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Thread: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

  1. #1

    Default Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    I had 11.2 86_64 installed and running well on this x3400 server (my new high spec treasure,) but put the machine into "storage" for a year while building work was in progress. Brought it back into service today and it was running just fine. But, I thought, rather than working with what was now quite an old OS I would upgrade to 11.3 before doing any more work. Big mistake!

    During this process in which I formatted my root partition to do a new installation rather than an upgrade, one of the drives went critical (RAID 1 array) and either through my error or some fluke the new installation proceeded while the RAID array was being restored with the result that the whole system was garbled.

    I rebuilt the RAID array from scratch and tried a new installation of 11.3 but although it seemed to install OK it would not boot.

    After much faffing around I decided to reinstall 11.2 and this is now up and running but the partitioning is not how I intended.

    The RAID array is seen as sda.

    I wanted sda1 20G for root,
    sda2 20G for future OS, sda 3 for swap and the rest of the storage as sda4 for /home. I believe this is what I had before although I cannot be sure of swap position.

    What I now have is sda1 = /home 423G
    sda2 swap
    sda3 root 20G

    At present I am booting from MBR.

    Before I go any further is this OK. What I had hoped to do was keep 11.2 and install 11.3 on the spare 20G which is there but does not show. If I do this should I leave booting as now or move Grub somewhere else?

    Gratetful for some guidance please before I go further.
    Regards,
    Budgie2

  2. #2
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    Smile Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    So I am sure you will get all sorts of opinions here and so here is mine for what it worth. As to the issue of using openSUSE 11.2 as opposed to using version 11.3: I have no problem sticking with version openSUSE 11.2. It is supported still, it is solid and will due in any event until openSUSE 11.4 comes out in a few months. openSUSE 11.3, due to no fault of its own (that was the best out at the time), had several kernel issues with 2.6.34 which caused problems, including one with USB 3 drives. I have no way of knowing if this was the problem you had, but I would not do anything else I don't think until openSUSE version 11.4 comes out.

    Now to your partitioning, well, 20 GB is pretty weak for the main / openSUSE partition. If you stick with one Desktop you can be OK, but this is not where you are going to want to load up a bunch of stuff you don't even know if you need it or not. A quick look at my two openSUSE PC's finds one at 11.9 GB and the other at 29.6 GB with the latter holding all of the Desktops we offer in the DVD install. My first openSUSE disk partition with version 10.0 was only 20 GB total including /home, but software continues to get larger, even with Linux. On both machines I mention, my /home area is separate. So, I am thinking you are going to want to put 60 GB on that main / openSUSE partition, but that is just my opinion right now.

    While the order is not that important I normally partition the drive as follows:

    1. Load Generic Boot code into the MBR
    2. Create a 2-4 GB Primary SWAP partition, depends on your memory or lack thereof
    3. Create a 20-60 GB Primary / openSUSE Partition, marked bootable and loaded with the Grub bootloader.
    4. Create a 60 or Larger GB Primary /home partition.
    5. I only create a Logical Partition when I dual boot with Windows.

    OK, so here is opinion #1 and good luck with your Computer and Welcome to the openSUSE forum, if I had not said that before to you.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    As jdmcdaniel3 said, you'll get many different opinions and experiences here.

    For myself, in a dozen installs, home and work, the / partition never used up more than 11 GB, and that with the older home install where there's stuff I don't even remember why I installed .

    What may fill it up is typically in server use where you have databases or sites in the /var directory that can get very large, or leftover files (downloads perhaps) that stay in /tmp. If that's not your case (and you take a look at /tmp size once in a while), I'd say that 20 GB is good enough. At least it is for me here.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Hi James,
    Thanks for that and for immediate reply.
    Please could you elaborate about dual boot option. What I use most of the time is OS/2 Warp 4.52. (Yes it still works well and has now been reborn as eCS 2.0.) I may wish to put this on as an option at boot time. I am familiar (after a fashion) with primary and logical partitions when installing OS/2 and usually use the included Boot Manager. The setup is usually Boot Manager (Primary) OS/2 (Primary) and subsequent OSs and data on Logical partitions. There is a restriction on number of primaries to 4 and I assume that applies still. Is that correct?

