A few weeks ago I switched from my trusty old HP nc8430 to a Macbook Pro (MC118LL/A) that was left spare when another employee left. I mostly enjoyed using Linux but I was tired of dealing with weird quirks like having X lock up, essentially forcing me to do a hard reboot.
When I first installed Linux on my laptop (on my old hard drive) I did it as dual-boot, so I resized my Windows XP partition down to 50 GB, created a 2nd partition for Linux and installed it there. I think I played around with Fedora and Ubuntu and one other distro (maybe FreeBSD?) so I had a bunch of stupid partitions. I eventually went to Linux exclusively and repurposed my XP partition to be my home directory (/docs) and moved all my documents there.
Then I moved to an SSD, which in addition to being incalculably faster than the Seagate Momentus 5400rpm drive, was also bigger – 128 GB instead of 100 GB. This was good, except that my method of moving the data from old drive to new drive was “dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb”, doing a bit copy from the old drive to the new one. This worked, but it left the old partition table in place on the new drive, basically leaving the extra 28 GB invisible. I didn’t realize this until a couple of weeks ago when I extended the “rear” partition to consume the rest of the space on the disk.
Anyway, now I have this totally stupid partition scheme on the disk:
I could fix it but it seems like a big pain in the ass. Maybe I can clear out /dev/sd8 and copy my docs to it, then copy the root partition to /dev/sda1… Oh, I don’t know. This is why my rule of thumb about partitioning is: don’t.
So I got this 128 gig Corsair SSD and put it in my laptop at work. After some fiddling I copied my old disk over to my new disk by booting to Knoppix and doing dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=4k conv=notrunc,noerror. It’s a lot faster, but what’s really fast now is my Windows XP VM. Anyway, I was looking into other filesystems to try out on SSD to improve speed and I found this article claiming that NILFS is the best choice. So I decided to test it using the same ghetto test I always use for filesystem performance: dd!