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jaegermeisterOffline
Post subject: Linux and GPT partitions  PostPosted: 21.10.2010, 20:40



Joined: 2010-09-16
Posts: 28

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Hi,

after reading about WD new 3TB disk http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Western- ... ew/?page=2 I've been asking myself if linux and aptosid do support the new GPT partition scheme that obsoletes MBR.

Do they? How will things change in the next years?
THX

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slhOffline
Post subject: RE: Linux and GPT patitions  PostPosted: 21.10.2010, 20:52



Joined: 2010-08-25
Posts: 761

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There currently is no out-of-the-box support for EFI or GPT (which basically comes in lockstep) in aptosid, at least when it comes to booting from it. There are just a few too many catches and unknowns to add (functional) support for it blindly and none of the developers has access to such hardware (EFI mainboard and/ or >>2 TB HDD) yet. Even the situation in Debian is largely unknown so far, but upstream kernel maintainers who had early access to prototypes have raised several potential issues in bootloaders, partitioning and installers which are also likely to be still broken in Debian and other distributions. Commercial distributions just have an advantages in this domain, as they have better contacts with hardware vendors and can simply assign funds and developer time towards issues like this, however even those will require the most recent distribution versions or even waiting for upcoming ones.

Don't underestimate how much hardware won't cope with it either (including mainboards sold today, likely many won't see according BIOS/ firmware updates either), there is a reason why all disks exceeding 2 TB are either external or ship with a dedicated, validated, custom SATA controller. Likewise early hardware (controller/ firmware and mainboard/ BIOS) revisions will likely require strange workarounds and quirks to circumvent expectable bugs in early silicon. This situation provides more potential for serious breakage than the previous LBA48 transition.

Up to now, EFI+GPT are the most likely combination mandatory to support disks >2 TB, which requires at least windows vista (in reality basically windows 7), recent MacOSX versions or contemporary/ upcoming linux distros; 64 bit operating systems mandatory. However technically there's also a classic BIOS extension available (with the same requirement for recent 64 bit operating systems), which can only be considered to be a fragile hack. Which of these options will win the race for mass deployment is largely unknown so far, but quickly hacked up BIOSes are likely to provide nightmares for several years to come.

In theory, "Linux" already supports both EFI+GPT and (hacked) BIOS+GPT, but to make it actually work and bootable, there are many changes required to installers, partition detection and bootloaders - and perhaps areas that aren't suspicious yet.

Patches welcome.
 
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jaegermeisterOffline
Post subject: RE: Linux and GPT patitions  PostPosted: 22.10.2010, 14:24



Joined: 2010-09-16
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Thanks a lot for the detailed answer Smile))

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