Archlinux SSD upgrade from Ubuntu

I've upgraded to a Seagate 500GB Momentus XT Hybrid SSD in my Thinkpad X201 from a 500GB Momentus 7200.4.

At first I had the idea of copying everything from my old 7200.4 to the XT via dd, though I thought it might be:

  1. Terrifically slow over USB2 (max read/write is 30mb/sec according to iostat)

So instead I decide to backup /home to a Samsung S2 1TB USB2 drive. At first I did this with rsync, which turned out to be a mistake because it was so insanely slow. Instead I used cp -a and that copied almost 100GB in 1hr.

Next on recommendation from Anselm, I installed 686 Archlinux instead of Ubuntu. Unfortunately the 2010.05 install is a bit sucky because it doesn't support GPT (Jamie sez I want GPT for SSD) and the auto-partitioning sucks. Fortunately doing pacman -Syu gdisk and later grub2 (grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda --force), you can manage it. I kept it simple and created one huge partition:

hendry@i7 ~$ sudo gdisk /dev/sda
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.6.13

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.

Command (? for help): p
Disk /dev/sda: 976773168 sectors, 465.8 GiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 14A13BDD-C597-4166-92AF-A048800C59CA
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 976773134
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2014 sectors (1007.0 KiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048       976773134   465.8 GiB   0700  seagate

I am a bit concerned over the requirement of GRUB2 in order to boot into a GPT partition. 202k SLOC to boot a kernel? I'm sorry, that's wrong. I need to investigate extlinux and make sure a rescue USB stick can boot into the drive.

Setting up Arch is a bit more hands on than Ubuntu, but it's a fairly pleasant grounds up approach, instead of my experience with Ubuntu where I'm constantly trying to remove shitware and fail to do so. The folks on #archlinux are friendly and I dare say funny and the forum and wiki have good information.

I had to make a few changes to my $HOME to accommodate Arch, which you might find interesting. I still need a better understanding of netcfg. I had to make an annoying addition to Xorg conf for terminus to load:

hendry@i7 ~$ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-fonts.conf 
Section "Files"
	FontPath    "/usr/share/fonts/local"

I've used Arch and its pacman (think apt-get) tool before. However it's only this time I have used yaourt, for installing stuff that basically didn't have binary packages. yaourt is an invaluable time saver. :)

As for the speed differences... I think it's faster but tbh it's hard to tell. It could be just that Arch is so much lighter-weight than Ubuntu.


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