[RndTbl] drive partitioning for Linux install

Dan Martin ummar143 at cc.umanitoba.ca
Fri Sep 23 19:55:07 CDT 2005

I will soon make a fresh install of Fedora Core 4, and I have a very 
limited knowledge of Linux.  I would like to maximize interoperability 
with other systems, and make backup as easy as possible.

I want to install it on my gateway machine, a Pentium3 with 2 removable 
IDE drive bays.  Ideally, I want:

1)  EASY BACKUP - on another machine I run Windows 2000 to take full 
advantage of my ATI All-in-Wonder 9600 pro.  That machine also has 2 
removable IDE drive bays, so I can copy entire partitions from one drive 
to the other.  I cannot use Windows to copy the OS and apps while 
Windows is running, because some of the files are locked.  I boot to DOS 
from a floppy, and use a DOS program (DriveStar) to copy from one hard 
drive to the other.  Then I use the backup to work from.  This works, 
but Windows remembers individual drive serial numbers so it assigns 
different drive letters and I have to change some of my links.  Linux 
does not have this problem - hdb6 is always the second logical partition 
on the second drive, even if I change the second drive.  Can Linux copy 
itself while it is running?  I may even use software RAID mirroring - 
though that would prevent me from switching to different drives with 
different data in the second drive slot (or can it be turned on and off 

2)  SHARING DATA - users should be able to access the same /home 
directory whether running on the new system or on another machine on the 
network which is running Suse 9.0.  I'm guessing that /home would not 
even have to be on a separate partition, though it is probably wise to 
do that.  It would be nice if I could also share data with the Windows 
machine.  I'm not sure if, for example, the Mozilla prefs/user files are 
the same for Windows as Linux, so that I could access my email from 
Windows or from Linux and not have the mail end up in different places.

3)  SHARING APPS - I currently have Mandrake 8.1 installed on the 
machine that I am targeting for Fedora.  It would be great if I could 
run some of the apps already installed with Mandrake, while I am running 
Fedora.  It would also be nice if I could run some of the apps from the 
other machine running Suse.  I'm guessing that this is not easy - that 
sharing /usr and /opt would lead to dependency issues and incompatible 

4)  MIGRATING TO OTHER HARDWARE - Another bonus would be if I could take 
my hard drive with Fedora installed, and pop it into my Pentium 4 
(usually running Windows) to run an app that needs more juice.  I could 
use LILO to present a menu containing "Fedora - machine A" and "Fedora - 
machine B" - but are there machine specific files in various parts of 
the filesystem?  If Host 1 usually runs on Machine A, and Host 2 usually 
runs on Machine B, can I switch them without causing chaos?

If anyone has suggestions (preferably from experience) on how to 
accomplish any of these things, that would be great.  If some of these 
things (especially 3 & 4) are not possible, please let me know.


Dr. Dan Martin, MD, CCFP, BSc, BCSc (Hon)

GP Hospital Practitioner
Computer Science grad student
ummar143 at cc.umanitoba.ca
(204) 831-1746
answering machine always on

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