Feature Request: Better partitioning wizard

Colin Watson cjwatson at ubuntu.com
Wed Jul 9 13:04:29 UTC 2008

On Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 02:28:58PM +0300, Steve Goodman wrote:
> 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).

The main reason why people believe that this is good practice is because
it makes it easier to reinstall while preserving your data. However, we
have dealt with that in a different way, by making the installer
automatically preserve the contents of /home when installing to an
existing partition without formatting.

Creating a separate /home requires a fairly significant piece of
knowledge up-front: namely, how do you split the available disk space?
It is my belief that inexperienced users will typically not have the
information to make an informed decision here, and this problem is
compounded by the fact that changing your mind post-installation is
extremely difficult - resizing and moving partitions is a pain. Thus we
felt it best *not* to offer this option in the installer, in order to
avoid encouraging users to dig themselves into a hole from which it will
be difficult to recover later.

> 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.

Best practices are often somewhat subjective, and in this case I
strongly disagree with the alleged best practice.

> I think something better would be to add an option that is not full
> automatic, but provides me with guidance, unlike the manual.

At some point I would like to converge the two options a little bit.
Automatic partitioning should let you tweak the results a bit (it does
in the alternate install CD, but not in the desktop CD), and manual
partitioning should provide more guidance as to what you're supposed to


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at ubuntu.com]

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