Topic: FAT12 support and other notes
Hello guys .
To make the story short, I actually needed to use gparted to solve an issue with the partitioning/filesystems of a small "dedicated" Linux distro, Zeroshell:
I used gparted through the parted magic distro.
The issue was that the Zeroshell image I tested ZeroShell-1.0.beta16-CompactFlash-IDE-USB-SATA-1GB.img.gz has a "queer" layout and uses the GRUB (legacy) bootmanager installed to the MBR+hidden sectors.
The hardware I tested it on had one of those "Insyde" BIOS that are (seemingly by design) not compatible with the GRUB MBR.
Another peculiarity of Zeroshell is that it has (let's say on "sda"):
sda1 <- "boot" partition with /grub and vmlinuz+initrd ext2/3
sda2 <- an image of the CD-ROM (as well marked with id 0x83 in the partition table)
sda3 <- the "profiles" partition ext2/3
(no "active" partition)
When booting it has some "mechanism" that checks the integrity of these partitions.
Since I needed to have the thingy working, I thought that it would have been easy to shrink a very little bit the third partition, make a fourth one and set this latter "active" putting in it grub4dos and writing a "plain" MBR to the CFcard.
(I am much more a DOS/Windows guy)
So I shrinked it just a little bit (5 or 6 Mb if I recall correctly) and everything went OK, but seemingly gparted doesn't support the FAT12 filesystem and asked for a partition at least 16 Mb to format it FAT16.
As a matter of fact the FAT12 and FAT16 are so similar that I found it strange that support for it was not included, I do understand how the need for it may be "rare", but still I find it desirable.
I had to resort to a DOS boot disk and Ranish Partition Manager to create the filesystem and setting up the thingy.
The other thing that I noticed is that there is (seemingly) no way to see in detail how the alignment to (None/Mbit/Cylinder) influences the result.
This is IMHO a far more serious matter, as the final user is probably expecting to be (at least I would have liked to) "in control", and not
depending on "vague" numbers expressed in Mib's.
Another option that would probably be of use would be a sort of "preview" of the operation details.
I mean, let's say that I wanted to shrink a partition and move it "on the right", once I click on "apply" a sequence of operations is performed, but until they are done (or are in the doing) the user gets NO idea of the complexity of the sequence, nor about the single steps involved (resizing, checking, moving, re-checking, etc.)
Mind you, gparted behaved OK (though not entirely as expected) and it came out as a key tool to solve the problem, but it seems to me that there is still something (probably easily solvable) between "a good tool" and "an exceptional tool".