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sorry for the silly question; for gaming/heavy programs on Ubuntu (PlayOnLinux, Wine, Steam etc.) and given the amount up updates that come and go plus, I am - at least under the impression that you cannot chose where programs are installed as much as you would be able to on Windows (with wizard installations) am I wrong? So with that in mind where would you suggest I install Ubuntu and why?

Edit (more background): I ask because I have previously had issues with /boot being full from several kernels + initrd (I fixed this) and also because already on this machine my SSD is at 60% use according to df -h and I am not that experienced yet with GNU/Linux so I though I would ask here.

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3 Answers

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I'd put everything except /home, /tmp and /var on the SSD. The other folders are only written to when installing or updating software, yet they keep nearly all the files required to start programs (binaries, libraries, configuration files). Therefore putting them on the SSD will yield greatly improved performance, while the low amount of writes will keep the wear on the SSD low. Also, mount all filesystems on the SSD with the noatime mount option to reduce write access (which would put unnecessary wear on the SSD and is much slower than read, causing worse performance). If you think you don't need a filesystem journal, use a non-journalling filesystem like ext2 on the SSD.

My partition layout suggestion:

  • /boot: 2 GB on SSD, ext2
  • /: rest of SSD, ext2 should be safe, but if you want faster disk checks, use ext4 or xfs. Corruption is highly unlikely, since only few writes are performed
  • /tmp: tmpfs, 16 GB (you'll need swap of at least that size),
    OR, if you want to burn blu-rays: 200 GB on HDD
  • swap: 32 GB on HDD (since /tmp is tmpfs, and you might also want hibernate). If you use a non-ramdrive /tmp, swap can be smaller, but at least the size of the RAM.
  • /var: 5 GB on HDD (should never get that big, just to be on the safe side...)
  • /home: rest of HDD

Since WINE is installing prefixes per default in the home folder, you then have plenty of space for games. Nevertheless, you can of course in addition create a folder on the SSD that is owned by your user (for instance in /opt), to which you can install your games by setting the WINEPREFIX environment variable. It is anyhow good practice to install each game in a different WINEPREFIX.

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Thank you, will look more into these things :) –  dusz Jul 29 '13 at 20:20
    
I don't get why people are so worried about wearing SSDs down. Technology is changing rapidly. These days if you were to write 50GB of data every day a SSD would last probably a lifetime. –  Symin Sep 1 '13 at 16:16
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sorry for the silly question; for gaming/heavy programs on Ubuntu (PlayOnLinux, Wine, Steam etc.) and given the amount up updates that come and go plus, I am - at least under the impression that you cannot chose where programs are installed as much as you would be able to on Windows (with wizard installations) am I wrong?

You can certainly choose where to install software. There are guidelines about where things in the system should go, and for most packages in repository these are adhered to, but since you brought up games and playonlinux, let's use that as an example.

Playonlinux lets you install things in different winedrives by manipulating environment variables, so you can definitely choose where to install things (even moreso than Windows Steam for example). Binary installer games almost always either a) install to opt or b) install in user-home/.something. You could install it as any user you want, with any home directory you want. So again, yes, able to be manipulated.

Is it exposed as a next next finish interface? No. Why not? Because you would break things since Linux is all about the shared libraries and Windows is all about monolithic or using their runtimes (how many games ask if you installed directx of the dotnet)

So with that in mind where would you suggest I install Ubuntu and why?

It's generally accepted knowledge that a desirable configuration is either starting fresh with bcache for low resource systems or using the SSD for high read/write speed required areas (your /home mountpoint for example).

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Can't up vote here yet, however I'd like to thank you for comment, PlayOnLinux is a bad example by my part - I was more thinking about performance when I mentioned those programs, in which case SSD > SATA as you also specified. However I did not know that I can specify where my "apt-get install ..." programs goes - that can be handy –  dusz Jul 29 '13 at 20:21
    
You can't do that directly, but you can put particular mountpoints on your SSD, so the pieces that need frequent loads get put there. –  hbdgaf Jul 29 '13 at 20:23
    
Ah I see, sorry - I misunderstood. Still it is very useful to know. I suppose it is impossible to do that after installation? –  dusz Jul 29 '13 at 20:30
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bcache is a good option for SSD caching, so that the cache takes care of deciding what data will be on the SSD. See these questions to get started:

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