Thanks Mitch, noted.
Mitch Bradley wrote: [...]
One problem you might be having is that OFW and Linux probably disagree about partition numbering in the face of extended partitions. OFW does a depth-first recursion, counting only the leaf nodes. Conversely, at least according to the example above, Linux does a breadth-first recursion and appears to count the intermediate nodes (extended entries) as first-class partitions.
Given the layout above, here is my swag at how the numbering works. Indentation represents inclusion in an extended partition.
hda1 - OFW 1 hda2 - (OFW doesn't count this as a selectable device) hda5 - OFW 2 hda6 - OFW 3 hda3 - OFW 4
I tend to format disks using only primary partitions, just to keep things simple.
Linux's largely-unwritten policies for numbering disks and other devices have been a source of confusion forever.
I'm very suspicious about the partition layout in the example I cited, which is the result of running DOS fdisk followed by Linux fdisk- I normally try to only run one fdisk implementation per drive. It looked badly out of order to me, but Linux's fdisk didn't think it needed correcting. So I agree with your unease about Linux's general behaviour, and I'm sure that I needn't comment about the way that unlike MS OSes it doesn't leave a gap between the partition table and filesystem.
Thanks very much for all your help. I'll be back.