This was mentioned on Ubuntu's Brainstorm:
But it fits my usage pretty well.
When installing new Fedoras on my machines, I keep a separate /home partition
for my personal data. I've usually completely broken what's in /usr at that
point, and upgrades with third-party repositories is usually a pain. So I do a
new installation (from CD/DVD/Network in the past, from a live USB key nowadays)
while keeping my /home intact.
I then make sure my only user on the machine has the same ID as it had before
the installation, so permissions are correct.
Anaconda is already able to detect existing installations. It could check my old
passwd file for details about my "real" users, and re-create those users in the
new installation (or at least keep the information around for firstboot to
handle it), so that my /home directory and users are preserved.
How about handling auth mechanisms other than passwd/shadow (specifically LDAP
in my case)?
Accepting patches ;-)
But more seriously, this is something we've thought about from time to time, but
we tend to tie it together with also defaulting to creating a /home on new
installs. The tricky part is always how to do the split as far as size is
I'll stick it on the F10 list because we really should get around to finally
Changing version to '9' as part of upcoming Fedora 9 GA.
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We're not going to get around to doing this any time soon, but if you'd like to propose a patch then I will consider it for F14.
Given that it's an RFE, and it makes sense, I'm reopening this.
Feel free to close this again if you actually think it's a very very bad idea and never want to implement it.
It's not that this is a bad idea, or that we don't want to implement it. It's just that it's probably not going to happen.
Like Jeremy said, it's all about the issue of size-determination. Even assuming it works as we want it to - and this is an area that will be incredibly prone to bugs - there's going to be somebody unhappy. If we use the size of the existing /home partition, we're going to get RFEs asking for the ability to change the size of the allocated space, and if we allow the user to input a size, we're going to get RFEs asking for anaconda to just use the existing size.
And that's ignoring what happens when there's a bug, because there will be a bug. Or twenty. No matter how much testing is done, there's always going to be users with weird, unusual setups and anaconda will invariably mess up and lose all of their vitally important data, because anaconda always loses any vitally important data. It's a law or something. So long as we explicitly don't support something, people will take steps to protect their data. But if we start saying we do support it, even if we caveat that with "BRING YOUR BUGSPRAY!", vigilance is thrown by the wayside.
We will review any patches for this, if you feel strongly enough about the issue to write one.