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[bug-fdisk] Preparing for a "Switch" campaign

From: leslie . polzer
Subject: [bug-fdisk] Preparing for a "Switch" campaign
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2006 21:38:18 +0200
User-agent: mutt-ng/devel-r804 (Linux)

Hello everyone interested in GNU Parted and GNU fdisk,

  the finishing of the cfdisk program in autumn marks an excellent point
to think about the future and talk about a concept that will enable us
to slowly replace obsolete partitioning programs in the UNIX world.

  Attached to this mail is a draft of a paper which shows some reasons
why this is a Good Thing(tm).

  It is important to discuss these things now since there are a lot of
things to be done I know right now, and probably a whole lot more you
will come up with.

  Getting 'libparted' ready means:

        * revising the documentation
        * creating an API that enables us to call external programs in a
          more or less well-defined way
        * supporting real partition IDs
        * fixing BSD support
        * testing it THOROUGHLY

  Getting 'parted' ready means
        * fixing the "print all" command as described in an earlier post
          to parted-devel.
        * making it support "raw" partition resizing (independent from
          the data contained)
        * removing the newly introduced "NAME" parameter from "mkpart"
        * adding a script-friendly output interface (also discussed
          earlier on parted-devel)
        * testing it THOROUGHLY

  Getting 'lfdisk', the replacement for Linux fdisk, ready means:
        * adapting its output to match that of its role model more
        * cleaning up the code, while possibly reusing code common
          with cfdisk
        * testing it THOROUGHLY

  I invite you all to partitipate in both discussion and coding,
whatever suits you.  My schedule for July is crammed (apart from the
weekends, but I suspect that may change soon as well), but after that I
can probably work half-time on it.

  Kind regards,


gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 0x52D70289

Why switch to GNU Parted?

Partitioning is not something you do every day. Neither is it perceived as a difficult or error-prone operation. This, among with other factors, leads to the viewpoint that every partitioning tool will do an equally well job.

For most partitioning programs, this viewpoint is correct. However, GNU Parted plays in a different league. To see what benefits for partitioning a switch to GNU Parted gives you, please read on.

Benefits of GNU Parted


GNU Parted automatically "does what you mean". It will align partitions exactly at the boundaries of their neighbours and thereby let you use the maximum amount of your disk's space. The amount of space automatically claimed is guessed from the unit you are using. For example, if you partition your disk in "Gigabytes", it will move up to one GB in either direction, while the radius will be only one MB if you are using "Megabytes". This feature also allows fuzzy specification of coordinates. Other partitioning tools will offer you only "sectors" (units of varying size) as unit or, if you are lucky, let you choose among a few that act the same without any smart behaviour.


GNU Parted knows about and works around most quirks other software has, be it drivers, operating systems, your BIOS or other partitioning programs.

Ready for the future

Do you know that the partition table format currently in use by the majority of operating systems is a more than 20 year old relict from MS-DOS? And that there already is a designated successor from Intel named «GPT»? GNU Parted is the only tool that supports working with GPT partition tables. It also supports disks with physical sector sizes not equal to 512 (see bigsector.org for more information). Both features are growing more and more important, until they will also affect you.

Stable and mature

GNU Parted is in daily production use in small, medium and large companies all over the world. This includes, for example, HP and SGI. It is also shipped with the enterprise editions of RedHat Linux and SuSE Linux.

Actively maintained

Maintained by a team of volunteer specialists, bugs in GNU Parted are fixed quickly. New feature requests are being accepted readily and implemented as soon as time and energy permit.
The code is well-written, with portability, modularity and maintainability in mind.

Most other partitioning tools are orphaned or a small side project of developers usually working on other things.


GNU Parted currently runs on GNU/Linux, GNU/Hurd, BeOS/Zeta/Haiku and FreeBSD and can easily be ported to other platforms. All other partitioning tools we know of are written for a single platform.
With GNU Parted, you can find a familiar program everywhere.

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