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Installing softwares other than root in ubuntu 9.04

  Date: Dec 04    Category: Unix / Linux / Ubuntu    Views: 424

I have recently moved from XP to ubuntu. And I must admit that I am loving the
experience so far. Like some, being a newbee in Linux, I am struggling with some
of the things.
My primary problem is as follows:
Other than the filesystem partition, I have subdivided an extended partition
into 3 other partitions (like we usually have in windows). Now, whenever I
install packages like amsn, or gdesklets etc, it directly installs in whatever
folder the system wishes and it does not ask me where I want to install. So, I
was wondering that if it keeps going on like this, I will run out of space very
Therefore, I would be very grateful, if any of you can give me an idea on how
can I install softwares on my other partitions.
Oh yes, one more thing, I am using ubuntu 9.04 as the only os. I dont have a
dual os.



8 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered On: Dec 04    

Post the result of 'df' from the command line.
This will show what is being used.

Answer #2    Answered On: Dec 04    

Thank you for a speedy response. Please find below the results of df command.
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on/dev/sda1
10608852 3565148 6504728 36% /tmpfs 513256 0
513256 0% /lib/init/rwvarrun 513256 216 513040 1%
/var/runvarlock 513256 0 513256 0% /var/lockudev
513256 160 513096 1% /devtmpfs 513256 216
513040 1% /dev/shmlrm 513256 2192 511064 1%
/lib/modules/2.6.28-18-generic/volatile/dev/sda6 12223160 30380
11571872 1% /media/E/dev/sda7 10807948 26824 10232108 1%
/media/F/dev/sda8 3194048 5924 3025872 1% /media/G

Answer #3    Answered On: Dec 04    

Im not seeing any problem here. Youre not going to run out of room
anytime soon. Take a look at mine:

wadesmart@wadesmart:~$ df
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5 9614116 4849764 4275980 54% /
tmpfs 4129240 0 4129240 0% /lib/init/rw
varrun 4129240 128 4129112 1% /var/run
varlock 4129240 0 4129240 0% /var/lock
udev 4129240 172 4129068 1% /dev
tmpfs 4129240 9576 4119664 1% /dev/shm
lrm 4129240 2192 4127048 1%
/dev/sda1 482214 126663 330652 28% /boot
/dev/sdb5 74407740 47208120 23449652 67% /data
/dev/sda7 30965504 14089384 15303364 48% /home

As for where files are put when you install something, the way linux
works in general is to make sure you can keep different copies of the
same file, a older copy for this program and a newer copy for that
program - and have it all work together. I dont think I would try to put
everything in locations myself. Just let the install do it.

Answer #4    Answered On: Dec 04    

In Linux, all applications are installed in the root file system where it is
protected. You determine where the root file system is at the time of
installation and cannot easily change it afterwards. You also determine the
size and file format. There are many variables when you install and if you
opt for a manual installation then you have complete control. It has its own
partition editor and everything. If you opt for automatic installation then
it will place your files in a logical pre-determined way.

The usual way is to place the root and home file systems on the same drive
or partition, but it is better to have separate root and home partitions. As
you learn more about Linux then you can work towards this goal.

The Linux root file system is akin to the \Windows folder plus \Program
Files and the Linux home folder is like \Documents and Settings. In Windows
when you try to access \Windows or \Program Files it will grey it out and
you won't have access until you tell it that it is okay to view it. Linux
takes this a step further. You can view the root structure, but can't change
it as a user. So you must first become root using su (Debian) or sudo
(Ubuntu), depending which distro you are using. Like in Windows you have
full access to home or Documents and Settings.

Unlike Windows, Linux has no registry so the root file system structure
takes care of that. Programmes and their dependencies are put into logical
folders that have become uniform over time. Their location is determined by
the scripts inside the installation file (deb or rpm). Unless you compile
your own source material then you have no control over the scripts. You
really have to know what you are doing to be working at this level. Just
rest assured that the developers do know what they are doing and place the
files where they can be found (because there is no central registry it has
to be this way).

