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Partition my Powerbook
October 16, 2006 5:47 AM   Subscribe

How should I partition my Powerbook's 40GB disk now so that can install Linux later?

I finally have Mac OS X 10.4, and I'm going to reformat my disk and do a clean install on my Powerbook 12". I want to be able to install Linux without reformatting again, so how should I divide my 40 GB disk? My intuition is make one MOSX parition, one Linux partition (+ a swap partition?), and then the rest would be my data partition. Or is there a better scheme? And what sizes for each?
posted by Utilitaritron to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The partitioning scheme depends heavily on what you're going to use each OS for. How many applications are you going to install in OS X, how many in Linux, how much data are you going to put on it.

Three partitions is enough (OSX / Linux / Shared), as you can use a swap file under Linux as well.

Here's a quick checklist from an Ubuntu perspective, but this should be similar (if not the same) for your distro of choice (Fedora Core and SUSE also have PowerPC editions).
posted by lodev at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2006

Somewhat of a tricky question... Are you saying you want a linux partition, OS X, and a shared data partition?

I recently did something similar with an old iMac lampstyle I have. I formated the drive into 3 partitions with a live ubuntu disk and used parted from the terminal. I then installed OS X to the first partition, linux to the second, and left the 3rd for data. Xubuntu installed on the second partition fine after i created a 512MB partition for swap. It even made the correct bootstrap for yaboot (PPC's Grub counterpart)

As for the shared data partition, I haven't figured that out yet. I found some repositories with HFS+ tools for xubuntu that I am going to look into, or to try and reformat the partition as FAT 32. I think that might be my easiest option, but disk utility only allows me to format the drive as HFS or HFS+ so I need to look into that.

Check around on the PPC ubuntu forums for some more details.
posted by eleongonzales at 6:47 AM on October 16, 2006

What lodev said is correct. As a general recommendation I'd suggest 3 partitions:

1 = OSX
2 = Linux
3 = Data (with 3 being the biggest, probably)

Any practical reason you want to install Linux on a computer that already has a unix flavor on it, though, or is it just to tinker?
posted by twiggy at 7:14 AM on October 16, 2006

In one word: Don't.

i Partitioned my old iBook into three: for OS9, OS X and for some flavor of Linux. I never even bothered to find a Linux when it came down to it and I was always running out of space on the two other partitions, so it became a PITA.

OS X has so much *nix preinstalled anyway.

If you really must, why don't you use an external harddrive for that kind?
posted by KimG at 8:31 AM on October 16, 2006

As for sizing, I'd probably say:
20 GB Shared
5 GB Ubuntu
15 GB OS X

Though you also need swap, so I'd take that out of the OS X allotment.

I'm not sure what filesystem you should use for the shared partition -- lately I've had some problems with unjournaled HFS+ (Ubuntu can r/w it fine, but OS X says there's an extent error). FAT is dumb. UFS wasn't really compatible the last time I tried it.
posted by xueexueg at 8:34 AM on October 16, 2006

I honestly wouldn't even bother. Several times I have attempted to run linux on my Powerbook (which is also a 12" G4) and while it works, it is buggy enough to annoy the hell out of me very quickly. Wireless doesn't work (though there is a promising hack that looks to get some functionality), the trackpad is horribly annoying (can't turn off touch click, hard to get sensitivity right), no backlights on the keyboard and other such things. At face value, it may not seem like that big of a deal but after putting up with these problems for awhile, it was my deal breaker.

Now I just use OS X exclusively on my laptop and use fink for the programs I need. Also, the KDE packages for OS X are coming along, which makes me oh so very happy.
posted by chrisroberts at 9:38 AM on October 16, 2006

Won't linux boot off HFS+? I know iPodlinux will, so perhaps with some tinkering you could make a /linux directory and use whatever apple bootloader?
posted by claudius at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2006

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