    With the setup I now have which are the primary and which are the logical partitions as System Information does not show?
    I have 20G free space. If I create a partition on which to install another OS should it be primary or logical?

    I am sure there must be a wiki here and if you point me in the right direction I shall read up on this.

    Many thanks again for your reply
    Regards,
    Budgie2

  5. #5
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    Smile Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    The maximum number of primary partitions is just four. One of them can be assigned as a logical partition container. Any partitions in the Logical one will be numbered five and up, even if you do not have four primary ones. You can only load the grub boot loader into partitions 1, 2, 3, 4 when marked as Active for booting or into the MBR (Master Boot Record). You can actually load grub into a logical primary partition, which does not seem intuitive. The grub menu.lst file MUST be located on the same hard drive as the grub boot loader. You can not load grub from one hard drive and its menu, always located in the openSUSE / partition, from a different hard drive. Normally, I suggest loading Windows, if that is your choice, first and into a Primary Partition. Windows 7 seems to create two partitions, one small Primary/Active booting one and a larger Primary Partition for the rest of Windows. I then load openSUSE second after Windows is done. The openSUSE /, SWAP or /home partitions can be loaded into any logical or Primary partition, but note the limitations of the Grub boot loader as mentioned above.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  6. #6

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    Hi James,
    Thanks for that and for immediate reply.
    Please could you elaborate about dual boot option. What I use most of the time is OS/2 Warp 4.52. (Yes it still works well and has now been reborn as eCS 2.0.) I may wish to put this on as an option at boot time. I am familiar (after a fashion) with primary and logical partitions when installing OS/2 and usually use the included Boot Manager. The setup is usually Boot Manager (Primary) OS/2 (Primary) and subsequent OSs and data on Logical partitions. There is a restriction on number of primaries to 4 and I assume that applies still. Is that correct?
    You don't need any primary partition for Linux. So you're fine. Create the logical partitions you need. I ususally create them in advanced with PartedMagic, so installing and partitioning remain to distinct operations. Then install openSUSE's Grub (in any case) in its root partition. OS/2 boot manager can chainload any logical partition. So it should not be a problem to chainload Linux Grub from there, even if it's installed on a logical partition. I did that several years ago, but we were still using LiLO at this time. Just make sure that your OS/2 boot manager partition remains the active one (pay attention of Grub advanced boot options) in case you don't install Grub to MBR. Of course, if you have a primary partition available, you can also use it for Linux (preferably / or a separate /boot in this case).

    Btw it's possible to have OS/2 in a logical partition and boot it without OS/2 bootmanager partition by using the xfdisk bootmanager (and maby several others). By doing so you'll save 2 primary partitions (may be useful in some situations).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Hi and thanks again.
    I conclude therefore that neither Linux (nor I am sure OS/2,) need a 1ary partition. So if I forget Boot Manager and use Grub in the MBR I could use Grub to boot to either OS and install these in logical partitions within one primary container. That would have the same result. Am I correct?

    I have just checked my newly installed 11.2 and note that although partitions are numbered as reported in my post above, the swap partition starts at sector 0 and root, named sda3 follows. In other words the disposition of the partitions is as I would have put them but the numbering is reversed. Don't suppose it matters but why is this? Is partition numbering in the order the partitions are created?

    Finally is it possible to have two linux OS's using the same /home directory or is that being too clever by far?

    Regards,
    Budgie2

  8. #8

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    I conclude therefore that neither Linux (nor I am sure OS/2,) need a 1ary partition.
    That's not exactly what I said. In most cases OS/2 needs its boot manager partition unless you use xfdisk. xfdisk emulates OS/2 boot manager in some way but is installed on the first track and therefore doesn't need a partition. But better forget about it, it's old. I'm not sure it would still work with modern HDs. Linux can use primaries and logicals for everything and doesn't require a primary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    So if I forget Boot Manager and use Grub in the MBR I could use Grub to boot to either OS and install these in logical partitions within one primary container. That would have the same result. Am I correct?
    I believe you can chainload your OS/2 boot manager partition from Grub. So If it were the first partition on the first HD, you would use such an entry:

