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pmam
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:44 am    Post subject: Considerations before new installation? Reply with quote

Just before new installation on DeskTop: Intel i3, 4G RAM (maybe will be increased to 8G), Hard Disk=500GB, Win 7 already installed (Multiboot). I see that i3 is EM64T architecture and Gentoo's current-install-amd64-minimal is suitable, as well. Plan to install Gnome/Systemd.
Please advise regarding following considerations:
1. UEFI or BIOS: Is it dictated according the firmware of the motherboard and probably it is UEFI?
2. As far as I figure out: In case of UEFI, GPT is better (instead of MBR), parted (instead of fdisk), and no need of BIOS partition.
3. Worth to use LVM and if it is recommended?
4. I would prefer to have separate HOME partition, so please inform minimal ROOT partition size?
5. According hardware setup above: SWAP partition is needed? What size is recommended?
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pmam,

I you will install Gentoo beside the existing Win 7, your choice of BIOS/UEFI has already been made for you by the Win 7 install.
That takes care of 1 and 2.

3. LVM. If you are in the habit of using lots of partitions and creating/destroying partitions LVM is a good thing.
It supports growing logical volumes without a reboot but shrinking them is harder. Leave some unallocated space in your Physical Volume so that shrinking is rare.
Choose filesystems that support growing and shrinking too.

4 A desktop Gentoo will fit into 40G quite comfortably. You can put build space into tmpfs for most packages with 4G RAM. The biggies won't build in that space.
The gentoo repository will fit into about 80MB instead of 4G if its in squashfs.
You will need to tidy out old distfiles and kernel sources on a regular basis.

5. Yes, everyone should have swap. No having a swap partition does not prevent swapping. It just robs the kernel of one of its options.
If you build in tmpfs, when there is pressure on RAM, the content of tmpfs can be moved to swap.
If you will hibernate to disk, swap needs to be the same as RAM. If you actually use more than 512MB swap, you need more real RAM.
With LVM, you can add or resize swap later but don't allocate all of your physical volume because shrinking filesystems then the logical volume the filesystem is on is something to be avoided on a regular basis.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use the Windows install to apply any BIOS updates available - it may save you the work of having to set up the whole Meltdown/Spectre microcode update headache manually on the Linux side.
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pmam
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neddy,

I thought most of the relatively new machines are with UEFI, however after verify I found out it is BIOS.
So according handbook, in case of multiboot with win 7, need to follow: MBR (instead of GPT),
no need of EFI System Partition (ESP), can choose between fdisk or gparted. No need of LVM at the moment.
ROOT=50G. tmpfs is a good idea. SWAP = 4.5G for hibernate.

Thanks

Ant P.,

Thanks for your tip, however, since I am not familiar with this sensitive process of BIOS updating,
and do not know of any relevant issue, I am afraid to get into irreversible situation, and would not do it... :(
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pmam,

If you will fit 8G RAM, you might want 8G of swap for hibermate.

LVM is not all or nothing. You can make root 50G an you plan and swap outside LVM, then donate the rest of the space to LVM and have /home in LVM.
If 50G proves to small for /, then /usr/portage (not /usr) can be moved inside LVM at a later date.

You can put swap in LVM but that means you need an initrd to restore from hibernate, so baby steps.
Have a standard install with LVM not required to boot, that will let your learn about LVM.
Next install, maybe put root and swap into LVM too.
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pmam
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neddy,

I like your *baby steps* approach regarding LVM - need to read some wikis and it is a good idea to practice its flexibility,
we need to improve our performance...

However, now I am quite confused regarding UEFI/BIOS - as I have told before, verifying with windows 7 according this link:
https://www.easyuefi.com/resource/check-windows-is-booted-in-uefi-mode.html
gives result of BIOS. However connecting Linux USB recovery disk, and check with this command:
Code:
ls /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

shows there is a directory with many files... In addition, in the boot screen (the screen we have when hit DEL during startup),
"UEFI and LEGACY" is enabled... So, UEFI or BIOS, this is the question? Please advise!

Thanks
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pmam,

I don't have any systems with UEFI yet. Well maybe I do but I don't have BIOS screen access.

When the motherboard firmware is set to "UEFI and LEGACY" either can work.
You can even mix and match for different operating systems.
However, you may have at most one boot loader per HDD.
If you want to keep things simple, do whatever Windows did.

If your existing partition table is MSDOS, then BIOS is in use, since UEFI requires GPT.
It is possible (sometimes) to mix BIOS and GPT but that's not a normal use case.

What does
Code:
fdisk -t dos -l /dev/sda
show?

Code:
# fdisk -t dos -l /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 3.7 TiB, 4000787030016 bytes, 7814037168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device     Boot Start        End    Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *        1 4294967295 4294967295   2T ee GPT

That shows the protective msdos partition table provided by GPT. Its a fake and must not be changed.
Notice is only one partition of type ee, which is the flag that GPT is in use.

In short, if GPT is in use, use UEFI. If the dos partition looks real, use BIOS.

For completeness, the gpt partition table for the same drive,
Code:
# fdisk -t gpt -l /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 3.7 TiB, 4000787030016 bytes, 7814037168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: 0DE44267-8564-A24B-B2FF-23A7FDA9C02B

Device         Start        End    Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sda1       2048     124927     122880   60M Linux filesystem
/dev/sda2     124928   27342847   27217920   13G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda3   27342848  175781887  148439040 70.8G Linux filesystem
/dev/sda4  175781888 7814035455 7638253568  3.6T Linux filesystem

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pmam
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neddy,

According the test you have noted (fdisk -t dos -l /dev/sda), I do not have gpt, so I am going to use BIOS.
Do not know why I thought that most of new machines have UEFI... MY mistake

Thanks a lot
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pmam,

Most new machines have both. You are not mistaken.
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pmam
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long time I have not done new installation so need some advise regarding partitions...

I am going to create BIOS/MBR partitions, and my current status of Hard drive (500GB) is -
windows 7 installation > /dev/sda1= 105MB, /dev/sda2=100GB (C), and the rest free.
First I want to try for the first time using parted (instead of fdisk), and wonder if have to give the starting point (or sector) for new partition,
or it can automatically proceed from the next free point (like fdisk)? For the first time parted looks to me not so friendly, does it? or need to get use to it..

Anyway, I followed handbook and get to this structure, and have some questions:

/sda3 = grub (bios_grub) = 2MB *** Is it really needed?
/sda4 = extended
/sda5 = boot = 300MB ** Is it needed and recommended size?
/sda6 = SWAP = 8GB For hibernate
/sda7 = ROOT = 50GB
/sda8 = LVM = rest of Disk

Please advise!
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But don't touch the streets, Ah, That's NO, NO, NO!
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pmam,

Grub needs some space outside of any filesystem for a piece of itself.
On GPT
Quote:
/sda3 = grub (bios_grub) = 2MB *** Is it really needed?
provides this space.
On MSDOS, there is some free space before the first partition. Grub uses this.
With GPT, the partition table starts at LBA 1, so there is no free space before the first partition.

Simplistically /boot is not needed with BIOS, (it a long complex story).
300MB is plenty. Allow enough for grub and say, four kernels and initrds.
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