Some applications can be installed to your home folder, but this usually
causes problems in th end. For example, you can install the Flock web
browser this way. It usually causes more problems for the user. There will
be no menu item unless you manually edit the menu and it will be unable to
find helper files, such as Flash unless you copy the flash libraries over or
in some cases create sym links. Generally speaking this is not the way to
go. If you can get the package from the repositories then it takes care of
all these details.

You can adjust the size of your partitions using a partition editor while
working from a Live CD (because you cannot work on a mounted file system),
if you run low on space. However, if your drive is small and there is no
extra space then you cannot take advantage of this. However, you can move
your entire installation to another drive and even set up separate root and
home partitions after installation once you know more. With Linux the sky is
the limit and knowledge is everything. Note: if you remove some of your
partitions then it may mess up the grub boot loader. The partitions in the
boot loader are relative. Removing one before will change its partition
number, but grub will be based on the original set up. You can re-write
grub, manually edit it or keep the relative boot order be only removing
partitions after the ones you are using or moving them with the partition
editor to keep the relative order.

You can also get extra space by cleaning out your caches and cleaning
installed packages (debs). You can do this with a utility like Computer
Janitor which comes with Ubuntu. You can also install Ubuntu Tweak from
Getdeb.net. It allows you to tweak Ubuntu to make life simpler.

I am glad that you are enjoying Ubuntu. The way to get the most out of it is
to learn how Linux works and think like a Linux user. What you know from
Windows becomes a liability because there are so many differences. It isn't
so much that one is better than the other and which one is, but the fact
that each is set up in a specific way based on the way it was developed,
each with a separate history. They only clash when we confuse them in our
own minds. One seems to be better because we are more comfortable with it
which really does not make it better at all, just more familiar. The
antidote for that is to immerse yourself in the unfamiliar and it becomes

Answer #5    Answered On: Dec 04    

Thank you so much for elaborating the point. I think because of guys, we can
learn so much faster.
Sorry, but I have got couple of questions on your explanations.
Wade, you said that "linux works in general is to make sure you can keep
different copies of the same file, a older copy for this program and a newer
copy for that program". Isnt this a bad thing and you might end up collecting
garbage of older versions and copies? Apologies in advance if I am asking a
really stupid question.
after reading post, am I right in concluding that generally we dont
need so many partitions in linux, like I have done?

Answer #6    Answered On: Dec 04    

You can partition as you have done, but it can waste space and make it
harder to re-configure your system if you want to make changes later. My
computer has 17 partitions spread across three drives. I use different
partitions for installing different distributions. I have a one home
partition on each drive that is very large and I use a different user name
for each distribution. I can easily share files and setting by simply
dragging them from one user space to another. For example, I use roy as my
user name in my everyday distro, Kubuntu 9.10. I also use it for the user
name in my experimental Kubuntu on a different drive and home partition.
However, if I install Fedora on one of those drives, I use the same home,
but call my user name roy-f. I can easily import my setting from Kubuntu to
Fedora by copying files from my roy folder to my roy-f folder. That way I
keep my bookmarks, email, etc.

I try to spread my distros around in such a way that no two on the same
drive will have the same user name. I would put MEPIS on a different drive
from Mandriva, for example, and /home/roy-m would exist in the home
partition of that drive but be for a different distro.

This organization has evolved as I have been installing distributions for
ten years. Sometimes I install 3 or 4 distros a week and keep them around
until I tire of them. I have not lost any data because I know where things
are and what they mean. I can't say the same for grub which I am constantly
editing and re-installing; the perils of have multi-boot system.

As for root, I keep it simple. For my main distro I set the size of root at
30 GBs and smaller for distros that I am only trying out. One drive may look
like this, sda1 is 200 GBs and I use it for home, sda2 is 30GBs and I use it
for Kubuntu, sda3 is 20 GBs for Fedora 12, etc. In the past these numbers
were smaller because drives were smaller. I used to have separate homes for
each distro and root may be broken up but found that it was wasting space
and restricting me because such a setup was inflexible for my purposes which
is to play around with as many distros as I can. BTW, I also have distros on
usb keys and SD cards. There is no limit to the fun that you can have!