    Code:
    ###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: OS/2###
    rootnoverify (hd0,0)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1
    I don't remember if makeactive is required. First try without! I doubt this entry will be added by the installation. If not, you'll have to add it manually in /boot/grub/menu.lst. I should add that I never booted OS/2 from Grub. I'm just assuming it would work, as I did it in the past with LiLO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    I have just checked my newly installed 11.2 and note that although partitions are numbered as reported in my post above, the swap partition starts at sector 0 and root, named sda3 follows. In other words the disposition of the partitions is as I would have put them but the numbering is reversed. Don't suppose it matters but why is this? Is partition numbering in the order the partitions are created?
    It depends on the partitioning tools used to write the partition table. It most cases, it is not a problem. You can fix partition order with fdisk under Linux (see Expert command help). But then you'll most likely have to change the partition in OS/2 boot manager (by pressing a function key that I can't remember). In any case, if you do that, do it *before* installing Linux from a Live CD or PartedMagic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    Finally is it possible to have two linux OS's using the same /home directory or is that being too clever by far?
    • It is safe and clever to share a /home partition between different Linux (I do it).
    • It is not possible to share a /home directory.

    Which means that before installing any user, you would have to change the default base home directory in something like /home/openSUSE, /home/Fedora, etc ... or /home/openSUSE-11.2, /home/openSUSE-11.3.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Hi please_try_again,
    Many thanks again for the detailed reply, some of which is coming back to me.

    I must put aside OS/2 for now. SCSI RAID card support not clear so this is not today's problem but many thanks for your further comments on this. I do have Grub chain loading OS/2 BM on my laptop and before I updated that machine I had it so I could select openSUSE from OS/2 BM so I only got the grub screen? if I selected openSUSE. Due to my lack of expertise when upgrading it changed to grub starting first and offering OS/2 BM on the grub menu but it all still works fine.

    I am sorry I have been careless with my language. I did mean a /home partition.
    I now have configuration of RAID1 drive as follows:-

    /dev/sda1 423.60 GB Linux native Ext4 /home 5484 60781
    /dev/sda2 2.01 GB Linux swap swap 0 261
    /dev/sda3 20.00 GB Linux native Ext4 / 262 2872

    There is 20.00 GB available for another partition from 2873 to 5483 and what I would like to do is create sda4 and try and install openSUSE 11.3 on that so I can continue to experiment whilst keeping my work from 11.2.

    Only three questions remain.
    How can I tell whether the above partitions are primary or logical and does it matter?
    If I create partition using free space does it matter if I chose logical or primary. I would tend to logical but which of the existing partitions is primary "container" and again does it matter?
    Does it matter that the partition numbering is counter intuitive in that the first partition on drive has higher /dev/sda number than the last?

    Getting there I think.
    Regards,
    Budgie2

  10. #10

    Default Re: Installation of 11.3 on IBMx3400 Crash and Partitioning Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    There is 20.00 GB available for another partition from 2873 to 5483 and what I would like to do is create sda4 and try and install openSUSE 11.3 on that so I can continue to experiment whilst keeping my work from 11.2.
    It depends on what you want to experiment, but in many cases, installing in a virtual machine is nice and safe. You might also consider this option.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    Only three questions remain.
    How can I tell whether the above partitions are primary or logical and does it matter?
    First, you can tell by their number: 1 to 4 are always primary. One of them (often the last one but not necessarily) can be extended (a container for logical partitions). Logical partitions numbering starts at 5.

    A partitioning tool like parted will display the type "primary", "extended" and "logical" while used with the option -l:
    Code:
    parted -l
    If you have Grub in MBR, it doesn't matter. Using primary partitions is safer though (there is only one partition table located in MBR).

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    If I create partition using free space does it matter if I chose logical or primary.
    No. If you create a primary, it will be named sda4. If you create a logical, il will be named sda5. You can either create a primary or one or more logicals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    I would tend to logical but which of the existing partitions is primary "container" and again does it matter?
    None. The primary "container" is called the extended partition. From the partition table point of view, the extended is a primary like the others. Partitioning tools generate the extended partition if it doesn't already exist when you create the first logical. You don't have an extended partition (yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Budgie2 View Post
    Does it matter that the partition numbering is counter intuitive in that the first partition on drive has higher /dev/sda number than the last?
    Most of the time it does not matter. Under circunstances, it could. the "f" command in fdisk (expert mode) can fix partition order.

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