Project Trisana: Starting State

Tagged as nonlinked, sysadmin, trisana

Written on 2021-07-22

Introduction

So, I have a number of computers in my possession. And like many *nix users, I enjoy distro-hopping to some extent. This inevitably leads to a situation where my partition tables look like the aftermath of a five-year-old retrofit, with fragmentation and user hostility reigning supreme.

On my personal laptop, at least, I want to solve this problem. And one step towards that goal begins today.

I intend to document the entire process I take, including and focusing on any interesting problems I might run into, during the process of reorganizing my laptop (which I have named 'Trisana', after Trisana Chandler of Emelan).

To begin with, I think it is probably germane to describe the current state of the system.

Partition Layout

I have two block devices installed currently, one NVME drive and one SATA SSD. The NVME is my main drive, and the SSD is mostly used for storage (it was originally the only drive I had in the laptop at all, but it is very small). The NVME drive layout currently looks like this:

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.8

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/nvme0n1: 500118192 sectors, 238.5 GiB
Model: WDC WDS256G1X0C-00ENX0                  
Sector size (logical/physical): 512/512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): CC33AA0D-E9A6-446A-89A4-918B108AC50C
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 500118158
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2014 sectors (1007.0 KiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048           34815   16.0 MiB    0C01  Microsoft reserved ...
   2           34816       209717247   100.0 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   3       209717248       293603327   40.0 GiB    8300  Linux x86-64 root (/)
   4       293603328       377489407   40.0 GiB    8304  Linux x86-64 root (/)
   5       377489408       419432447   20.0 GiB    8200  Linux swap
   6       419432448       499533823   38.2 GiB    8302  Linux /home
   7       499533824       500118158   285.3 MiB   EF00  

And the SSD looks like this:

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 1.0.8

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sda: 117231408 sectors, 55.9 GiB
Model: BIWIN SSD       
Sector size (logical/physical): 512/512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 02E0F3C9-965A-49A2-960F-9A044419441E
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 117231374
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2014 sectors (1007.0 KiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048         1085439   529.0 MiB   2700  Basic data partition
   2         1085440         1290239   100.0 MiB   EF00  EFI System Partition
   3         1290240       117231374   55.3 GiB    8300  Linux filesystem

Let's clean that up a bit into a table, which summarizes all of the partitions currently in use.

| Partition | Size | Code | Format | Label | Notes | |----------- |---------- |---- |---------- |-------- |--------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | nvme0n1p1 | 16.00 MiB | 0C01 | Unknown | None | MSR Partition | | nvme0n1p2 | 100.00 GiB | 0700 | ntfs | None | Windows 10 | | nvme0n1p3 | 40.00 GiB | 8300 | ext4 | Fedora33 | Fedora 33 | | nvme0n1p4 | 40.00 GiB | 8304 | ext4 | None | Gentoo | | nvme0n1p5 | 20.00 GiB | 8200 | linux-swap | Swap | Swap Space | | nvme0n1p6 | 38.82 GiB | 8302 | ext4 | None | Home | | nvme0n1p7 | 285.30 MiB | EF00 | fat16 | None | EFI Partition | | sda1 | 529.00 MiB | 2700 | ntfs | Recovery | MS Recovery | | sda2 | 100.00 MiB | EF00 | fat32 | None | EFI Partition | | sda3 | 55.30 GiB | 8300 | ext4 | None | Storage |

OS Loadout

The partitions are all well and good, but they should be supporting the OSes I currently have use for. Currently, I have access to three distinct OSes on Trisana: Fedora 33, Gentoo, and Windows 10.

Windows 10

This is by far the easiest one to talk about, mostly because I don't use it at all.

I currently have two partitions devoted solely to it on my NVME drive totalling 100 GiB, and 1 partition on my SSD totalling 529 MiB. Total space devoted to Windows 10: 100.6 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 34.17% of my available disk storage.

I have an install of Windows 10 mostly because, almost 2 years ago, I was doing a lot of work in Excel for my job. I needed to be able to access a Powerquery environment at home, and since the one I was using at work was Excel 2016 it was simplest to just pay for a Microsoft 365 subscription and an OEM Key.

That said, I haven't booted into that install in over a year. There is nothing I need to pull from it, and it is largely dead space at this point.

Gentoo

I had a bit of an epiphany recently in my thoughts surrounding my first Linux distribution, Slackware Linux, and it made me want to explore source based distributions. Gentoo is the first step there, and I played around with it for a week or two before moving on.

I currently have a single partition solely devoted to it on my NVME drive totalling 40.00 GiB, and no partitions on the SSD. Total space devoted to Gentoo: 40.00 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 13.59% of my available disk storage.

I don't think I necessarily want to install Gentoo again. I actually would like to give SMGL a try, if anything. But it is telling that it is almost 1/3 the size of the Windows 10 partition.

Fedora 33

This is my daily driver OS, and actually the one this file was started in. I prefer RPM to DEB, and Fedora is a good target for a simple desktop-oriented distribution. That said, 33 is older at this point. Current release at time of writing is 34.

I currently have 1 partition solely devoted to it on my NVME drive totalling 40.00 GiB, and no partitions on the SSD. Total space devoted to Fedora 33: 40.00 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 13.59% of my available disk storage.

I want to upgrade to Fedora 34, I think. I don't think I'll be switching to another distro as my daily driver, but it might be nice to have an open slot just in case.

Non-OS-Specific Partitions

These are groups of partitions that aren't solely devoted to a single OS, whether they are completely agnostic or supportive of many different OSes.

EFI Partitions

I currently have two of these. I should only really have one, and it should be on my first disk if possible. I think it makes more sense to put it on the NVME drive, as the SSD is the drive I would upgrade first if I decide I need more storage. They should also be the first partitions in the table.

I currently have 1 partition devoted to this on the NVME drive totalling 285.32 MiB, and 1 partition on the SSD totalling 100.00 MiB. Total space devoted to EFI Partitions: 0.39 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 0.13% of my available disk storage.

When constructing the new partition layout, It should be nvme0n1p1 that is the only EFI Partition.

Swap

I currently have a 20 GiB Swap Partition on my NVME drive, and none on my SSD, for a total of 6.79% of my available disk space. I also have 16 GiB of RAM installed.

I want hibernation, and I'm happy with this amount of Swap. Will probably echo this setup in the new layout.

Home Drive

I currently have an ext4 partition specifically set aside to be the home drive in each *nix distribution I install. This is a tradition I've followed since I was a teenager, so that I don't need to move all of my personal data off of the disk when I reinstall my OSes.

I currently have 1 partition devoted to this on the NVME drive totalling 38.20 GiB, and no partitions devoted to this on the SSD. Total space devoted to Home Drive: 38.20 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 12.98% of my available disk storage.

If anything, this should be bigger in the new layout. It might also be worthwhile to set aside a specific directory layout, or even a specific partition, for files outside of a single OS-user perview (Photos, Videos, etc) and use symlinks to add them to the user directories, like I did in another of my builds. Especially if I am going to commit to using more than one OS.

Other storage

This is something I have done mostly due to lack of backup space or home space or similar. These partitions should not really exist, and should either be off-machine backups or part of the Home drive.

I currently have 0 partitions devoted to this on the NVME drive, and 1 on the SSD drive totalling 55.29 GiB. Total space devoted to Other Storage: 55.29 GiB / 294.37 GiB, or 18.78% of my available disk space.


Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Christopher Rodriguez