K.S. Bhaskar on 9 Jan 2011 11:10:07 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Linux n00b question

I always set up a system with two alternate root partitions.

Once I set up the initial root partition, I copy it over to another
partition mounted as /spare. Getting it to mount requires some minor
editing of /etc/fstab and grub setup.  Each mounts the other as
/spare. I confirm that I can boot both.  Then I boot the alternate
root only occasionally, just to verify that it's still sound.  Now, if
I have some software updates go awry, or a version upgrade that fails,
I just switch to the alternate root (and as likely as not make it my
main root and recreate the original root from it).

I always set up an encrypted /home. But I configure my PC so that I
can login without /home mounted. When I cross an international border
with my laptop, I always cross it with the laptop powered down. Then
if I am asked to boot it, I boot it, and can login - but it will be an
innocuous /home, not my real /home (not that I have ever been asked to
boot my laptop - just a sensible precaution, IMHO). To mount the
encrypted /home, I login as root and run a shell script:

# Get password and mount /home
umount /home >&/tmp/umounthome_$$_`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.log
cryptsetup remove sda2-aes >&/tmp/cryptsetupremove_$$_`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.log
cryptsetup -c aes -s 256 create sda2-aes /dev/sda2
2>/tmp/cryptsetup_$$_`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.log
fsck -a -t jfs /dev/mapper/sda2-aes | tee /tmp/fsck_$$_`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`.log
mount -o relatime /dev/mapper/sda2-aes /home >&/tmp/mount_$$_`date
swapon /home/swap

Yes, swap is a file on /home - an unencrypted swap can leak
information if the laptop is stolen.  And yes, I use jfs for any
partition that contains information I care about - I trust it more
than I trust ext*.

In these days of monster disks, I usually have the fourth partition
mounted as /extra from both roots.  I use this for anything that I am
working on that doesn't need to be encrypted (e.g., since the software
I work with, GT.M, is FOSS, I don't need an encrypted development
environment for it.

-- Bhaskar

On Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 8:56 AM, Steve Slaughter
<steve2slaughter@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hey, folks.
> I'm building a new PC and plan to install Ubuntu 10.10 ONLY on this machine. I do not want Windows on any partitions. OK, I might run Windows 7 in Virtual Box for games, but I don't plan on wasting a lot of time with that until I find a joystick replacement for keyboard/mouse control.
> To save money, I only bought a 1 TB HDD.
> What, in your opinion, is the best way to partition this drive?
> Should I just select the parameters Ubuntu will set during the installation process, or do some extra-special manual partitioning?
> Yes, I'm a n00b :-)
> Thanks for your help!
> Steve
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