userspace discovery of partitions

userspace discovery of partitions

Post by Andrew Clause » Thu, 03 Jan 2002 04:00:11

Hi all,

As discussed a while ago (see thread starting at, I
wrote a frontend to libparted that does nothing but probe all
block devices for partition tables, and tells the kernel what
partitions it finds.  It optionally prints a short summary.

The hope is to be able to remove partition table parsing from the
kernel, and share partition table code with libparted.

It's called partprobe, and is distributed with Parted.  Get it from:

When partprobe/libparted are compiled with --enable-discover-only
--disable-nls etc (see README), it comes to about 73k (35k
compressed), not including libc or libuuid.  Unfortunately, this is
still quite large to be including in things like initramfs.  Is
it worth paying this price?

libparted currently supports 7 partition table formats (vs 11 in
linux 2.4).  It uses the blkpg interface in 2.4 to communicate
partition info.  (see libparted/linux.c, linux_disk_commit)


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1. Partition Software - Partition Magic, Bootit, Boot Manager or Ranish Partition Manager

spake unto us, saying:

By default, Solaris and Linux will not be able to see each other, and
the Windows flavors will not be able to see either one.  So your only
concern will be the visibility between NT and Win95.

If you install those two in primary partitions on the same drive, there
shouldn't be a problem with that either.

Bootit is a utility I know of but have not used.

The only "Boot Manager" I know about is the OS/2 Boot Manager (also the
same as the IBM Boot Manager included as part of Partition Magic 3.x),
and it's a nice basic boot menu, but I'm not sure it's available at all
as a separate product.  I've used it for years (since 1992 I think).

Partition Magic is a glorified (and relatively powerful) fdisk utility
which I've used for quite a while.  Very useful, IMhO.  Newer versions
have things I'm not familiar with (I'm still using the OS/2 version of
PM 2.03).

Ranish's Partition Manager looks like a REALLY slick utility, and it's
on my list to play with.  But I copped out and bought a copy of System
Commander here instead.  :-)

I think I would recommend that you add System Commander to your list
above, since it allows you to selectively change primary partition
visibility (in many cases) for each individual boot menu entry.

Really, though, you probably don't need it.  The only question I would
have is how to get NT's boot manager to get along with Solaris' boot
manager, and I suspect that can be done.


       OS/2 + Linux (Slackware+RedHat+SuSE) + FreeBSD + Solaris +
        WinNT4 + Win95 + PC/GEOS + Executor = PC Hobbyist Heaven!
                   OPCODE: HCF = Halt and Catch Fire

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