Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a life-long Windows developer switching over to Linux for the first time, and I'm starting off with Ubuntu to ease the learning curve.

My new laptop will primarily be a development machine: 6GB RAM, 320 GB HD. I'd like there to be 2 non-root users: (a) Development, which will always be me, and (b) Guest, for anyone else. I assume the root user is added by default, like System Administrator in Windows.

(1) I'd like to mount /home to its own partition, but how does this work if I have two user accounts (Development and Guest)? Are there 2 separate /home directories, or do they get shared? Is it possible to allocate more space for Development and only a tiny bit of space for Guest in GRUB2? How?!?!

(2) I'm assuming that its okay that all of my development tools (Eclipse & plugins, SVN, JUnit, ant, etc.) and Java will end up getting installed in non-/home directories such as /usr and /opt, but that my Eclipse/SVN workspace will live under my /home directory on a separate partition... any problems, issues, concerns with that?

(3) As far as partitioning schemes, nothing too complicated, but not plain Jane either:

  • Boot Partition, 512 MB, in case I want to install other OSes
  • Ubuntu & non-/home file system, 187.5 GB
  • Swap Partition, 12 GB = RAM x 2
  • /home Partition, 120 GB

I don't have any bulky media data (I don't have music or video libraries, this is a lean and mean dev machine) so having 320 GB is like winning the lottery and not knowing what to do with all this space. I figured I'd give a little extra space to the OS/FS partition since I'll be running JEE containers locally and doing a lot of file IO, logging and other memory-instensive operations.

Any issues, problems, concerns, suggestions?

(4) I was thinking about using ext4; seems to have good filestamping without any space ceiling for me to hit. Any other suggestions for a dev machine?

(5) I read somewhere that you need to be careful when you install software as the root user, but I can't remember why. What general caveats do I need to be aware of when doing things (installing packages, making system configurations, etc.) as root vs "Development" user?


share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by studiohack, random Dec 30 '10 at 3:53

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

your question is somewhat broad...perhaps split it up into several questions? – studiohack Dec 30 '10 at 2:55
  1. There is only one /home; user's home directories are usually created under that (e.g. /home/dev and /home/guest). Also, quotas.

  2. Correct. No problems.

    • That's overkill for /boot, unless you intend on placing an entire live image in there to boot with e.g. MEMDISK. I'd cut it down to 200MB.
    • / should only need about 30-40GB; allocate some towards /srv instead, and do your staging in there.
  3. Unless you need to access it from Windows, ext4 is a good choice.

  4. Do as little as possible as root, but at the same time only ever do root-related things as root.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the helpful feedback! To make sure I understand your recommendations, in #3 are you suggesting that I partition / and /serv separately? This would mean partitions for /boot, /, /srv, swap and /home, yes? Also, what typically goes in /srv? Thanks again! – Zac Dec 30 '10 at 3:03
Correct.… – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 30 '10 at 3:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.