Acer Aspire 1 - repartitioning for dual boot

We’ve (well SWMBO) just bought an Aspire 150L with 160Gb HD and I’m less than happy about the security - i.e there isn’t any >:( - so I’d like to set up dual boot to another Linux version (openSUSE by choice as I’m very familiar with it) where I can set up encrypted partitions and the like.

Normally I wouldn’t think twice about this but the Aspire is set up using aufs (which I’ve not used before) and seems to be doing something weird.

mount reports (snippped)

/dev/sda1 on / type ext2 (rw)
none on /mnt/home type aufs (rw,si=efa1fdc0,xino=/home/user/.aufs.xino,create=mfs,dirs=/home/user=rw)

Which is odd because /dev/sda1 is a small (27GB) partition labelled as BACKUP and seems filled with packages for openOffice and the like.

cat /etc/fstab reports (snipped)

/dev/sda2          /                  ext2          defaults,noatime        1 1

Can someone explain why mount uses /dev/sda1 while fstab uses /dev/sda2 or point me somewhere where aufs is explained simply (I got bogged down in the details on the aufs home page).

But the real question is will I be Ok in repartitioning /dev/sda, (backup, restore … blah, blah) making sure that the 3 partitions currently used by Linus Lite are basically the same (albeit with sda2 seriously reduced in size) ?

Since the wife has a working box ATM I’ll be in serious dooh-dah if I destroy it.

PS - I’m not totally stupid so I backed up the original partitions using partimage as soon as I got my hands on the thing ;D

OK, as I understand it, aufs being a union file system is capable of layering 2 (or more) partitions into one.

In the AA1’s case it is being used to mount one partition as / that is read-only (never changes), and layering another read/write partition on top… so changes can be made, such as software installed whilst still keeping the original / unchanged.

the initial mounting of the read-only / is done by script (usually at /etc/initramfs-tools/scripts/init-bottom/mount_root_aufs) so fstab will only contain entries for the read-write layers (branches).
(the original entries being somewhere else, such as /aufs/ro/etc/fstab)

It must be said I’m no expert on union file systems… so you may want to do some more reading.

From what I gather, setting up an AA1 with Linpus Lite to dual boot another OS can be done in the way you describe, but you may run into difficulties if any of the partition UUID’s change… you will also probably be best served by not reinstalling GRUB and adding the new OS to the existing GRUB, or at the very least keep a copy of the current grub.cfg for reference.

as apparently happened to this guy:

Personally, I’d just ditch Linpus Lite altogether or boot openSUSE from an external USB drive using the boot device selection key, so they are both kept completely separate, and both have their own bootloaders.

I’d also make damn sure I had a USB recovery stick already created “just in case”… if you haven’t got the DVD, so can’t create your own USB recovery stick… see here for an image and instructions:


links -

Thanks Mark,

I’ll follow the links about aufs later - more for my own interest. AFAICT the aufs setup on the AA1 is more for SSDs than HDDs - which is what we have.

Personally I too would just ditch Linpus Lite but the beast belongs to SWMBO who (at the moment) likes the interface supplied but that’s 'cos she’s not hit a problem yet - oops tell a lie she’s now found she can’t install skype, unresolvable dependancy problems ;).

I’m pushing for openSUSE so’s I can encrypt /home (at least) plus all the other benefits of a fully supported OSS system, but the first stage has got to be a dual boot, then set up a nice easy front-end like she’s been using. Once I’ve won that battle I’ll fight for dumping Linpus.

As I said, I booted sysrecuecd up from USB and used partimage to backup the partitions as supplied (and make a note of the block counts etc.) so I should have a fully recoverable situation.


Now that you mention it… that is the exact setup they had on the older SSD models, so I’m gonna guess all they did was “expand” the partitions.

She CAN have Skype… 3 options.

  1. Acer’s own solution
    (don’t know which version, but I’ll bet it’s the same as option 2)

  2. A third party solution
    and the file they are on about (which is no longer on the Skype site):

  3. And my personal favourite… the “Static” version from Skype that doesn’t require installation, it just runs from its own directory… ie. Unpack, enter folder, and double-click the skype executable.
    Download Skype for mobile & desktop | Skype
    This will also be the latest version… though you’ll have to make your own shortcuts.

helpful links -

Proof that it works (and maybe a reason to skip option 1) :wink:
(this site won’t be updated any more, but has a ton of useful stuff about AA1’s and Linux… look through the archives)