I've been going between Windows, Mint, and Ubuntu on separate computers for about a month now, and now I want to make my main computer Xubuntu. I've seen plenty of resources of how to get everything set up with two hard drives (I have an SSD and HDD) with the initial OS installation, but am not sure about where to install certain programs and such.

For example on Mint, every time I install something I do "sudo apt-get 'whatever'", and everything is pretty much automatic. If I have two hard drives, how would I specify which drive to install to? Also, should I be worried about which hard drive (OS vs. extra volume) I install programs to? For example, if I installed g++ on the extra volume would it matter? Also, do I need to be worried about certain dependencies not being on the OS drive?

closed as primarily opinion-based by user34720, cuonglm, Scott, garethTheRed, Stephen Kitt Jun 9 '16 at 7:43

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  • Possible duplicate of How to properly plan relative sizes of partitions? (my answer there, tailored to your case here: I assume your HDD is larger than the SSD, and your home directory will have the most files (music, photos, etc.). So put /home on the HDD; and put / (root and everything else) on the SSD.) – drewbenn Jun 8 '16 at 18:13

You're thinking about commercial games, basically.

E.g. the entire Debian CD set is 8x 650MB compressed cds. Ubuntu Desktop claims to have a minimum requirement around 5GB although it's almost certainly slightly higher. By comparison Windows is described as requiring 20GB and does not include an Office suite. Personally I find current Linux desktop environments are comfortable with a 40GB filesystem (at 50% full), excluding your user data files. So it's not practically possible to fill a 128GB SSD with programs from your distribution repositories...

...nor is there any way to redirect a package to a filesystem of your choice. They'll use / or more specifically /usr.

You haven't mentioned being a heavy gamer so I don't think programs are going to cause you any problem. If you need the space you can dump music and videos to hard drive without really noticing. Anything else, I guess it's just a matter of what fits.

Unless you're on ~150GB or less and you don't want to do any fiddling afterwards, I highly recommend keeping /home on SSD, and mounting the hard drive separately. 10ms latency is perceptible when you have basically any random IO (multiple files accessed). That's only ten random IOs before you reach the magic figure of 100ms. SSD = goodness (I get 0.3ms for random reads).

I mean technically I could babble about Steam / Wine / whatever installing to /home/user by default, and choosing how to prioritize them v.s. other types of files. But "You Aint Gonna Need It" to start with, and it's so obvious how to manage moving whatever your own data files are around. So just wait until you have a real problem with something and then you can ask specifically :).

  • Yeah, I'm definitely not a gamer. On my windows computer, I only keep my OS on the SSD, and all applications on my HDD. But the way you put it, it sounds like I don't really need to worry about applications really taking up space. Most of my huge memory space comes from movies/shows/books, which like you said is really easy to manage. Sounds like I'm concerned over nothing. Thanks! – boy Jun 8 '16 at 20:54

In Linux you don't install things to a particular drive. You just install a package with them and the various files that compose the package ends up in various places across your system.

Then as a totally different operation you mount discs at various mountpoints (directories) and they then provide the disc space for that directory.

For many years Linux has had LVM that allows you to collect physical discs into (volume) groups and create logical volumes you can use as discs, the most common usage is to collect discs because into one (that's just a guess, I don't have data to back it). There's also device mapper (technically that also below LVM -- that can do RAID and encryption) that can complicate things, but you shouldn't worry about that now.

As a starting point you must have something (you can also use e.g. tmpfs'es ~ a "disc" only backed by RAM) mounted on /. When you don't know what you're doing the only other mountpoint I would consider is /home, a couple of reasons: - It makes it easy to preserve if I have to reinstall - It is (by far) the directory I need the most space in

When you have two discs I would use the smaller for / and the larger for /home, but as you say one is an SSD, the speed might also be something to consider.

The only real reason to worry about stuff being on different discs is the potential for problems booting if one disc dies. But as long as you don't have seperate mountpoints for /boot, /sbin/, /bin, /lib, /root and /var you shouldn't run into major problems (I've worked with less).

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