Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

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coppro
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Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby coppro » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:02 am UTC

When Hardy comes out the three weeks from now, I plan on nuking my hard drive and copying my data over to the new install.

I have an 80 GB hard drive, and I'm trying to figure out a couple of things:

#1: How do I get Kubuntu to install to multiple partitions? I want to have something along the lines of the first couple of GB be the root partition, which would be /bin, /sbin, /lib, /root, and /boot. 15GB or so will be a Windows partition at the end of the disk. The rest will be one huge extended partition governed by the LVM: /home should get it's own partition, as should /usr, /usr/lib, /usr/share, /etc, and /var (I think that's a good way to do it, anyway. I'm open to suggestions about partitioning). There also needs to be swap space, of course. But how do I get Kubuntu to install to a customized partition system? I don't want to have to do all the partitioning afterwards - it would be an absolute nightmare.

#2: I need to figure out what dotfiles and /etc/*.conf and other random junk that I've modified - is there any way to quickly determine what packages have been trashed (accidentally or otherwise) by me (particularly the dotfiles)?

#3: I need to determine which packages I need to keep. Essentially I'm going to have to take one of two approaches - run through all the installed packages and find the ones I need to install on the new one and which ones are excess. Or I can just install packages as I notice that I need them. Is there a fast way that I can simply mark packages as needed, including all dependencies, and then just install the whole list on Hardy?

Any tips would be really appreciated.

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b.i.o
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby b.i.o » Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:37 am UTC

Kubuntu/Ubuntu allow you to easily mess with partitions when you install, so that shouldn't be an issue.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby Xanthir » Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:29 am UTC

Quick note: You'll be wanting U-235 if you're doing any fission reactions. U-238 is very stable and hard to get supercritical. All the bombs are made of U-235.

((Well, properly, U-238 with higher percentages of U-235 than normal, because 235 is really quite rare.)
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby ThomasS » Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:08 am UTC

The reasons for multiple partitions in a unix/unix like system are varied, but mostly irrelevant for a single user running a modern computers.

I mean, you put / and /usr on separate partitions basically to minimize the chances of /usr being corrupted and the system unbootable. These days it is fairly uncommon for partitions to become corrupted without cause. Furthermore, the habit was formed well before the days of livecds. Today, if it crashes hard you boot a livecd and fuss using standard tools (as opposed to emergency panic mode / homed tools like ed) until it either works or you switch from the livecd to an installcd.

The point of /usr/share (and, for that matter, /usr/local/share) is to be shared across machines over a network to save disk space. It used to be that disks were expensive. If you aren't doing this there isn't even really a point to having the stuff separated out in the directory tree, must less as separate partitions.

You make /var separate so that log files overfilling don't bollucks up anything else. However, these days a single user linux system would probably take years to turn anything like a significant fraction of the disk into log files.

I've never seen /etc get a partition.. either /bin, /etc, and friends are happy together, or you are in the "crashed hard" situation mentioned above.

Now it is kind of nice to have /home as a separate partition, if you are likely to reinstall again and want to keep all your user files. Depends on your backup habits, or lack thereof.

LVM adds another layer to muck through in the unlikely event of an emergency, so I leave it out of the kernel if I'm not running raid or similar.

But if you insist... the linux install processes that I've seen all create the partitions, mount them in /mnt or similar, and then pretty much just copy the files to them. The good ones will let you shell out before that point and work whatever magic required to get your masterpiece partition structure mounted up. Just remember to set up fstab in the new structure before rebooting, otherwise you'll be doing it using the tools on that aforementioned livecd.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby EvanED » Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:33 am UTC

ThomasS wrote:The reasons for multiple partitions in a unix/unix like system are varied, but mostly irrelevant for a single user running a modern computers.

I mean, you put / and /usr on separate partitions basically to minimize the chances of /usr being corrupted and the system unbootable. These days it is fairly uncommon for partitions to become corrupted without cause.

I have had it happen twice that I've been saved by compartmentalized damage. The first time was some funky hardware problem, the second time was software corruption. Having separate partitions in the first case allowed me to recover (without spending $$$ on NTFS recovery software; I think this was beyond what chkdsk could do); having separate partitions in the second case made it much easier.

Now, what you say is true to a degree. Most of the partitioning that older Unix systems and enterprise systems do isn't necessary. Nevertheless, I think that giving yourself separate partitions for things like media, work, play, etc. is a good idea. When I install Linux I usually give myself a partition for /usr, a partition for /home, a relatively small partition for /, and some other partitions that go in /mnt, usually shared with Windows. (/bin gets its own because I have accidentally filled my drive when I was installing software and not paying attention. This is easy to do if you are doing a huge build, say OpenOffice, between the time you do make and make clean. And a full / is not a nice thing.)

Now it is kind of nice to have /home as a separate partition, if you are likely to reinstall again and want to keep all your user files. Depends on your backup habits, or lack thereof.

