Note that UbiquityPreserveHome has been implemented (instead).

Please check the status of this specification in Launchpad before editing it. If it is Approved, contact the Assignee or another knowledgeable person before making changes.

  • Launchpad Entry: UbuntuSpec:

  • Packages affected: Ubiquity


Prompt the user to create a separate /home partition during the install process.

Release Note

Most new users do not know of the benefits of having a separate /home partition, which can lead them to lose personal files if they ever reinstall their system - or not to upgrade at all for fear of losing their data. On the other hand, an automatic partitioning can be dangerous if the user plans to install lots of things or has a small hard drive. So why not let the installer check the amount of available space and inform the user of his options, then create a separate /home if that's what the user wants to do?

The first step would be to check available space and find out a sane amount of space for / and /home depending on it:

1. The default should be to create a separate /home

2A. For the default option, if the hard drive is bigger than 20 GB, and it's a Ubuntu-only installation, 10 GB should go to / and the rest should go to /home

2B. If the hard drive is between 10 GB and 20 GB, and it's a Ubuntu-only installation, 5 GB should go to / and the rest to /home

2C. If the hard drive is less than 10 GB, there should not be a separate /home partition

3A. If the hard drive is bigger than 40 GB and a dual-boot, 10 GB should go to / and the rest to /home

3B. If the hard drive is between 30 GB and 40 GB and a dual-boot, 5 GB should go to / and the rest to /home

3C. If the hard drive is less than 30 GB and a dual-boot, there should be no separate /home partition.

Then, the results should be presented to the user as an intermediate step in the installation process, more specifically step 5. The dialogue should be short, informative, straight-to-the-point, and more importantly it should be based on the results of the test but still let the user decide.

-The first time an user installs Ubuntu, he is given the option to set a separate /home. This option is selected by default, with a size for each partition based on a sane guess:

-Of course, he can just choose not to set a separate /home. This option will be selected by default if the results of the system test suggest that's the best thing to do.

-Manual install is also possible. Selecting it greys out everything related to separate /home, since it's implied that the user doesn't want to be guided.

-If the user set a separate /home, the next time he installs Ubuntu a new option appears and is selected by default, prompting to use the existing /home partition. All other options are still available, though.


Having a separate partition for /home is always a good idea, since it lets you reinstall your system without losing valuable personal data. This can be especially useful in a distro like Ubuntu, where users have the chance to upgrade their install quite often (every six months) and might want to perform a clean install to avoid potential problems. Nevertheless, and while some other distros out there already do this automatically, Ubuntu doesn't.

There is some reasoning behind it: creating separate partitions might lead to waste space in / if you leave too much space, or run out of space if you leave too little. But on the long run, it is one of those things seasoned users wish they had done since the very beginning. So why not at least tell them they CAN, and ask them about it?

Use Cases

-José is sick of his old operating system and is recommended to use Ubuntu. He tries and likes the live CD, and decides to install. During the install he is told he can keep his personal stuff apart, where it will be safe, and decides it is okay to do so.

Six months later he is a happy Ubuntu user who recommends it to friends and relatives. The new Ubuntu release is out, so he burns it and performs a clean install knowing that he won't lose any of the data he collected over the last six months.


I think this spec conflicts with UbiquityPreserveHome -- AzraelNightwalker 2007-11-14 09:28:47


RecommendSeparateHome (last edited 2010-04-21 13:31:04 by 188-194-18-172-dynip)