Mandriva 2011, the latest edition of the popular Linux distribution, is just three days from being officially released, but the daily builds are already available for download. This article, based on a last-freeze daily build, presents an installation and disk partitioning guide for those who are new to Linux and will be installing it for the first time.
There is also useful information for seasoned users, too. A last-freeze daily build is the same as the final release, at least as far as the installation process is concerned. You may download it here or wait for the final release, due August 29, 2011.
Mandriva’s installation image is a Live DVD with the option to install it directly from the boot menu, without booting into the Live desktop. If you boot into the Live desktop, use the search feature of ROSA Launcher to search for “live install” or just “live,” and start the installer from there.
Whether installing from the Live desktop or directly from the boot menu, click until you get to the step shown below. The fun starts here. Next.
Clicking Next from the previous step will put you at this step, where the disk partitioning methods are presented. The options you see here will depend on the state of the target hard drive, but they should be self-explanatory. Selecting one of the first three options shown here will cause the installer to partition the hard drive, or parts of it, automatically and install the system. The installation process is a 2-stage one, and you will have no say in the process, until the first stage has completed. If you wish to take control of the partitioning, select the last option.
Choosing the “Custom disk partitioning” option from the previous step will open the advanced partitioning tool, and unlike the advanced partitioning tool in Ubuntu Desktop, this is truly advanced. Shown here are three partitions created by default, which, by the way, does not include a separate boot partition. From here, you can create partitions manually, or use the “Auto allocate” option, which requires that you first delete existing partitions. You may also “Toggle to expert mode,” which gives you a few more options.
This is the view from expert mode.
If you click the Auto allocate button, the installer presents these options. The “simple” option will cause the installer to create the three partitions shown in the last two images. On a suitably-sized hard drive, the root partition will be about 12GB, Swap will be 4GB, and the rest will be used for the home partition.
The “with /usr” option creates a separate partition for the /usr file system directory, in addition to the three created under “simple.”
And the “server” option creates separate partitions for /tmp and /var file systems directories. A problem with the partitions created using the “Auto allocate” option is disk space allocation could be better. To better manage disk space allocation, you will have to create partitions manually. Manual partitioning is covered in the next seven images.
To start creating partitions, delete existing ones, then select the free space and click the Create button. For this tutorial, four partitions (/boot, /, Swap and /home) will be created. Be sure to toggle to expert mode. Even in the disk partitioning window, it gives you better options.
Note that the installer supports LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, but it is not the default. A future article will offer a step-by-step guide on how to install Mandriva 2011 on an LVM disk partitioning scheme.
For the boot partition, a disk space of 300 to 500MB is normal across most Linux and BSD distributions. The default file system is ext4, but you may choose “Linux Native” from the “Filesystem type” dropdown menu. “Linux Native” is ext2, a non-journaling file system. If Mandriva is the first distribution or operating system on the disk, the installer will create this as a primary partition, but it does not hurt to select “Primary” from the “Preference” menu. Click Ok when you are satisfied with your choices.
With the boot partition created, select the remaining free space and click Create. Note that this step will have to be repeated for the other partitions as well.