Anaconda, the Fedora system installer, is probably the best installation program available on any Linux or BSD distribution, and the version that comes with Fedora 16, version 16.25, has a couple of visible enhancements that make it even better. One of those enhancements is support for GPT disk partitions. GPT, or GUID Partition Table, is an alternate partition scheme that eliminates the restrictions of the MBR or Master Boot Record partitioning scheme.
With GPT, partitions sizes greater that 2 TB are possible, and more than four primary partitions can be created. Those are two major shortcomings of the MBR partitioning scheme. In Fedora 16, Anaconda defaults to GPT in standalone installations. However, when the target disk has an existing installation of another distribution, it creates MBR partitions, if that is what the existing OS is using.
Fedora offers several installation images for download – Live CD, DVD, network install, and bfo. Regardless of the installation image used, you will be using the same version of Anaconda. It can install to both local and remote storage devices. If you are installing to a local disk, which most users will be doing, you will be choosing the selected option shown in the image below.
Anaconda offers many automated disk partitioning options, which, by default, create partitions based on LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager. LVM is still the default in Anaconda 16.25, but a new feature makes it possible to create automated partitions that are not based on LVM. So, if you wanted to install Fedora 16 on non-LVM partitions, just disable the “Use LVM” option.
This screenshot shows the partitions created when the “Use LVM” option is left enabled. While everything looks good here, there is one minor issue: The disk space allocated to the root Logical Volume is far more than is needed to install the system. That goes against the rule of thumb that governs setting up an LVM-based system. But if you want to install Fedora 16 on an LVM file system, you do not have to create the partitions manually; just let Anaconda create them, then edit the partitions that get more space than they actually need. For example, to reduce the space allocated to lv_root in this screenshot, double-click it, or select it and click the Edit button.
That should open this window. The values shown are the defaults. A new installation of Fedora 16 uses about 4 GB of disk space, so clearly, 51200 MB (51 GB) is too much. Another parameter you can modify here is the “Logical Volume Name.”
This is the same window showing the modified values
After reducing the disk space allocated to the root logical volume, there is now free space that can be used to create extra logical volumes or extend or grow one that runs out of space. Unless you know what to look for, you would not know that the partition in this screenshot are GPT partitions, which is the default in all standalone installations of Fedora 16. When there are four primary partitions or less, and the first primary partition has “BIOS Boot” in the Type (File system column), then you know that GPT is in use. The size of the “BIOS Boot” partition, usually 1 MB, is another tell-tale sign.
If you opt not to use LVM, Anaconda creates the partitions shown in this image. Here, it is obvious that they are GPT partitions because there are five primary partitions. Note that under GPT, the first partition is the “BIOS Boot” (bios_boot) partition. As with the LVM partitions, too much disk space is allocated to the root partition, but you can also reduce it without resorting to manually creating all the partitions.
This is the editing window with the default values.
And this is what it looks like after modification.
Now, you have free space to create other GPT partitions. Keep in mind that installing Fedora 16 on non-LVM partitions does not have any advantages over an LVM-based system, so it is always a good idea to use the default, that is, leave “Use LVM” enabled.
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