Linux newbie needs filesystem recommendation

I am new to Linux and will be leaning towards the Linux distributors ("distros") to get my feet wet.

So far my readings reveal that ext3 is the most common filesystem being utilized.  So I'm assuming this is the way to go.

I will be making my xp pc a multi-system boot.  The drive is already formatted as NTFS which I will use a partitioning product (Partition Commander, Partition Magic) to carve out 10 gig portions for my Linux testings.

My question is do the partitioning products need to "preformat" the partitions to the distro's filesystem?  In other words, if I install Red Hat's Fedora Core which uses ext3, does the partition need to already be formatted as ext3 PRIOR to installation or will the distro's package (all distros, not just Fedora) do the proper filesystem setup?
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mcnuttlawAsked:
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nedvisCommented:
Q-"Do the partitioning products need to "preformat" the partitions to the distro's filesystem?  "
A- No !
Sometimes it is quite enough to shrink existing partiton and leave the rest of the disk unformatted.
Linux is capable of detecting more than 90 different files systems and patition types.
Most recent ditributions will do automatic partitioning for you too.
And if you knopw exactly what type of installtion you need you can use either commercial partitoning tools
(Partition Commander, Partition Magic)  or frehard-disk partitioning tools like Gparted to make as amny partitioons and
partition type as you wish. BTW if you still have to pay for Partition Magic for instancve you'd be better
downloading and creating Gparted Live CD which you can use to repartiton your hard-disk.
Goparted --> http://gparted.sourceforge.net/
Gparted screenshots --> http://gparted.sourceforge.net/screenshots.php
download --> http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/gparted/gparted-livecd-0.2.5-3.iso?download
Linux partitioning How-to -->  http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Partition/

Basic recommendation for linux partitions

    /   ( also called system root  )              64 - 200+ MB      (Stock kernel modules are 40 MiB +)
    /tmp                50 - 100 MB       (1GB+ for some CDROM/DVD burning SW)
    /var                512 MiB - 2+ GiB  (1 GiB + for Debian users)
    /usr                1 - 4+  GB        (4+ for a generous install)
    /usr/local          1 - 2+  GB        (Really depends on what you put there)
    /home               remainder         (Music/video generally biggest)
   swap       ( current # Mb of RAM   x   2 )

good luck
nedvis
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mcnuttlawAuthor Commented:
Good to hear no preformatting is necessary.

Sounds like Goparted is more powerful than its commercial counterparts.  I will give that a go versus shelling out $50.

Thanks!
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rindiCommented:
I wouldn't say qparted is more powerfull than the commercial counterparts, but it is free...

As it is included with knoppix, I wouldn't bother making a "dedicated" gparted CD, but rather download knoppix, which in itself is a full workable Linux Distro that runs completly off a CD (or DVD). It includes all the tools you would probably want and has very good plug and play support. It is ideal to get to know linux without installing it, or to troubleshoot hardware, and you can install it to HD if you want:

http://knoppix.net

As for what partition types to choose, I usually have a partition not more than 100MB size for /boot which only holds grub and the kernels, and then for a simple system a linux swap partition like nedvis suggests, and the rest is for / and is an ext3 or reiserfs partition. Ext3 is usually recognized by all distro's, reiserfs sometimes isn't included inside the kernel, but rather loaded as a module and is therefore often not immediately recognized if there is a problem, so Ext3 normally is the better choice.

Also as explained above, I'd just reduce the size of the windoze partition, then boot the linux install CD which should prepare the empty space for itself.
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