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Ulysses_ 11-15-2011 03:55 PM

Several distros in one storage provider
 
Need to have 6 distros on one hard disk.

If each distro has its own partition, then distro A would have 1 GB of free space, distro B would have 1 GB of free space, distro C would have 1 GB, etc.

Can they all have the same 6 GB of free space so you can work with a file as large as 6 GB if you want to?

Distros of interest: mint 8, mint 11, mint 11 AMD64, slackware-based vectorlinux 6 lite, vectorlinux 6 STD, tinycore

Ulysses_ 11-15-2011 04:38 PM

What if directories under / for each distro are moved to per-distro directories and symbolically linked to from tiny partitions, one tiny partition per distro? Would this work?

Can a distro be installed without formatting the partition it is installed to?

poly_s 11-15-2011 11:15 PM

You could have six 'root' partitions, each with its own distro (system on) and then one 6 GB partition that each system mounts to home. And probably a boot partition as well to look after grub. How's about that?

k3lt01 11-15-2011 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by poly_s (Post 4525134)
You could have six 'root' partitions, each with its own distro (system on) and then one 6 GB partition that each system mounts to home. And probably a boot partition as well to look after grub. How's about that?

+1 to that, I used to run quite a few distros on my old Acer laptop and each had its own / but they all shared a common /home.

Ulysses_ 11-16-2011 02:49 AM

But what about this requirement:

Quote:

Can they all have the same 6 GB of free space so you can work with a file as large as 6 GB if you want to?
In other words, each probably uses 4 GB and leaves 1 GB free if installed in a 5 GB partition. Can't all those free spaces be a sigle space of 6 GB so you can edit a 6 GB file in this free space?

k3lt01 11-16-2011 02:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulysses_ (Post 4525311)
But what about this requirement:



In other words, each probably uses 4 GB leaving 1 GB free if put in a 5 GBpartition. Can't all those free spaces be a sigle 6 GB free space so you can edit a 6 GB file if you want to in this free space?

Yes, actually I'll go further, I have a full blown Debian Sid/Experimental on this laptop with Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment, Fluxbox XFCE, and LXDE on the 1 / and it is only using 7GB with all those DEs on it. I seriously doubt your choices would on their own take up the amount of space you think they will.

poly_s 11-16-2011 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulysses_ (Post 4525311)
But what about this requirement:



In other words, each probably uses 4 GB and leaves 1 GB free if installed in a 5 GB partition. Can't all those free spaces be a sigle space of 6 GB so you can edit a 6 GB file in this free space?

Requirement solved...

In your senario you would have six partitions with six different systems on each at 4 GB then you would have a 100MB Boot partition and a 300MB Swap. Then you would have a 5.6 GB partition mounted to /home on each partition. total size of hard disk = 30GB. so you can 'handle' one file at 5.6GB.

Does that make sense?

mr_minning 11-17-2011 06:32 AM

When I did my dualboot, I choose to let Ubuntu and Fedora share /boot and a common data folder (that is just used for documents and such) not the whole /home, because I didn't want them to change each others settings. I also use separate SWAP so I would get trouble with the hibernate function.

Ulysses_ 11-17-2011 05:53 PM

Quote:

total size of hard disk = 30GB
4 GB is the disk space used by each distro, not the size of its partition. The partition size is then larger and arbitrarily I said let's leave 1 GB of free space in each partition. That makes partitions 5 GB large. If another 300 MB partition is reserved for the swap space as you said, then the total is 6 x 5 + 0.3 = 30.3 GB. With a huge 1 TB disk editing large files is no problem, it happens in yet another huge partition. But what if the disk is 30.3 GB?

Can all the split free space be used as if it were contiguous with a driver or something?

Can all 6 distros' files be moved after installation to one big partition? Eg where each distro is held in one directory? Where each such directory holds the root directories of each distro? Where each root dir is pointed to by a symbolic link in a separate tiny partition holding just the symbolic links for one distro, so each distro thinks it has everything in its own partition?

poly_s 11-18-2011 02:30 PM

Everything is a file so you can partition any way you want and then mount partitions to anywhere you want. I was giving an example that totaled 30GB as an example...thats it, just an example.

Good luck

Ulysses_ 11-18-2011 06:29 PM

I do not understand "everything is a file" but then you do not understand "make split free space contiguous" either. So it can't get far. :) Thanks anyway.

-kg- 11-20-2011 02:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulysses_ (Post 4527945)
I do not understand "everything is a file" but then you do not understand "make split free space contiguous" either. So it can't get far. :) Thanks anyway.

I think he/she meant to say, everything is a directory. "/" (root) is a directory; /home is a directory; /data is a directory. They are all directories, whether they're on separate partitions or all in one partition.

Quote:

In other words, each probably uses 4 GB and leaves 1 GB free if installed in a 5 GB partition. Can't all those free spaces be a sigle space of 6 GB so you can edit a 6 GB file in this free space?
I certainly do understand what you're trying to say. No, if you install 4 GB into a 5 GB partition, it leaves 1 GB of free space in that partition, not 1 GB of free space on the hard drive. If you have several partitions with 1 GB of free space in each, that free space cannot be "consolidated" except by extraordinary (and impractical) means.

You would have to shrink each partition, turning the "free space" in them into free space on the hard drive (which can be consolidated as free space by moving partitions about), then create and format another partition in that free space for you to use.

This creates problems in two areas. First, some amount of free space is necessary in each partition for expansion of data and minimizing fragmentation (yes, even ext(x) can become fragmented...just not as easily). Second, as I said above, it would take quite a bit of "shuffling" of partitions around. As with any partitioning operation there is some small danger of corruption or data loss. The more shuffling, the more danger.

In answer to an earlier question of yours that I didn't see addressed, no, you cannot use such free space (on the hard drive) without (creating a partition in, and) formatting it first.

Back almost 3 years ago, I wrote a Wiki on hard drive partitioning operations. While it has since been edited by others a bit (some of which I'm not so sure added to its clarity), it is a very good guide to formatting hard drives. You might want to read it. There are some good screenshots of Gparted that might help you visualize what I'm talking about.

How To Partition

-kg- 11-20-2011 03:05 AM

One further thought:

assuming you're unwilling or unable to install a larger internal hard drive, have you considered one of the smaller external drives? You can have your 6 distros as they are, and would have scads of space to play with files in. In addition, you can install additional distros on an external drive, giving you additional "toys" to play with. :)

I have a little 360 GB USB drive on this computer. Gives me plenty of storage room, and is only slightly slower (due to the USB bottleneck) than my internals. Of course, I also have a couple of 1 TB externals, one of them hooked up as a network drive.

Just be sure that if you do install a distro to an external drive, that you make sure to install GRUB to the root of the partition you install it to. If you allow the distro to install GRUB in the default location, you will be forced to have that drive plugged in to boot to anything.

Ulysses_ 11-20-2011 06:06 AM

Thanks. One caveat, on this computer usb boots for some reason cause the machine to instantly shut down after a while. Probably overheat protection and probably not going to happen with all distros.

I am surprised no distro seems to support installation to a directory rather than a partition. As if /dev cannot be a symbolic pointer created at boot time.

k3lt01 11-20-2011 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulysses_ (Post 4528845)
I am surprised no distro seems to support installation to a directory rather than a partition. As if /dev cannot be a symbolic pointer created at boot time.

WUBI can be installed into a directory but then it is Ubuntu installed within Windows,


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