Flame on Disk Druid

Matthew Saltzman mjs at ces.clemson.edu
Thu Jun 24 21:21:28 UTC 2004

On Thu, 24 Jun 2004, Timothy Murphy wrote:

> Doncho N. Gunchev wrote:
> >> I just installed Fedora-2 on a new machine,
> >> and found Disk Druid quite useless at partitioning the machine.
> >     You don't say anything specific here. I used Disk Druid all the
> > time and never had so serious problem (only once selecting to format
> > the free space with FC2) and I do not use standard/simple setups.
> I think I explained my situation pretty clearly.
> I have a 240GB disk.
> The first partition on this is a 60GB NTFS partition.
> The second partition is a 4GB "Win 95 Extended" partition,
> containing a 4GB FAT32 partition.
> DiskDruid would not allow me to use the remaining 180GB for Linux.
> The "automatic" option failed,
> and when DiskDruid was invoked it refused all choices I made.

I'm late to this thread, and I know it's probably too late for you to try
this, but did you attempt to edit the Win95 extended partition and change
its size?

I suspect that what DD expects (and maybe what most partition tools would
expect) is that the extended partition is the last primary on the disk.
It may not be required, but it does make sense.  In your case, the unused
space was beyond the end of the extended partition.

If you could have deleted the Fat32 partition, you could certainly have
resized the extended partition then and recreated the Fat32 partition.
I concede that you would possibly have lost the data in the Fat32
partition depending on how DD created the new partitions that you created
after it.

> Others have explained clearly how I could have invoked fdisk directly,
> rather than through Knoppix as I did.
> This is evidently a choice which some people either wish to make
> or (as in my case) have to make.
> I am asking that it should be an explicit choice,
> as it used to be in RedHHat.
> I don't understand the attraction of DiskDruid.
> It seems to me inferior in almost every way to fdisk.

Like many GUI programs that wrap CLIs, DD limits the set of actions you
can perform, with the intention of preventing you from shooting yourself
in the foot.  Most users are better off with that.  The argument that is
made by the developers is that (a) if you are not knowledgeable enough to
use fdisk, you are likely not knowledgeable enough to know what the right
choice is, and (b) if you are knowledgeable enough to use fdisk, you are
probably knowledgeable enough to find out how to get it.

I personally refuse to take sides in that discussion here.  But I will say
that I find DD perfectly usable and very quick in most situations.
Sometimes I need to be a bit creative, and sometimes I need to be prepared
to accept decisions it makes--usually about details that don't matter to
me.  When I do run across a situation where DD is incapable of doing
something that I really need, I know where to look for another tool--but
one that I need to be much more careful with.

DD is to scissors as fdisk is to a razor blade.

> Where there is an established program which works perfectly well,
> I don't see the point in suppressing it.

Imagine that you know nothing about disk partitions or fdisk.  How much
explanation would you need in order to use it safely?

		Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu

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