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Many users use SSD disks (and I believe many more in the future) for their OS. 128GB SSD disks are common place nowadays and many users (like me) use their SSD for dual booting (Windows and Ubuntu). Ubuntu installations like this occupies 20-40 GB (/ , /home and swap). Up to now there was no problem. In a few weeks though, triple A games are coming to Ubuntu (i.e. l4d2) that require probably tens of GB for installation.

In windows there is no problem, because you can install a game anywhere you want (i.e. I install games in D:/Games/). In Ubuntu, though, programs install files in many places (i.e. /usr/* , /lib, /etc ) so from what I remember, I never had the option to choose where to install a program.

So, how will it be possible to install AAA games that require many GBs, when our Ubuntu installations won't have the necessary space? Could a /opt mounted on a mechanical disk (HDD) be the solution? Is it something I am missing?

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If you Install them via the Software Center, or through a .deb package then yes they're installed in /, if the game is provided as a .tar file that you can run from anywhere then you have the option to move the game to another drive with bigger storage. –  Uri Herrera Aug 29 '12 at 10:10

3 Answers 3

Firstly, (almost) any part of the filesystem can be moved to another disk, providing the appropriate /etc/fstab rules are set up so it is mounted at boot; /home on a separate disk is not uncommon, but there is no reason not to do the same for /opt or /usr.

As to where they will be installed, I don't know. I think the recent humble bundle et al games have mostly installed in /opt (can anyone confirm?).

In the L4D2 case I assume this will arrive along with steam for linux, and hence the installation will presumably not be managed by apt but the steam installer will create its own managed install area somewhere (as with Program Files\Steam\steamapps on windows) - perhaps this will be configurable, but we can't really say until we get to see it.

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confirmed that the humble bundle games install into /opt/ , which is the standard linux location for standalone applications. –  ImaginaryRobots Aug 30 '12 at 3:29

Steam on Windows does not allow you to chose an install location for the games, everything gets installed into the Steam directory. On Linux this will very likely be handled exactly the same way, i.e. you can chose where to install Steam, but everything you install then from Steam will go to where Steam goes.

Desura, which is already available for Linux and works much the same as Steam already does this. You can pick where to install Desura and all the games then go to desura/common/${GAMENAME} subdirectory.

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Originally most data for programs are installed into /var, /usr, /run. And for those games and software that are proprietary like magic8ball and proprietary programs like Adobe Acrobat Reader they install into /opt.

So steam may install into /opt and /var, having a separate drive for just /var and one for /opt (or use a 2TB drive and split it into 2 1TB partitions each for /var and /opt (one 1TB drive for /usr would be nice too) if you like proprietary games and programs. But it can get expensive.

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