Linked by theosib on Sun 14th Feb 2010 10:45 UTC

Recently, I bought a pair of those new Western Digital Caviar Green drives. These new drives represent a transitional point from 512-byte sectors to 4096-byte sectors. A number of articles have been published recently about this, explaining the benefits and some of the challenges that we'll be facing during this transition. Reportedly, Linux should unaffected by some of the pitfalls of this transition, but my own experimentation has shown that Linux is just as vulnerable to the potential performance impact as Windows XP. Despite this issue being known about for a long time, basic Linux tools for partitioning and formatting drives have not caught up.

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All the major noob-friendly distros use gparted for doing the partition editing, don't they? Will that protect users from these kinds of problem, then?

I do consider Mandriva to be pretty newbie-friendly all in all; it's clear, consistent, and provides an extensive selection of documentation and loads of online help if needed. Also, it's really stable and has excellent control center utility.

But alas, Mandriva doesn't actually use gparted. They use some sort of a tool of their own which apparently uses libparted as its backend. As far as I know quite a few distros actually do it that way. But as the article states, you seemingly have to use "--align optimal" option which does the right thing. It doesn't automatically align the partitions properly without that. And I have no idea if those custom partitioning tools employed by various distros pass such an option to libparted. If they don't then that'll be a very important issue to fix immediately.

I'd actually prefer if distros rolled out an update of some sort which will check the currently installed system and its partitioning scheme and warn if they are misaligned and would provide a way of fixing it; not everyone re-installs their system all the time and as such could be using misaligned partitions for years before next re-install.

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