Feature Request: Better partitioning wizard

Bryce Harrington bryce at canonical.com
Tue Jul 8 21:32:35 UTC 2008

On Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 02:28:58PM +0300, Steve Goodman wrote:
> I just got a new computer and wanted to try Ubuntu 8.04 on it. It was very
> easy to install and I got up and running pretty quickly.

Welcome to Ubuntu.  :-)

> So here's my request: The partitioning wizard that I was presented with
> during installation gave me two options: automatic and manual. I knew
> nothing about partitioning or about different Linux file systems when I
> installed, so I just did automatic. Since then I have read that a good
> practice is to have a partition for the OS + apps and a separate partition
> for user data (HOME).  So I request that you make the partitioning wizard
> guide me through that. It doesn't make sense that you only give the options
> of automatic or full manual without any kind of explanation or guidance
> unless you make "automatic" conform to best practices. I think something
> better would be to add an option that is not full automatic, but provides me
> with guidance, unlike the manual.

With partitioning, there is always a trade-off between providing more
flexibility by exposing more options, and risking scaring off a user who
knows nothing about partitioning (nor wishes to know).  I suspect the
current approach is designed for maximal simplicity for the latter type
of users.  It's true that splitting home from OS+apps has advantages,
but this approach presupposes at least a modest level of understanding
of what partitions are.

Adding an intermediary option between auto and manual does sound like it
would be handy.  I suspect one reason this isn't done currently is
because when we build ISOs we have to test them very thoroughly, and a
guided option would require significantly more testing effort than
either auto or manual, since there'd be additional steps involved.

> Now I'm trying to figure out how to
> repartition my drive to align with this practice, and I hope I won't have to
> reinstall everything. (Any guidance on this subject would make me very
> appreciative.)

First back up everything you want to keep to a USB key, CDRW, or spare
harddrive.  This probably includes everything under /home.

You may be able to resize the existing partition to shrink it, then
create a new partition and copy the files over.  If not, or if something
goes wrong, you can do a fresh reinstall, and then copy the files from
the USB stick.

For further advice, you might find http://answers.launchpad.com/ to be
of value.  Good luck!


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