come to my mind. Debian is a gem. Satisfies all most all of your expectations except that you will not have newer versions of software if you install the stable release. Arch is also equally good except that you need to spend some time installing it. As of this post you still have to edit text files to get it running. But once installed you will find nirvana in 'pacman'. It being rolling release you don't have to again reinstall the OS unless you mess up something irrevocably.

    As for partition sizes, as Mike told, 4GB swap is too much. But again with kind of storage you have those couple of GBs don't matter...

    /boot need only be 100 MB. If you are using GRUB/LILO as your bootloader then /boot is not required.
    A candle looses nothing by lighting other candles. - Khalil Zibran.
    Registered Linux User #490076

  5. #5
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meskaune View Post
    I want to be able to hybernate and suspend my computer, and I thought swap had to be the same size as ram for that to work. If I'm mistaken I would gladly make swap smaller.
    A long time ago, oh about 5 years ago that was true.....the swap needed to be the same size as your RAM because most people did not have more than 500MB RAM, now people have GB's of RAM. It's just an outdated Linux rule that needs to be updated.
    Good luck and keep us posted on your developments.
    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help, Please keep it on the forums only.
    All new users please read this.** Forum FAQS. ** Adopt an unanswered post.

    I'd rather be lost at the lake than found at home.

  6. #6
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    Code:
    /dev/sda1	/boot  (128Mb) (only really has grub - shared by Main linux OS and Other linux OS) probably mounted as /boot.sda1
    /dev/sda2	/WIN_C  (XP Pro)
    /dev/sda3	Extended Parition
    	/dev/sda5	/swap (4GB)
    	/dev/sda6	/    Main linux OS (20 GB) (/usr, /var, /tmp  - you might want these in sperate partitions but I don't bother.  If you do then you can reduce the size of /)
    	/dev/sda7	/home (300 GB) (shared by main linux install and other linux install))
    Code:
    /dev/sdb1	/Extended
    	/dev/sdb5	/Other OS (20 GB) (/usr, /var, /tmp )
    	/dev/sdb6	/backups  (remaining space)
    Each Linux install keeps it's own /boot files in it's "/boot" directory. The first linux install creates and installs grub in /dev/sda1 then after install
    set it up to be mounted as "/boot.sda1" then move the files (kernel, initrd etc but not grub stuff - not subdirectories to a local /boot directory). Fix the
    grub.conf (in /boot.sda1/grub). Other linux installs also have their own "/boot" directory but mount /dev/sda1 as /boot.sda1 and in the install never install the
    grub boot loader. Manually add (easy) the entries for the OS in the main /boot.sda1/grub/grub.conf.

    Should I dual boot with windows or it?
    I would intsall it in /dev/sda2, just in case but you should have no problems virtualizing it. If you can use XP Pro, the you can use rdesktop to connect to it -
    much faster especially as your CPU has hardware virtalisation support (I use KVM - works great).

    If you run i386 linux make sure you use the PXE kernel (otherwise you won't see all of your memory) or run Linux x64.

  7. #7
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    I second Arch. The rolling release means no reinstalls necessary. I can set up a working Arch system in under an hour, depending on download speeds and whether I'm going GNOME or KDE, or something lighter. Arch with XFCE is what I'm using now, and it's great. Oh, and it also has a ports like system, ABS (Arch Build System), for those times you want to install something from source. Otherwise, Sidux might meet your needs. Also rolling release, but not quite as bleeding edge as Arch. It's ugly as hell out of the box, though.

    Hmm, as far as swap, to suspend to disk, you do need enough swap space to store everything you have in your RAM, as far as I know. But I suppose most people aren't using anywhere near their whole 4 gigs of RAM or whatever, so you aren't losing data if you have less swap space.

  8. #8
    Just Joined! meskaune's Avatar
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    @saivin
    Arch seems pretty intriguing... I think I'm going to go with that and install xfce.

    Arch Linux's default install creates "/boot" "/swap" "/" and "/home" partitions on the disk.

    I was wanting to put "/usr" "/var" and "/tmp" on logical partitions under root for stabability and security reasons, but if it won't make a huge difference I could leave them as is.

    I'll have swap be a gigabyte.

    @blinky KMV sounds really awesome, I deffinently want to try and set that up.

    I haven't used windows as my main OS in years, so I think I'm just going to virtualize it. That way when it crashes or needs to update and reboot 20 times it won't be a huge bother.....

    @reed9 Sidux sounds like a great option for my back-up OS. Thanks for the recomendation.

  9. #9
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meskaune View Post
    @saivin

    I was wanting to put "/usr" "/var" and "/tmp" on logical partitions under root for stabability and security reasons, but if it won't make a huge difference I could leave them as is.

    @reed9 Sidux sounds like a great option for my back-up OS. Thanks for the recomendation.
    It's easy enough during the Arch install to partition your drive and set mount points however you like.

    I get unreasonably happy when people come to Arch. I distro-hopped non-stop for nearly a year before I found Arch, and now I have four computer running it quite happily. Once KDE 4.2 comes to sidux, I might go back on one of them, just for variety.

  10. #10
    Just Joined! meskaune's Avatar
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    Ok, I've gotten Arch linux installed with xfce and so far I love it! I installed a 1TB drive as the second drive, tigerdirect had a great deal on them.

    My partition on the 350GB drive are:
    Code:
    /boot           100 mb
    /                  5 GB
         /usr        15 GB
         /var        6 GB
         /tmp       4 GB
    /home         266 GB
    /swap          1GB
    And on the 1TB drive:

    Code:
    /swap         1 GB
    /                20 GB
    Back-up (/var, /etc)    10 GB
    Media         900 GB
    Thanks for all the help guys and gals!

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