[sf-lug] todays meeting at enchanted cafe

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jan 3 00:36:01 PST 2011

Quoting Bobbie Sellers (bliss at sfo.com):

> I had my own problems in the last couple of days.  I tried to
> carve a partition out of Windows but ended
> up destroying Windows on my machine.  It took me from Noon to 3 PM
> on Saturday to figure that out.


> Then I tried an install of Kubunto to my new and empty partition but
> it failed to be able to access my home directory.

I'm guessing that your 'home directory' is on a separate filesystem?

Sad to say, there are good reasons why you should not try to share a
/home filesystem between multiple different Linux distributions
(/Unixes).  In practice, it causes more problems than it solves.  One
noatble problem is version skew in the dotfile directories.  If you use
GNOME, for example, you have ~/.gnome2, .gconf2, and a bunch of other
subdirectory trees within your home directory where GNOME's
internal record-keeping is stored.  The problem is created because GNOME
_usually_ (but not always) tries to preserve forward-compatibility
within its dotfile directories, but doesn't even aspire to making those
directories backwards compatible.  Therefore, any time distro A has even
a modestly different GNOME version from what distro B provides, one of
the distros is going to write dotfile contents likely to cause the other
distro's software to fail (segfault, etc.).  And that's just GNOME.

That aside, I cannot tell what 'failed to be able to access' means in
current context.  Perhaps you mean 'cannot mount'?

You might have ended up trying to unknowingly violate some of the
built-in rules of how partition tables work.  In my experience, the more
people mess around with multibooting, the more likely they are to run
afoul of those built-in rules because they are unable to Keep It Simple.

I keep advising newcomers to Linux to go easy on the clever partitioning
tricks and multibooting, and they seem to ignore that advice to their
regret.  Just a thought.

> In the process it wiped out my good nVidia driver and my printer
> configuration.  

Suggestion:  Now is the time to start the process of making safety
copies of things you rely on.  For example, if (as I would guess) you
were relying on a particular release of the proprietary Nvidia video
driver set, and on a particular /etc/x11/xorg.conf file you created to
use it, there's no reason whatsoever why you shouldn't have had safety
copies of both of those, in one or more place unlikely to see damage,
for safekeeping.

Here is my scheme for backup and restore of my linuxmafia.com server.
Note that I've carefully identified which files and directories actually
matter, i.e., those I would miss and are worth making safety copies of:

> As a matter of fact I was up until 3 AM Sunday morning working on that
> problem which related it seems to the Distro makers deciding to change
> the users to new numbered groups and where as I had been bliss with a
> group of 500 which  was the group that the /home directory belonged
> to.  It had changed my group number to 1000.  I had to delete my old
> user bliss with that group and create a new user bliss with the group
> 500.

No, you really didn't.

If you just use the chown/chgrp commands, you can fix UID and GID
changes really easily.

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