Gentoo Websites Logo
Go to: Gentoo Home Documentation Forums Lists Bugs Planet Store Wiki Get Gentoo!
Bug 56207 - Doesn't mention cfdisk
Summary: Doesn't mention cfdisk
Alias: None
Product: [OLD] Docs-user
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Handbook (show other bugs)
Hardware: All Linux
: High normal (vote)
Assignee: Xavier Neys (RETIRED)
Depends on:
Reported: 2004-07-06 01:04 UTC by Steven Wagner
Modified: 2006-01-26 10:27 UTC (History)
1 user (show)

See Also:
Package list:
Runtime testing required: ---


Note You need to log in before you can comment on or make changes to this bug.
Description Steven Wagner 2004-07-06 01:04:08 UTC
The disk partitioning section of the gentoo handbook makes no mention of cfdisk as an alterative to fdisk.

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
Comment 1 Xavier Neys (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-07-07 10:09:07 UTC
I suppose the handbook uses fdisk because it is easier to document. A few output samples and a few characters to type in. cfdisk would require screen snapshots.
I believe fdisk will remain as the default partitioning tool, but it might be worth mentioning cfdisk is available for those who might prefer it.
A small <note> should do IMHO.

Unless my fellow docdevs disagree, I'll add one.
Comment 2 SpanKY gentoo-dev 2004-07-07 10:27:47 UTC
it should be included *only* as a note and with wording similar to something like this:

cfdisk may also be available for you and provides a simple ncurses interface
instead of the command line-like fdisk

the reason being that cfdisk has many 'problems':
(1) it's not always on the livecd and i'm tired of seeing bugs that complain that
cfdisk is documented but not on the livecd and vice versa (as is this bug)
(2) it doesnt work for all architectures all the time

making a note like you suggest would be perfect as long as we keep it sufficiently vague :)
Comment 3 Xavier Neys (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-07-07 10:32:14 UTC
Exactly what I had in mind. We're on the same wave length.
Comment 4 Xavier Neys (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-07-09 02:19:09 UTC
How about
Some users prefer using <c>cfdisk</c>. It might be available on your LiveCD. Note that it does not always work properly. Gentoo only supports <c>fdisk</c>. Please do not complain if cfdisk is missing from your LiveCD or if it does not work on your hardware.

Besides, this should appear in an arch-specific part of the handbook. Is there any arch on which cfdisk is and will not be available for sure? No need to write this all over for nothing.

I suggest we add such a note to the relevant arches of the 2004.2 handbook.
Comment 5 Sven Vermeulen (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-10-09 05:55:32 UTC
Agreed. fdisk and cfdisk are both part of util-linux; assuming cfdisk supports the same stuff as fdisk it should be allright to mention it for all architectures that use fdisk.
Comment 6 Xavier Neys (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-10-11 00:19:54 UTC
Strangely enough <c>man fdisk</c> says
There are several *fdisk programs around. Each has its problems and strengths. Try them in the order cfdisk, fdisk, sfdisk. (Indeed, cfdisk is a beautiful  program that has strict requirements on the partition tables it accepts, and produces high quality partition tables. Use it if you can. fdisk is a buggy program that does fuzzy things - usually it happens to produce reasonable results. Its single advantage is that it has some support for BSD disk labels and other non-DOS partition tables. Avoid it if you can.

It looks like cfdisk is recommended over fdisk by its own authors.
Any comment?
Comment 7 Steven Wagner 2004-10-11 12:28:51 UTC
This might make fdisk fans upset, but with the absense of any arguments to keep fdisk as the default tool, it looks cfdisk should become the new default tool.  Also, it wouldn't require screenshots, A simple text description of the items to select would be plenty sufficient, and cfdisk does support single keystrokes to access the menu items. After looking at the fdisk doc section, and looking over cfdisk, I think the cfdisk documentation could be made shorter and easier then the current fdisk doc. An argument for cfdisk is that it is much more user friendly to the newbie linux user, and I beleive the handbook is largely built to assist that group, though not exclusively.  

While we are talking about partitioning, maybe I should ask default recommended partitions in the handbook.  A while ago I had a conversation in #gentoo and we came to the conclusion that the /boot partition is not really necessary, as it was only for large HD support on older BIOSes that had cylinder boot partition limits.  This is only necessary on PCs that have a system BIOS dated from 1992 to 1998. From looking around the web, it look like intel came out with 500+ mhz processor in 1999.

The BIOS IDE Harddisk Limitations
Comment 8 Sven Vermeulen (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-10-13 10:40:40 UTC
The separation of /boot on a separate partition has other reasons such as to ensure security (if you don't mount the partition automatically) and keep the boot information separated (at least if you use grub), but it also teaches the users about using _several_ partitions for a Linux installation. 

You're of course free to do as you want; our default partitioning scheme is merely an example (but one that works). It's also in line with some architectures that require a separate bootpartition (even though it might be different from a /boot).

Regarding cfdisk vs fdisk: I'm all in favor if the developers themselves agree that cfdisk is better. Would it be a good thing to implement this before 2004.3 goes live or is this too soon? I don't know how much time we still have; if it's less than one month I'd rather wait - rewriting those instructions means that we are again likely to have issues with it _and_ the translation teams would kill me again (luckily I have 9 lives) for making such big changes to the installation instructions a few weeks before the release.
Comment 9 Steven Wagner 2004-10-16 23:14:28 UTC
It seems like file permission would be a much better way to handle security at /boot rather then a seperate partition.  In any case, I do agree that it helps the user to learn a bit about using different partitions and for general compatibility it does have its purpose.  

I'd be happy with a short note added at 4.c. Using fdisk to Partition your Disk...Creating the Boot Partition.  Something like ... Note: Having a seperate /boot partition is most likely only required on PCs that have a system BIOS dated earlier then 1998 (roughly anything less then 500 mhz.)
Comment 10 Eric Brown 2004-12-11 12:36:54 UTC
1998 was not that long ago.  Instead of breaking compatibility with systems from before 1998, why not just mention that the /boot partition is not necessary for newer machines, but that it may provide some benefit to users that choose to have an initrd, or users that have special concerns about security.
Comment 11 Sven Vermeulen (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2004-12-12 02:56:02 UTC
We never state that a separate /boot is necessary. It's just the partitioning scheme we use as an example throughout the installation instructions.
Comment 12 Xavier Neys (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2005-05-17 08:00:38 UTC

ARCH-maintainers are free to either warn us about not even mentioning cfdisk,
mention its availability or use it instead of fdisk in their
hb-install-{arch}-disk.xml file.

Personally, I still use fdisk on pata, sata and scsi disks, and combinations
thereof, on x86, amd64 & sparc and can't find anything wrong with it.
Comment 13 Marcelo Goes (RETIRED) gentoo-dev 2006-01-26 10:27:14 UTC
Closing this bug as per Josh's request in gentoo-doc's ML.