Partitioning for a Linux Mint Future

I recently moved from Linux Mint 14 to Mint 15. I loaded Mint 15 on a different PC than the one 14 was using because the old PC needed to be retired. I won’t bore you with the details, but the important point is we are essentially taking about a fresh Mint 15 install.

The PC I loaded Mint 15 on was my office Windows 2008 Server for a couple of years until I powered it down 8 months ago after moving to Linux and no longer needed it. Since I did my due diligence in backing up everything and have no plans to fire-up Windows Server ever again in my life I wiped the hard disk clean for Olivia.  This post is about my approach to partitioning the drive in anticipation of upgrading Linux Mint every 6 months or so, with the next update planned for late this year and Linux Mint 16 Petra.

Here’s my disk partition with the root filesystem highlighted. The hard drive is 500GBs, so I took 120GBs of it for the OS root.  That will be way more than I need, considering I completed setup with all of my Nadia contents copied over and I still have over 100GBs free.  Mint created the 10GB Extended Partition in the next column (I assume it did, since I didn’t.) I then created the 10GB Swap Partition.

The next partition of 120GBs in a mountable drive mounted at /mintland. With Mint 14, Mintland was the directory I put on the network that PCs and Linux machines could share.  Samba rocks.  

With the new partition config, Mintland is its own mounted drive where the data is separate from filesystem processes and where other machines on the network will continue to share data.

I watched a YouTube Video and read a post on configuring Linux and both created a partition for /home. I may be in the wrong here, but that doesn’t make sense to me.  If I’m going to upgrade my Linux OS I’m going to format the drive. Period. And that means I’m going to need to reinstall my apps, and the .config contents of those apps will be intermingling with old .config files, most likely overwriting custom settings in the process. It seems cleaner to me to install the apps fresh on a virgin /home as part of the filesystem partition with new .config contents created in the process. Then update specific custom settings, like Gimp’s menurc file for custom keyboard shortcuts, or the Sublime Text 2 setting folders to restore themes and plugins.

But the REAL reason I don’t like preserving a /home partition is that upgrades are an opportunity to start fresh.  When I was a Windows Guy, I kicked and screamed at any notion of upgrading anything.  Heck, the machine I installed Linux Mint 14 on previously ran Vista and was my office main PC for documentation, email and day-to-day business stuff. (I did development on the Windows Server box.) Vista was perfectly fine. No less capable (or boring) than Windows 7 in my experience.

Linux changed all that. If there’s a new Mint release, I can’t load it soon enough. The upgrade gives me a chance to do it better and cleaner this time.  A tighter OS with no residuals.

My Partitioning for a Linux Mint Future plan

  1. I’ve got 250GBs of free space.  I’ll take half of that for Petra which I will make the root mount and where I’ll load the OS.
  2. I will then change the Olivia root partition mount point to /olivia so I can still access the data.
  3. /mintland is where all of my “static data” will live.  My apps, my documents, databases, music, videos, that sort of thing.

Check back in December, or a couple of weeks after Petra goes RTM.  I’ll let you know if it was a good plan or not.