It continues to amaze me, sometimes, to see what can be done with the Linux operating system. You don't have to have any special skills or years of training to take advantage of what this inconspicuous compilation of code has to offer the "average" user. All it takes is a bit of reading and some use of your imagination.
My case in point:
My computer of choice is the ASUS eeePC mini-laptop, running Mandriva 2008.1, as you probably already know if you've ever read my blog.
Today I decided that I needed more storage space for my eeePC so I can install a few more applications to try out (mostly for video editing purposes). So, I went out and bought an 8GB SD-HC card, to replace the 4GB SD card I had installed.
Now, one of the wonderful things about Linux is that it does not use disk drive letters (like C:, D:, E:, etc.) to map it's storage locations... like some other operating systems - In fact, to do what I'm about to describe on an OS like Microsoft's, I don't know how'd you'd even begin or even if it's possible (without re-formatting and installing the entire OS again). What Linux does is make use of storage devices by mapping them to "mount points".
For example, a user's personal files are all stored on /home, and the applications that users can run are stored on /usr. And where these directories are digitally stored/located, Linux really doesn't care - they could be on the same hard drive, on two separate hard drives, or over a network.
So, when it comes to expanding my eeePC's storage capacity, all I need to do is configure my system in a logical fashion. What I've done is configured my eeePC in such a way that puts the core system files and the users /home directory on the internal 4GB storage drive, and "mapped" the /usr directory to the 4GB SD card in the built-in SD card reader. This way, Linux has a total of 8GB of storage (doubling the eeePC's storage space) to work with and use.
What I needed to do today was expand the amount of space I had allocated for system applications - the /usr directory, and I could do so without having to do a thing to the operating system.
the eeePC's SD card reader - acting as my /usr directory
All I did was format the new 8GB SD card and copy the contents of my 4GB card over. Once I had mirrored the contents of the 4GB card over to the 8GB card, all that was left to do was shut down the eeePC and swap the cards in the internal SD card reader.
I then rebooted the system and Linux was none the wiser. As far as it could tell, all that had happened was that the /usr storage space had doubled. I was good to go. Easy-peasy.
As far as I know, the eeePC is compatible with SD-HC cards up to 16GB in size. So, in the future, if I wanted to install even more applications than what 8GB can hold, all I'd need to do is swap the card for a larger one.
Gheesh! Linux is frick'n awesome! ;o)