Install on an existing filesystem without overwriting /home

Registered by Colin Watson

Ubiquity requires its target filesystems to be blank to avoid creating unsupportable mutant hybrids of multiple operating systems by accident. However, this is a little too strict where /home is concerned. Can we do better? In particular, can we at least clean out just the bits of the filesystem we know to be problematic?

(Defaulting to creating a separate /home partition is often suggested, but that has plenty of problems of its own. This should be more flexible.)

Possibly devote some time to discussing and expand upon the separate /home ideas that were discussed at FOSSCamp.

Blueprint information

Colin Watson
Series goal:
Accepted for hardy
Milestone target:
Started by
Completed by


2007-11-22 kamion: some small review comments; otherwise ready
2007-11-23 evand: updated based on comments; should be ready to review again.

It would be nice to also discuss how to handle existing loopinstallations, which might be considered a special case of this blueprint.

At the same time it would be nice to sort out /var as well. Users that are importing mysql databases from an existing install probably don't want to clear out their old /var.

There's one bad thing about recommending a separate /home: space. I stopped having a separate /home a while back since I always was low on space on either / or /home. Now, when reinstalling Ubuntu, I always use the Alternate Install CD, mount my /-partition there and remove everything except /home, then proceed with the installation. Works like a charm when done manually... why not automatically as well? (It could be called "keep user settings present on hard drive" or something).

(kamion) rapha, I entirely agree with the paragraph above and that is precisely what we discussed in this session. The summary item about recommending a separate /home was added by somebody else and would, I think, be a mistake to put into practice.

(mhall119) If you are going to do this, then at the same time please allow Ubiquity to copy the /home folder from a LiveCD Session. Whenever I install a new version of Ubuntu, I play with the settings while the install is in progress. It never fails that as soon as I get the settings just right (Gnome themes, screen resolution, all that), the install is finished and after booting into it all my time tailoring the desktop to my liking is out the window. It would be nice, maybe at the end of the Ubiquity installation, it checked if you had changed any settings, and asked if you wanted to apply them to your new installation.

2008-06-13 kamion: Belatedly approved. Evan, this is done now, right?

2008-06-13 evand: Yes and now marked as such.


Work Items