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  1. I've always prefer to use partitions, but I don't think there's any technical reasons. Adding a drive in virtualbox just seems like less work that setting up a loopback. When I'm on a cloud server with only one device - it's the typically the opposite, I prefer to setup a loopback. If you're not sure if you have a extra device or how to add one - use the loopback method.

  2. If you've never used vi before, oh you're in for a treat -> http://yannesposito.com/Scratch/en/blog/Learn-Vim-Progressively/ (I'm a 15 year newb!) ... for a more "traditional" notepad like experience, some people get by with nano -> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Nano ... if you're not familiar with fstab start here -> https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Fstab

  3. <your-user-name> and <your-group-name> are place holders in the docs; they should never be used literally. They are representative of the logged in user's name and group. On my system it's clayg; on production systems it might be swift; if you're running as the superuser it'll be root.

Good Luck!