some suggestions for improving how the Ubuntu installer works

Registered by David Prieto on 2006-06-09

Copied from Ubuntuforums:

I recently did a clean install of Dapper from the LiveCD installer. The Live CD installer is fantastic and much better in the official release than in the buggy flights and betas. It makes installing linux easier for people who have done it before and understandable for everyone. After (and during know that I think about it) the install I found myself doing some "tricks of the trade" that i believe to be critical. I learned linux first with mandrake (back when it was mandrake) then with debian and gentoo, and finally Ubuntu Hoary. Over the years I picked up these install tricks that have made my life in linux much better. These tricks are relatively common. I'm sure most of the readers of this thread at least knows of most of them if not uses all of them. However Ubuntu is more and more targeted to total linux n00bs and to them these tricks are as foreign as Aramaic. I believe they should be integrated into the installer, or at least the installer should inform the users of these tweaks.

After a clean install of dapper, the very first thing I do is install the i686 or K7 kernel. I've never had any trouble with the official kernel packages for any architecture I've tried. I havn't tried SMP or 64bit yet, just because I havn't gotten my hands on those CPUs. Why not make the installer detect your CPU before installing any kernel and then install the appropriate kernel. It would cut out a step for people like me and provide the n00b audience with slightly better performance.

Partitioning is a daunting task even for people who know what they are doing. It appears that the live CD makes 2 partions by default and oddly the 2nd one is an extended partition. I always manually edit my partition table and ususally make 4 partitions unless I have a seperate HDD full of extra data or something. My setup generally looks like this:

/hda1 around 32mb /boot partition. Usually ext2
/hda2 2 X how ever much ram I have Linux-Swap
/hda3 around 10-15 gigs root partition.
/hda4 Whatever is left for /home. I also add user_xattr for beagle to kick ***!

I picked up putting /boot and swap in the front of the drive from my gentoo days. Little ricer showin though, but its wise to keep /boot seperate (especially if you have to patch your kernel and you never know if that need may arise) and it might as well be in the front. Its also wise to put swap up front. This placement will only provide slight performance games but it "makes sense"

Making /home a seperate partion isn't a performance tweak its a big convinience tweak. If ever you have to re-install you will be thanking the dear lord that you had the foresight to move you /home to a seperate partition. It can be difficult to gauge how many gigs to dedicate to / and how many to /home but HDDs are big these days and I never seem to exceed 15gigs of software so I leave that much for / and the rest to home. n00bs could seriously benefit from this since trick. I did the most damage to my filesystem when I was a linux n00b looking for the C:\Program Files\ equivalent and messing with .conf files I shouldn't be touching.

Gparted should definetly default to a boot and swap in the front. Boot being around 32M and Swap could programmatically be set to 2XRam. A seperate /home partition with user_xattr would be a great default setting as well.

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How about just making swap a file by default? With modern kernels, this only has advantages compared to a swap partition.

comment from r0lf: Then you should seek to bug 48517 getting fixed. Officially, ubuntu does not support swap files. And the devs are OK with it fucking up users' data.

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