Microwave Biscuit

Move /home to it’s own partition

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on November 12, 2007

I have long heard about the benefits of moving /home to its own partition and I have really wanted to do so, however I was concerned about breaking something so I haven’t done it until now. Last night I found this post:

Move /home to it’s own partition « Ubuntu Blog

Which goes back a ways but by reading the whole post and the comments I was able to easily move my home folder to its own partition. To recap the steps (including changes/deviations to the original authors steps) here you go:

1. Create a new partition – this could be a new drive, resize and existing drive, etc. In my case I resized an under-used disk I have (hdb1) and allowed for 50 Gib of space for /home. I did this with Gnome Partion Manager (GParted). Probably a bit more space than I needed as my existing home folder is roughly 1 gig but as I said the disk is underused as it is. My new partition is hdb2. If you are doing this, you should change hdb2 in my steps to whatever your new drive is.
2. As per the original article, make a new directory and mount the partition:

$mkdir /mnt/newhome
$sudo mount -t ext3 /dev/hdb2 /mnt/newhome

3. Next I had to deviate a bit to get everything copied correctly. I did:

sudo find . -depth -print0 | sudo cpio --null --sparse --preserve-modification-time -pvd /mnt/newhome/

Which copied everything over and preserved the modification times. The reason for preserving the modification times is so that using a tool like Krusader you can compare directories and make sure everything in your existing /home folder is in /newhome
4. Unmount the /newhome new partition:

$sudo umount /mnt/newhome

5. Move your existing home folder (note: you should have already made sure everything was moved cleanly before this step!!!!)

$sudo mv /home /old_home

6. Make a new “home” for /home:

sudo mkdir /home

7. Mount the new home:

$sudo mount /dev/hda5 /home

8. Modify your /etc/fstab file:

sudo gedit /etc/fstab

and add the line:

/dev/hdb2 /home ext3 nodev,nosuid 0 2

9. I then rebooted my computer, made sure everything is working right and finally:

$sudo rm -r /old_home

which will get rid of your old home directory.

So, with everything in place I now have /home on it’s own partition. This allows for the re-installation of everything should I corrupt my system without losing all of my crucial data. If I have to re-install all of the executables on my system that’s a piece of cake – just get a new CD of Ubuntu and go. If I lost my /home folder it would be a lot harder to recover from. This doesn’t take the place of backups – regular backups are still crucial. It’s just that by having /home on its own partition you segregate the operating system from your data.

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Quick terminal tip!

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on November 12, 2007

In your bashrc file ( /home/username/.bashrc ) put in:


shopt -s cdspell

This will do auto typo correction in the terminal. So, for instance, if I type in:


cd /hom/me/

It will automagically go to /home/me.

Cool, no?

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Mail’s Here

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on November 5, 2007

I’m having an issue with my mail client and I can’t seem to find a good resolution. I use Google’s GMail which recently introduced IMAP capabilities. I have been using POP with Claws Mail for a while but when I switched my account to IMAP in Claws it really has started behaving badly. First off, I can’t actually send mail. Check that, I can send it but somehow it errors out saying that it didn’t send but it actually does send. If I look in my sent messages folder I will see the message I just sent but the sending process takes a while and reports an error. Secondly, Claws Mail seems to be taking an inordinate amount of memory on my system now that I’m using IMAP. Lastly it just seems to crash once in a while.

Last night I thought I’d mess around with a couple of other mail clients to see if anything worked nicely. I tried Evolution first. Honestly Evolution is almost as bloated as Outlook. I also don’t like the way it handles my local mail. For some reason in Evolution I can’t actually delete local mail. It moves it to the trash but never deletes it. I can say “Empty Trash” but it won’t. Next… I grabbed Thunderbird. Loaded up my IMAP account and it works really nicely. I haven’t used Thunderbird in a while and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it looks. I thought I might have a winner until I tried to add a local mail account. After some web searching, I found out that Thunderbird doesn’t support maildir/mbox so I’d have to reconfigure my local account to use IMAP. That’s not a project I was willing to take on… Moving along – how about KMail? I have used Gnome now for so long that KDE apps don’t appeal to me anymore. Too may configurations to work on in different menus.

I was reminded about why I switched to Claws mail in the first place – it’s fast, works, etc. If only it behaved a little nicer with IMAP I’d be content. Any thoughts on a mail client that works well with IMAP and Local maildir/mbox?

The Good, The Bad and The XBOX 360

Posted in Technology by microwavebiscuit on November 4, 2007

To start this post I’ll recap my gaming console purchases:

Many years ago I bought a PlayStation 1 (original? old skool?) and it worked forever. In fact, it still works. When the PS2 came out I upgraded and it worked and worked (and still works). When it came time to purchase a 3rd generation console I thought long and hard about it. The PS3 is awfully cool and sexy and whatnot but way spendy. It also didn’t come out on time. So, I ended up buying a XBOX 360.

I have had it for a little less than a year. Last week I got the dreaded red ring of death when trying to play a game. I looked online and went through the various steps in determining that the system is borked. So, today I called India (XBOX support) and they walked me through the troubleshooting steps again (after first going through the troubleshooting steps with a computer voice prompt thingy) and they agree that it is in fact fubard.

Being that my XBOX is under warranty they are sending me a pre-paid box to ship it back to them in and they will repair it. Expected turn around time is 3-4 weeks. So, I guess I’m relatively pleased that my XBOX isn’t a pricey door-stop and that it will be fixed. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be broken in the first place. I wonder how well the PS3 is doing in terms of longevity. If it’s anything like my PS1, PS2, etc. I’m sure it will run forever.

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