The formatting of a hard disk partition on Linux is not very difficult if you use the right command. The mkfs command is used on Linux for this task; I will be showing a simple example of its usage here to make it clear how this is done.
This is a simple example; I am formatting a partition with the NTFS filesystem.
mkfs.ntfs -f /dev/sdc1
This will perform a quick format of the drive.
This example above will perform a full format, which is sometimes a good idea to do when you need more data integrity.
mkfs.ntfs -L DOS /dev/sdc1
The above example will set the volume label to DOS.
More information on the mkfs.ntfs command here: http://linux.die.net/man/8/mkfs.ntfs.