Feature suggestions: optionally placing home folder into separate partition during ubuntu install

Evan Huus eapache at gmail.com
Thu Oct 28 02:23:28 UTC 2010

On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 8:01 PM, Daniel Gross <daniel.gross at utoronto.ca> wrote:
> Hello,
> I have finally taken the plunge and installed the latest Ubuntu instead
> of Windows XP (while still running Windows xp in a VM).

Congrats :)

> It would be great if a tool existed that supports moving the home folder
> from the "boot" partition to a "data" partition. Ideally, the tool would
> support creating a data partition by resizing the boot partition, as
> well as recommending a minimum size for the data partition based on the
> size of the home folder.
> Ideally, i think, such a setup could already be suggested during the
> Ubuntu installation process. Perhaps, under an "advanced setup" heading
> -- removing the need to move the home partition.
> The main benefit for such a setup, is that it allows reinstalling Ubuntu
> without loosing the users data, which would be safely sitting in a
> separate data partition.

Putting it on a separate partition isn't actually necessary. Currently
when Ubuntu is directed to install to a partition which previously had
Ubuntu on it, it reinstalls only what is necessary, leaving things
such as user settings intact. So this is effectively already done,
just without the necessity for multiple partitions.

> Also, during (re)installation, Ubuntu could recognize the existence of a
> data partition that includes a home folder, and suggest configuring
> itself accordingly.

This is an interesting idea. I'm not sure what we currently suggest
when another Ubuntu is already installed, but a kind of
reinstall/upgrade option would probably be useful. Again, we'd only
need the one partition for it though.

> Taking this idea a step further, perhaps its possible to also preserve
> the packages that were installed, so that these remain intact in the
> data partition also. Perhaps a better name for the data partition could
> be "User" partition, which includes all user configured, tailored,
> created data. As opposed to the System partition which includes the base
> OS only, and that can be reinstalled at will.

Technically, every part of Ubuntu (including the base OS) is
considered just an installed package, so doing this wouldn't be
simple. I'm also having trouble seeing the use case for this - most
people (in my experience) reinstall Ubuntu as a way to clean up cruft
(or apparent cruft - a fresh install often feels faster just by
placebo effect). Presumably they would want such packages removed,
else why would they reinstall? They're may be something I'm missing,
but I can't see "reinstalling while keeping current packages" to be a
common desire.

You've raised some very interesting points, all of which merit further
Enjoy your shiny new Ubuntu :)


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