I seldom upgrade. I prefer a clean installation because installing is second
nature to me. If you are organized and have a simple setup it is easier to
keep things straight. I also label my drives so that I know what is where.
My home drive is labeled home, my Lucid installation is on my experimental
partition. I will re-install it on my main partition and eventually install
10.10 on my experimental one.

This works for me. Admittedly it is extreme for most people. I would not
advise anyone to copy what I have done. Each person needs to develop their
own style and do whatever works for them. The key is to be consistent. You
can fine tune things as you learn more and find what works best for you. Do
not fear installing and re-configuring your drives. That is how you learn.
Always backup before you try anything radical.

My advice to most newbies is to use one partition for everything, but to
work towards the goal of having it on two partitions, one for home and one
for root. If the user is more risk tolerant or more experienced I would
advise them to use two partitions from the beginning. It just makes life
easier in the end. You never need to format home and you can keep the same
data and settings for years. Re-installation becomes a breeze. I even save a
text file of applications that I use and just have Synaptic take care of
installing each package so that after installing. I can have my cake and eat
it too. I get a fresh installation and the same set up.

Answer #7    Answered On: Dec 04    

I dont know of an easy GUI way to have a separate home partition in the
Ubuntu installs.

Is there an easy GUI way to strip the home stuff out of the ubuntu partition
and put it in its own partition please?

Answer #8    Answered On: Dec 04    

There is no quick and dirty method. The easiest way involves re-installing.
It sounds complicated but it really isn't. I am working from memory because
I am not in Ubuntu now and because they have changed the wording with Lucid
and it has been a long time since I installed 9.10.

1. If you already have partitioned your drive skip this step. Boot the Live
CD because you cannot work from a mounted file system. Go to System,
Administration, Partition Editor. In the Partition Editor, choose the drive,
shrink your main partition, leaving enough space for your OS to continue to
work. Create a file system in the free space. Format it. Apply. Depending on
your set up you made need to create a couple of partitions in the available
space. You would do this if you have Windows as well as Linux. Generally you
need 2 partitions for Linux and one for whatever else you might want. If you
have Windows keep it where it is, just resize the drive smaller and make
sure the Linux partitions are after Windows.

2. Copy your home partition to one of the two partitions. You can drag and
drop your user name to the partition using Nautilus. It is worthwhile
backing it up to an external drive or DVDs just in case.

Note: if your HD space is limited, you may have to copy things from your
home folder to removable media before you begin to free up space.

Re-install Ubuntu where it was previously, but this time choose manual set
up. I am not sure of the exact wording these days, but it is usually the
last choice in the list. When you do a manual installation you get full
control. There will be both a graphical display of bars at the top with the
drive letters and a text display below that. I use the bars. Right click on
the partition where you want the root file system. Edit the partition.
Choose to use it. Then choose to format. Use ext3 or 4 and choose the mount
point as /.

Next do the same for the partition that you copied home files to, but do NOT
format. Choose to use it and the file format but you do not check the format
box. Set the mount point as /home. This is very important.

When you are done click Next to move on the the next phase. Use the same
user name and password. It will review your changes before it actually
begins to install. Read them carefully. If it says that you are formatting
home go back and do it again. If it is to your liking proceed. It should
format / but not /home.

When done re-boot.

An alternative method is not to re-install but to follow step one and try
to change /home to another location. You can do this in a couple of ways. It
is easier without using the GUI. One way would be to create second user
account in System, Administration, Users and Groups and locate it on the
drive where you want it. Then copy the contents (everything in your user
account, but not the name itself) including the hidden files (if you don't
know how to do this, go to View in the Nautilus menu) from your old user
account to the new one. The disadvantage is that you will have to use a
different user name. You can try to change your user account information
with a utility such as Ubuntu Tweak as well but this does not always work.

I suggested the re-installation method because it is fool proof and may be
less work in the end.

The best way is not to use the GUI. These instructions are quite good and it
includes graphics on the partitioning part described above.


Don't let the terminal scare you. Most of the terminal part can be done by
copy and paste.

Remember that all is not lost if things don't work provided you back up
before you try anything radical and this is radical.

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