OS questions


I have always used windows at work (NT, 2K, XP, 7) and I must admit I like windows 7, it’s a very good system, but there are some issues I don’t like such as having to install anti-virus, firewall, anti-malware, do regular scans… and every now and then some virus is able to enter the system just because a website I visited has been compromised and malware has been installed on it, last time it happened while I was searching hardware parts reviews to build a new system.
Other issues are the reboots after installing some drivers, updates or software. And finally, issues when trying to find 64 bit compiler… mingw64 is still at early stages and using vs express to build 64 bit binaries looks complicated to me.

So, I decided to use Linux in the new build I am waiting to arrive but have not decided the distribution. I plan to use it mainly for coding, graphics (blender, inkscape, mypaint, krita) and virtual machines (kvm or virtualbox). I am not new to linux, I have used debian in the past but It has been a long time since then.

I have been thinking on setting up software RAID 1 this way:

/boot and / on 128GB SSD (No TRIM due to RAID) and 2x1TB HDD (with write-mostly and write-behind)
/home, /var and swap? on 2x1TB HDD
/tmp on 32GB memory

Any comments on the setup? Suggestions?

What Linux system are you using? Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE?
Which one is easier to install and gives less trouble with a Nvidia card and CUDA?
How do you setup your build environment? Virtual machine, chroot or directly on the main system?
Apart from debian, which one is the most stable and easier to upgrade from one version to the next?

Thank you very much in advance!

Not sure if you really need to spread out the filesystems so much. Might be easier to just put / on the SSD and /home on one of the TB drives. 128GB should be plenty for /, I’m on Fedora with a decent amount of software installed and my / is only using 19GB.

Nvidia drivers are a piece of cake on Fedora, there’s a great guide on fedoraforum.org for that. F18 is coming out in January and is supposed to be extremely stable, mainly because the installer has had a complete re-write which slowed down the release cycle :wink: I always do a clean install to upgrade and that always works, though you have to setup everything all over again. There are ways to upgrade from one release to the next without a clean install but it’s a bit iffy.

I use cmake to compile Blender and that’s about all the dev stuff I do :slight_smile:

I’ve also got Ubuntu on another partition and IMHO it is an absolute PITA to use! Getting Blender to work even across different releases of Ubuntu was horrific.

This probably just personal preference, but I can’t stand debian package management either :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi, these separations were important in early days but with these ultra fast SSD not today.
I am on opensuse since suse 5 and now my system is on a 60 GB SSD inclusive /home as separate partition and use only 50% of the 60 GB.
Blender branches, video and picture files are on a regular hardisk.
Put the whole system on the SSD and may a raid 1 system for files and backups.
I try many distris but ever come back to suse, me test arch linux last time and like it very much.

Cheers, mib.

I just updated my Mint 11 to Mint 14 to get the new Nvidia drivers and try out Steam for Linux. Played Team Fortess 2 for hours on end.

I like Mint although 14 is a bit slower than 11 was as far as getting instant feedback from clicking on something. I think that’s a Cinnamon thing though. I probably should have chosen Mate but I’ve already got it installed and it’s pretty. :slight_smile:

You’ll want to install dconf-tools right away to use Blender with a stylus (they mapped Alt to move windows for some stupid reason).

I made the jump to Linux with SuSE 6.something. It was last century. I’ve never reinstalled it, only updated up to OpenSuSE 12.something now. I copy it from HD to HD as I buy new ones. My OpenSuSE 10.something made the switch from 32-bit to 64-bit CPU and I noticed no difference. It went straight to the desktop as if nothing changed. When asked, I always recommend OpenSuSE.

As for the partitioning, it’s still useful. You don’t want to do too many write accesses to your SSD. The limits are raising but it’s still not a “real” HD. You don’t want to put /home and /tmp on a SSD for example. Besides, you don’t want to wait too long when you boot. If your OS decides it’s time to do a checkdisk on a full 1 TB partition, you regret you didn’t split it. By habit, I always have /boot, /, /home and “swap” on separate partitions, plus a few more to split the HD in manageable chunks. The only one I consider as a relic from the past is “swap”. I have only 4 GB of RAM but I still have to succeed to make my OS swap.

yeah, i use MATE for that reason, but otherwise i really like Mint too. Cinnamon’s pretty, but i too have noticed that it’s less immediately responsive.

@Kaluura, new SSD have about 5 Million write cycles and 5 years warranty, you never break one with a home PC.
My /tmp is in RAM. :slight_smile:


Thanks for your comments and your tips. I take note of them. Maye I will end up using only / with no separate /boot or /home just to have an easier setup and easier dual boot of two distributions and using rsync or other backup solution to copy anything I want to keep to RAID HDD data partition. Just have not decided yet.

So, for now we have two OpenSUSE, two Mint and one Fedora.

I have been testing OpenSUSE 12.2 on my laptop today before my new computer arrives, it looks very nice and fast and I liked it but while I was testing I searched some tutorials on RAID and the first results I got on google were almost all about RAID issues with OpenSUSE 12.1 and 12.2… mostly when upgrading but I think I will test a bit more Mint MATE, Ubuntustudio/Xubuntu and Fedora XFCE.