Agreed.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby TheTankengine » Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:44 am UTC

I installed ubuntu to the following partition scheme:

Code: Select all

sda1: /boot (150mb)
sda2 (logical): -> sda5: swap (512mb)
sda3: /home
sda4: / (8gb)
sda5: vista

It works very well and I don't have to worry about overwriting GRUB or any of my personal data/media. The partitions are large enough that there is just about no way to fill them up. If I need to reinstall I just wipe sda4 with another / and move on.

Why wait until it releases? It won't be very much different from the current beta release, which is very stable. Plus you get updates daily or whenever you want, so if something actually does break, it's fixed the next day or so.
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coppro
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby coppro » Wed Apr 02, 2008 1:42 am UTC

Thanks for the partition advice, guys. I know that a partition is not strictly necessary, but I find that there are advantages to controlling what is mounted more finely, and

I want to use LVM because I need to be able to resize on demand, and that's why I want my boot partition to be absolutely minimal, because it reduces the odds of a major issue occurring that makes my computer unbootable, because that is inevitably a major headache. And I do stupid stuff enough to make that an issue :roll:.

Does anyone have any advice for sorting through config files and package lists? It would be cool if there was some way to compare my files against the Ubuntu defaults and see what files have been changed (deboostrapping a new folder, installing every package I have, and running diff would work. But it would be oh-so-painful. And I still need a good way of figuring out which packages I do or don't need - once again I think I could do that with deboostrap, but I'd much rather not.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby Bruce » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:31 am UTC

dpkg-query -s <package> will give you a list of config files and MD5 sums. This could be used to compare with the actual file through a script. The problem is that post install scripts edit these files anyway, so I don't think you will get very far.

The other idea I had was to check the installation date and compare it to the modified date on the config files. What ever you do it is going to be a rough hack, I just do not see any way to achieve exactly what you want.

I do wonder just home much in /etc you would actually care about. Unless you are running specific services, in which case you probably know the configs you want. Personally I happily nuke /etc and just keep /home.
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coppro
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby coppro » Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:08 pm UTC

All dpkg-query -s shows is the package data, copied almost verbatim from the package list. And is there a way to do so with dotfiles (besides mtimes, which are probably messed up because I had to restore from a backup once)?

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby Bruce » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:10 am UTC

What do you mean by "dotfiles"? If you mean ~/.*, then these are all created at run time, not by packages. Also, it is therefore safe to just copy them. Job done.
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coppro
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby coppro » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:03 pm UTC

Bruce wrote:What do you mean by "dotfiles"? If you mean ~/.*, then these are all created at run time, not by packages. Also, it is therefore safe to just copy them. Job done.
Of course it's safe to copy them. I just want to figure out which ones I don't need any more. Ones I haven't changed isn't so much of an issue.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby TheTankengine » Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:43 pm UTC

Just look for the programs you use. They are pretty obviously named. ~/.mozilla for Firefox (bonus: includes extensions), ~/.gimp for the GIMP, etc. If you want to keep your desktop setting, keep ~/.gnome* folders.

As for /etc, it's really not necessary because there will only be a couple files not default. I just back up the few custom .confs I have and paste them in after a fresh install (gnump3d.conf and ddclient.conf for me, maybe save xorg.conf if you have customized it).
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Bruce
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby Bruce » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

coppro wrote:
Bruce wrote:What do you mean by "dotfiles"? If you mean ~/.*, then these are all created at run time, not by packages. Also, it is therefore safe to just copy them. Job done.
Of course it's safe to copy them. I just want to figure out which ones I don't need any more. Ones I haven't changed isn't so much of an issue.

My contents of ~/.* which is about 10 years old and has moved over several machines is around 5M. Why bother?
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coppro
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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby coppro » Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

Bruce wrote:
coppro wrote:Of course it's safe to copy them. I just want to figure out which ones I don't need any more. Ones I haven't changed isn't so much of an issue.

My contents of ~/.* which is about 10 years old and has moved over several machines is around 5M. Why bother?
Because I hate a bunch of files that make it hard to read "ls -a" and aren't doing anything. That's pretty much it.

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Re: Causing a uranium-238 fission reaction on my computer

Postby OBloodyHell » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:45 am UTC

> These days it is fairly uncommon for partitions to become corrupted without cause.

This is true, but I've still found that it's very advantageous to have stuff partitioned heavily.

1) It does provide a measure of immunity from any major screwups of the OS, particularly if it's Windows -- by having Windows on a separate partition from most of the data, you can re-install the OS without needing to backup the entire HD, which, with a TB hd can be a bit timeconsuming. What's that, 20 Blue Rays? 200 DVDs? or a spare, blank, HD? We're getting back to the floppy-drive backup days again. And it makes an image backup of the OS alone a lot smaller, too, allowing you to save it at various states and recover to those, no matter the OS being used.

2) It also encourages a bit of logical behavior from you, by making you segment your information into sensible groupings, rather than the classic Big Wad O' Goo. Sometimes the groupings are arbitrary -- "Does that nude image of my GF go in family pics or softcore porn... hmm... hmmm..." -- but it does encourage some thinking of how to organize your info.

3) "2" also makes for easier backup and more logically grouped backup, if you do actually back stuff up to DVD (personally, I find that, at US$.30 per 5gb, that's not a bad deal.)


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