Project Trisana: Target State Outline

Tagged as os-hopping, sysadmin, trisana

Written on 2021-07-24


This is an ongoing project to redesign my laptop's partition layout.

Here, I'd like to define the basic end state I'm targeting with this project: The partition layout for both drives, and some locked in choices for a general path forward. This is probably going to be inaccurate by the time I am finished with this project.

Overview of Resources Available

I have a total of 294.73 GiB available currently across two drives, a primary NVMe drive with a capacity of 238.50 GiB and a secondary SSD drive with a capacity 55.93 GiB.

My CPU is an Intel i3-8130U, which is 64 Bit and x86 based.

I have 16 GiB of DDR3 SDRAM.

There is an Optical Drive (DVD+RW) installed, both useful for booting and writing. There is also an SD Card slot.

I have 4 USB ports (1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C).

There's a VGA Port, an HDMI Port, a 3.5mm audio (in/out) jack, and an Ethernet (8P8C) Port built into the motherboard.

Wireless Networking is through a Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter Chip on the QCNFA435 networking card. The same card provides Bluetooth 4.1 using a Foxconn T77H617.00 chip.

Target Requirements and Stretch Goals

We are obviously targeting UEFI here.

I definitely need a 20.00 GiB Swap partition, which should go at the end of the NVMe drive.

I also need the EFI System Partition, which should be 550 MiB, to be the first partition.

As for LVM… I think I would rather switch to btrfs instead, mostly due to my experience with both. If that means needing to switch to SUSE instead of Fedora, then that's what it means. Here is an example of optimizing btrfs for NVMe.

The entirety of the second drive (55.93 GiB) should be set aside for the Home Drive, which will have subdirectories for each OS. This is an increase of almost 20 GiB, and also nicely isolates the files so that should I decide to upgrade I can install the new drive and move the files after using a SATA to USB Adapter.

With these requirements, I've used the entirety of the SSD and 20.55 GiB of the NVMe. This leaves me with 217.95 GiB to distribute as I need for OSes and Programs.

I know I want a partition for a daily-driver style, RPM-based distro (Fedora ideally). I know I also want a source-based distro of Linux (SMGL), and I have wanted to try a BSD for a while (FreeBSD to start).

Non-primary goals might be to provide a way to easily add Slackware 15 to the system whenever it comes out, a FreeDOS/Haiku/Android/NixOS partition, and maybe some kind of testing OS like Live Raizo for education. I'd also like a partition for games/movies specifically, but as a low-priority for sure.

I generally devote ~40.00 GiB per OS Install. So these would fit:

  • Fedora
  • SGML
  • FreeBSD
  • Slackware 15/FreeDOS/Haiku/Android/Live Raizo/LFS/NixOS (Temporary OS)
  • Games/Movies

That should work nicely, I think.

Finalized Report

Below is the final table of partitions I'm planning to use during my wipe and reinstall of Trisana.

Partition Size Code Format Label Notes
nvme0n1p1 550 MiB C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B fat32 ESP EFI System Partition
nvme0n1p2 40.00 GiB 4F68BCE3-E8CD-4DB1-96E7-FBCAF984B709 btrfs RPM Fedora/OpenSUSE
nvme0n1p3 40.00 GiB 4F68BCE3-E8CD-4DB1-96E7-FBCAF984B709 btrfs SGML Source Mage GNU/Linux
nvme0n1p4 40.00 GiB 516E7CB6-6ECF-11D6-8FF8-00022D09712B ufs BSD FreeBSD
nvme0n1p5 40.00 GiB 4F68BCE3-E8CD-4DB1-96E7-FBCAF984B709 ext4 OOS Other OS
nvme0n1p6 57.95 GiB 0FC63DAF-8483-4772-8E79-3D69D8477DE4 btrfs Bin Games / Movies
nvme0n1p7 20.00 GiB 0657FD6D-A4AB-43C4-84E5-0933C84B4F4F swap Swap Swap Partition
sda1 55.93 GiB 933AC7E1-2EB4-4F13-B844-0E14E2AEF915 btrfs Home Home Drive

While I think this makes sense, I recognize two things about the below table:

One, that I am leaning very heavily into btrfs here, and may want to reexamine that choice before I roll out these changes.

Two, that I am somehow going to make use of 3-4 OSes in my daily life (I may not, and may fall into only usually using one, sacrificing 120 GiB of storage for no reason).

To mitigate these, I plan to examine filesystem choices more thoroughly in the near future, especially when using my specific hardware. And I have grouped together (contiguously) the OSes, from most to least likely to be used in my daily life. This way, if the partitions turn out to be superfluous, I can combine them into each other or the Bin partition easily.

Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Christopher Rodriguez