Partition Disks

Select the Partition Disks option from the expanded Main Menu. I've run this exercise on a virtual machine with 256MB of RAM. Make a note of the amount of RAM configured for your system. If the space configured doesn't match the steps shown, please feel free to deviate as needed. Be aware, there are more options under Partition Disks than I can clearly cover in a single section. Take the following steps:

1. As shown in Figure 2-10, several options are available for partitioning method. If free space is available, additional options might be shown. The LVM shown in the figure is short for Logical Volume Management. Briefly, it supports the creation of volumes over multiple partitions. For more information, see Chapter 5.

Briefly, the Guided options configure partitions with some default configuration for directories on specific volumes. For this chapter, I want to show you how to customize the partition scheme, so select Manual and press enter to continue.

2. If a partition configuration already exists, it's presented for your review. Depending on any preexisting configuration, it could look similar to the Partition Disks menu shown in Figure 2-11. You can avoid changing partitions, potentially saving existing data. To continue, you may select Guided Partitioning or Undo Changes To Partitions. The right step depends on the current state of the hard drive.

Otherwise, select a hard drive to partition and press enter to continue.

Figure 2-10. Options for partitioning disks

3. Assuming you accept the idea to delete all data on the current disk, confirm the suggestion to Create New Empty Partition Table On This Device. If you do, press tab to highlight Yes, and press enter to continue.

4. Select a Partition Table type. Believe it or not, the default partition table type for Linux partitions is msdos. (Those of you who understand the parted tool may recognize this idiosyncrasy.) Make the desired selection and press enter to continue.

5. You're returned to the Partition Disks menu. Select the Free Space on one hard disk and press enter.

6. You're asked How To Use This Free Space. As shown in Figure 2-12, there are three options: Create A New Partition, Automatically Partition The Free Space, and Show Cylinder/Head/Sector Information. You could select Automatically Partition The Free Space, but you wouldn't learn much about this part of the installation process. Therefore, select the Create A New Partition option and press enter to continue.

Figure 2-12. Options for using free space on a disk partition

7. You'll now have a chance to specify a partition size. The default would take all available free space. For this exercise, create a partition for the /boot directory, and set the partition size to 100MB. Then press tab to highlight Continue, and press enter to continue.

8. The first partition can be Primary or Logical. Select a Primary partition, and press enter to continue.

9. The partition can be configured at the beginning or the end of the drive. The beginning of the drive is most appropriate for the /boot directory. Select Beginning, and press enter to continue.

10. In the menu shown in Figure 2-13, you'll get to customize various elements of the partition. Note the default mount point, the top-level root directory (/), which is not appropriate for a 100MB partition. Highlight the Mount Point line and press enter to continue.

11. Select the /boot directory from the menu that appears. For more information on other directories, see Chapter 5. Press enter to continue.

Figure 2-13. Customizing a partition

12. As the /boot directory partition, the Bootable Flag should be set to On. Assuming it's off (which is the default), highlight that option and press enter. The partition's Bootable Flag should now be set to On.

The third extended filesystem (ext3) is the default format for Ubuntu partitions. Some administrators prefer to format smaller partitions to the second extended filesystem (ext2), as there is little benefit to the journaling associated with ext3. If you want to make this change, this is the appropriate time to do so.

13. Scroll to the bottom of the screen to the Done Setting Up The Partition option, and press enter to continue.

14. You're returned to a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 2-11. Select the remaining Free Space and press enter.

15. Repeat step 6. Select Create A New Partition.

16. Allocate all but a few hundred megabytes of the remaining space to the New Partition, and press enter to continue.

17. As with step 8, set this second partition as a Primary Partition, and press enter to continue.

18. As with step 9, the partition can be configured at the beginning or the end of the drive. For the purpose of this chapter, select Beginning, and press enter to continue. You'll see a screen similar to Figure 2-13.

19. Confirm that the mount point is set to the top-level root directory (/), as suggested in steps 10 and 11. Change it to that directory, if required.

20. Select Done Setting Up The Partition.

21. Review the partitioning table; you should now have at least two partitions.

22. Now create a third partition—one for swap space. Highlight the existing free space and press enter.

23. Again, select Create A New Partition and press enter. Swap space is normally approximately twice the existing RAM.

24. As with step 8, set this partition as a Primary Partition. But if you prefer, it will work essentially just as well as a Logical Partition. Make a selection, and press enter to continue.

25. The partition can be configured at the beginning or the end of the drive. Assume the beginning of the drive; select Beginning, and press enter to continue.

26. Highlight the Use As option and press enter.

27. In the Partition Disks: How To Use This Partition menu that appears, as shown in Figure 2-14, select Swap Area and press enter.

28. Confirm the result in the Partition Settings screen that appears. If acceptable, highlight Done Setting Up The Partition and press enter.

29. Review the final partition table, as shown in Figure 2-15. If satisfactory, scroll down and highlight the Finish Partitioning And Write Changes To Disk option.

Press enter to continue.

30. Finally, you'll have a chance to write the changes to disk. Select Yes if so desired and press enter.

31. The installation program formats the partition that you've configured.

If you haven't allocated a partition or volume to the top-level root directory (/), an error message will appear. Repeat the allocation process if needed to assign a partition or volume to that directory. The allocation can be temporary, if you want to set up a RAID array as the top-level root directory (/). When these steps are successful, you're returned to the expanded Ubuntu Installer Main Menu.

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