The latest ISO installation images for Linux Mint Debian, the line of Linux Mint based on Debian, were made available for download a few days ago. While it is one of the most user-friendly desktop distributions out of the box, the installer is any thing but user-friendly.
Though the default disk partitioning scheme works, you may find yourself in a situation that requires creating partitions manually. At such times, you need to have a good knowledge of disks and disk partitions in Linux to create the partitions you need.
If you did not know how already, this tutorial gives you a step-by-step guide on how to proceed. Though it is easy to follow, reading guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux will bring you upto speed on some of the basic concepts you need to know.
Like all Linux Mint editions, Linux Mint Debian’s ISO images are Live CD/DVD images. Download the latest release from here. Whether you download a 32- or 64-bit image, burn it to a DVD, boot your computer from it and watch as it boots into the Live desktop. Then click on the Install Mint icon on the desktop to begin.
The window you see next depends on whether the target hard drive is brand new or has existing partitions on it. If new, this is the window that will be shown to you. Click Yes.
That will prompt the installer to create the following partitions. As far as Linux distributions go, it is highly unusual to see an installer create default partitions where the first partition is the Swap partition. The boot or root partition is usually the first, followed by home or Swap. But this is how the developers chose to do it.
If there are existing partitions on the target disk, you will see a list of partitions that look similar to ones shown in the image below. Whatever the situation may be, whether the target disk is new or old, to create partitions manually, you need to click the Edit partitions button.
That should open another window, the GParted window. GParted (Gnome Partition Editor) is the tool the installer makes available for creating a custom set of partitions. The first task is to delete existing partitions. To do that, select each partition and click the delete button. (Use the position of the cursor as the indicator for where to click.)
After the delete operation is completed, click the Apply button to finalize it.
Now you are in business. Time to start creating partitions. Click the New button. Note: This step will have to be repeated for any partition you want to create.
Before going any further, here is the game plan. We know that the installer creates just two partitions (one for Swap, the other for the root partition). That works, but ideally, you want to create at least three partitions. Those three are for: Root, Swap and /home. Sometimes creating a separate partition for boot is also necessary. For this tutorial, that is exactly what is going to happen, just to show how to do it. So, the game plan is to create partitions for /boot, /, /home and Swap – in that order.
When you click the create new partition button, the window shown below should open. The task from here on is pretty simple: Specify the size for the partition in the New size box, select whether the partition is primary or extended, and when creating the Swap partition, select the appropriate option from the File system dropdown menu.
For the boot partition, which should always be the first partition, a size of 500 MB is more than enough. If this is the first partition on the disk, then it should be a primary partition. You do not need to specify the file system. That will be specified in the installer’s window, not in GParted’s. Click Add.