Recommented to preserve /home when comming from other distro/DE?


Im comming to Fedora from MX Linux and I wonder if it’s a good idea to preserve /home (ext4 formatted) given that MX linux and fedora are so different, i.e. different DE, different init-system, etc.?

While preserving /home seems like the easiest solution up front, my worry is that preserving my /home will “carry over” a lot of “garbage” dot-files, etc. from MX Linux which in the best case isn’t needed/used by fedora and in the worst case can interfere with the fedora/gnome configuration?

Thanks in advance!

How about you select what to keep?

for example, you could
keep ~./local, .mozilla, .thunderbird, .certs and
trash .config, .cache, and .thumbnails?

Flatpaks are stored in ~/.var, so if you used them, not a bad idea to keep that one too. Don’t know where snaps are stored, but you’ll find out.

A different init system doesn’t have anyting to do with your files in /home, so nothing to worry.

Personally, I always restore my entire home directory except for Trash, thumbnails.

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+1, if you use a dotfile manager (like GitHub - thoughtbot/rcm: rc file (dotfile) management), you can even remove all your configs and then “reinstall” them.

I tend to keep all my application configs when I re-install/upgrade. A lot of these are dotfiles in ~/, but now a lot are also moving to ~/.config/. I tend not to keep the gnome settings around if it’s a major gnome version update since they’re not all backwards compatible.

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That might be the best idea. I guess I’ll have to take a thorough look at all my dotfiles and determine what to save. This is the first time i hop distro so I haven’t done this exercise yet.

If I do chose to preserve the complete /home partition, do you know if there’s a tool to cleanup dotfiles that is no longer needed e.g. because the app is not installed on the fedora?

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Chezmoi is another that does that.


I’m afraid I’m not aware of a tool that does this. There are just too many apps out there for any single tool to keep track of. It has to be done manually.

Okay. I think I will go by the solution suggested by @augenauf and be more selective about what I keep on the /home partition.

Are there any other directories /home besides .config, .cache, and .thumbnails that I should definitely trash before switching distro?

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Of course, the other way to look at this is to backup what you want to save, including dot files and directories, then do a fresh install. If you have the storage space you could even make a BTRFS partition and subvolume to back up what you want/need then install fresh and new copying backuped data into new home. I’ve done it successfully, usually with the need to relabel files for selinux after so my new user could claim ownership.

I do have backups and I have actually been considering to create another partition for user files/directories like docs and pics and then symlink those back to home. I think this will make it much easier to re-install or change distro in the future.

I’m not sure I’m ready to jump on the btrfs wagon yet, I’m still in the process of getting used to openzfs (on a server).

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