Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1473 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] update or installation from scratch ... this is the question
  • From: Richard <ricreig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 12:27:14 -0400
  • Message-id: <200906081227.14879.ricreig@xxxxxxxxx>
On Mon June 8 2009 11:21:41 am Maura Monville wrote:

I have just downloaded SuSE 11.1 64-bitand saved to a DVD.
I am still running SUSE 10.3.
My first question is: do you think I can attempt an upgrade to 11.1 or do you
advice a new installation ?

From 10.3 to 11.1 PROBABLY you should do a new installation, however, that
said, I did successfully upgrade from 10.3 to 11.0 and from there to 11.1
though not entirely without problems due to dependencies problems. But, if
you have a complicated setup involving RAIDs, LVM's a lot of specialized
software or some such, you might find it worth it to try the upgrade *after*
thorough backups. Otherwise, make a list of all the packages you currently
use, backup the data files and go with a new install, it will be easier in the
long run.

My second question, in the case of a neqw installation, is about the number
of partitions.
If I am not mistaken SuSE creates three partitions by default:
/root and /user and /swap

Not quite...

It does make a swap partition and a root partition which is different in /root
which is the root's home directory, not the root of the filesystem. A bit
confusing in terminology. Slant root is like home for root, root drive is
like C:/ in Windoze. Slant user (/user) doesn't exist in SuSE unless you
create it yourself (perhaps you are thinking of /usr (which is /U(nix S(ystem
R(esources) which isn't normally used by *users*. Probably you are thinking
of the directory /home which is the directory root for all users on your
system. This is created automatically during installation and IF you don't do
anything, it will be on and attached to the root drive SO, it is good practice
to do something to create and use a separate partition for all system users by
creating a /home partition for all of your users. This is easily done during
the installation of SuSE during the partition dialog phase. IF you have a
partition already being used as /home, be sure and specify DO NOT FORMAT and
also specify to MOUNT it as /home. If you are upgrading, there is no
opportunity to do these things as SuSE will use the partitioning already in
existance. During installation, you can create other specialized partitions
if you desire, but /home is the most commonly created/used separate partition
though you might adjust the suggested sizes of the root and swap partitions if
you see fit. If you wish to create or adjust RAID or LVMs or formatting, this
is the time also. At the moment, EXT3 is probably the best, though, there is
good success with others and probably no need to switch from whatever you are
accustomed to that has worked in the past for you EXCEPT, I don't suggest
keeping FAT or NT?? as working partitions in Linux (however they can be used in
shared environments if needed).

I am not sure /root and /user are actually non-overlapping distinct
partitions of if /user is contained in /root.
In the former case I would prefr to keep /user separeted from /root and would
appreciate your suggestion about enforcing
such a configuration.

The ONLY required partition is the / partition, eg, the root drive (different
than /root which is the roots' home directory, not the root of the filesystem).
It is generally poor practice to NOT have a swap partition (you can use a
swap *file*), IS a good idea to have a /boot partition especially if you are
formatting your root partition *other* than ext2 or ext3. This can prevent or
reduce boot problems by ensuring programs and data are kept separate from
booting data and programs and the loader (GRUB) seems to have problems with
some formatting schemes like XFS, for instance.

My thrird question is about SuSE installer ... Shall I expect any
installation questions that implies some a-prori knowledge of the system ?

The SuSE installer is pretty good overall. For the most part, accept the
defaults EXCEPT for the partitioning. I do suggest that you adjust it

Create a swap

size approx 2 times your RAM size, eg, if you have 1G of RAM, make it about 2G
of disk

Create the boot partition:
Create it small, /boot is only about 22meg or so so give it a little breathing
room, < 1G
Format it EXT2C

Create the root partition:
Create it according to your needs. I think personally you should consider
20G, larger if you have a lot of "system" programs, common to all users.
Format it EXT3 Reiser, Ext4, XFS or whatever if you are adventurous, but for
now, EXT3 is tried and true, the others all have advocates and are good

Check the software selection:
I think you should look for and install MC which is useful and is not default.
It is the 'swiss army knife' of software file manipulation and can be used in
a GUI and in a console and in KDE, GNOME, other window Managers and in all run
levels that provide a console as well as ssh. Ensure ssh is installed other
networking tools if you are going to use networking at all on your system.
You probably are going to use DHCP, but if not, double check your network
settings. For now, don't worry about repositories, set them up after the

I'm sure I've left out a bunch, but hopefully, this will get you through the
basics. The most important thing is *terminology*. If you use the wrong
words in your questions, you will get wrong answers and /USERS is a WINDOWS
holdover <grin>. FWIW, I had to teach Windows students a Linux course in
college and one of my first hurdles was *terminology* <grin>.

Attach/mount the /home partition if you have one and ensure it is mentioned in
/etc/fstab correctly prior to booting the system for routine use.
DO NOT add a bunch of users during the create/install phase. Save this until
after doing this mount of the real /home partition. The /home mount point
created during installation will be 'hidden' and any data inside it will be
unavailable so don't waste time or space putting things in it during
installation. Save your efforts until after the mount of your real /home
partition where it will do some good.

Thank you very much in advance.

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