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My laptop came with this very small SSD and I want to use it to get better start up time and overall speed when loading Ubuntu, but I want the software installed via software Center to be installed in the HDD.

How could I accomplish that?

To my knowledge, it would be just a matter of creating appropriately sized /usr and /home partitions in the HDD and use the SSD for / and swap, right?

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    40G is usually enough for Ubuntu System and Programs. Mount the HDD to /home and the SSD to / and you should be fine. – RoVo Aug 23 '18 at 11:13
  • @RoVo agreed with a slight addition: /home/ config benefits from the speed of the ssd. So I would say: / and /home on ssd but personal data not on /home but on the hdd. Separating /home from / is bad advice though. This goes will until /home does not get mounted ... the system will either fail to boot or recreate a /home on the / where the next boot is going to get a lot more problematic than needed – Rinzwind Aug 23 '18 at 12:07
  • More info on separate data partition. askubuntu.com/questions/1013677/… & askubuntu.com/questions/1058756/… I do not game, but thought many games could be installed in other locations than / (root)? I move Firefox & Thunderbird profiles to my data partition and edit profiles to find them. – oldfred Aug 23 '18 at 13:37
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but I want the software installed via software Center to be installed in the HDD.

Why? if you think 40Gb is not much: Ubuntu hardly comes above 15, 20GB. But then you should re-evaluate that method and remove software you don't use.

I have a mysql database and apache webserver running on a root with 15Gb. Never have issues with it.

40 Gb is already overkill for the root partition.

To my knowledge, it would be just a matter of creating appropriately sized /usr and /home partitions in the HDD and use the SSD for / and swap, right?

Yes.

Mind that /var/ is used by some software to store data. MySQL for instance. But the usage of partitions more than /, /home and a personal data partition is old and no longer optimal.


A / of 15Gb is enough to keep Ubuntu up and running up to the next release.

I would suggest though to keep everything on the ssd except for your personal data and there is a configuration for that (see ~./config/users-dirs.dirs). Keep your system and private separate and it will be ...

  • easier to make backups.
  • easier to replace the ssd.
  • easier to put your personal data disk into another system.
  • easier to re-install to a new version (you just add the disk with personal data during installation). Both / and /home will be empty of personal data (I don't even bother upgrading; a reinstall takes me 15 minutes).
  • the best way to get the most out of the speed of the ssd.

In my opinion this would suffice:

  • ssd: /home of 10Gb; after install remove the normal directories in /home/$USER/ and edit ~./config/users-dirs.dirs to point them to the hdd.
  • ssd: / with the remainder of the ssd (ie. 40-10=30).
  • hdd: /personal; the complete partition of the hdd you want to use.
  • Agree with Alexey. I had a 16GB SSD and used it as / for a 16.04 installation. Installation went fine, but after a while and after installing my apps it was complaining about not enough space. So I ended up using the 16G for Swap and bought a 500G SSD for everything ;-) – RoVo Aug 23 '18 at 11:50
  • @Alexey oh? I have in 20 years not been able to go over 20Gb by installing software from the software center. Mind though that you do not get to include personal data in that calculation. The base install is under 8Gb so please explain where you got the other 8 from, – Rinzwind Aug 23 '18 at 11:51
  • As I said, my /home is on a different partition. I'll try too see what takes the most of space. – Alexey Aug 23 '18 at 11:53
  • As I said: that's NOT a good idea. /home is needed for a correct boot so should be on the same partition as /. You should never separate partitions that are needed during boot (/var, /usr, /opt are not required. /home is sort of. A system will boot without /home but WILL create it on / if it does not get mounted). – Rinzwind Aug 23 '18 at 11:55
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    "Ubuntu hardly comes above 15, 20GB." -- not in my case. While I am not installing things i never use, and i do not use too much, and i have recently re-installed Ubuntu 18.04.1 from scratch, and i mount an HDD at /home, I have 22G used on my SSD mounted at /. I have two or three FPS games, a reasonable set of TeXLive packages, a reasonable set of Anaconda (Python) packages, a few applications installed with Flatpak -- i do not know what else... The usage is split as follows: 8G in /usr, 9G in /var, 5G in /opt where i keep my global Anaconda installation. – Alexey Aug 23 '18 at 12:15

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