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Old 08-02-2004, 05:59 PM   #1
linda
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Installing different distros


Somewhere in my travels i came across a thread where someone explained how they went about installing different distros, without ruining the one they use regularly. They might have worked at a place like DistroWatch, or LinuxISO. If I had only bookmarked it!

Does anyone know where this thread might be? :-)

If not, I am interested in installing Suse. I have a partition all ready for it, but I already have WinXP, and Slackware. The Yast installer confused me a bit, so I aborted without changing anything.
Has anyone installed Suse and already had another distro installed? Could you walk me through it?
 
Old 08-03-2004, 06:31 AM   #2
pingu
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That should not be a problem, you have a partition so just install there.
But then there is the booting...
There are several ways to deal with this. I suggest that you, if possible, creates a small /boot-partition but it (probably) has to be a primary.
Also, use GRUB not lilo!
In another forum I wrote a rather lengthy instruction on how to boot several distros:
Boot multiple distros
Check that forum, more posts in the same matter. Saikee has studied this a lot (I'm 'x', btw)
It might look like it's very complicated, actually it isn't. It's a bit hard to just read it, but hands-on, one step at a time and you'll find it's pretty easy whichever way you choose to go.

(If you then become more familiar and want to use same partitions in different distro's, I wrote something about that too.)
 
Old 08-03-2004, 06:31 AM   #3
ferrix
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I do it all the time, just never with Suse. So I can't give you step by step instructions, but the general principles go something like this:
It's quite simple actually... as long as you have the empty partition ready, all you need to worry about is installing your new system in the right place, ie, be sure not to overwrite *the other* partition... and then you just have to decide how you're going to boot your system. Every installer will deal with installation of bootloader at some stage. This is the decision time! You can go ahead and install bootloader favoured by your new distro into MBR (master boot record - the first sector on your HD, even before partitions start). The installer will create a configuration file for your bootloader so it will boot your new system properly, but you will most likely have to configure it to boot your *old* system(s), by editing its configuration file. Possibly the installer might auto-detect them for you, but don't count on it!
Or else, you can tell the installer *not* to install its bootloader, or to install it to the root partion instead of MBR. This means your old bootloader, which is still in MBR, will be the one that handles booting duties. This in turn means it is already set up to boot your *old* system, but it doesn't know anything about the new one - so you'll have to configure it instead.
You'll probably need to do a bit more reading on this subject before jumping in. Try googling for these keywords: "Grub lilo chainloader" ... should keep you busy for a while
 
Old 08-03-2004, 06:35 AM   #4
hkctr
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During the installtion of SuSE, on the page with all your installation options selected, click on the boot loader entry and select not to install a boot loader. Use the same swap partition as you use in Slackware. If using grub as your boot loader, re-boot into Slackware and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add the entry for SuSE. If you are using lilo, maybe someone else can help you. Never used anything but grub.

Edit: Geez, you guys are fast or else I am a real slow typer...

Last edited by hkctr; 08-03-2004 at 07:28 AM.
 
Old 08-03-2004, 09:04 AM   #5
linda
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Thanks, this is esactly the info I was looking for, but I don't think your thread is the one I actually came acroos before. But it was a helpful read. I'll be good to go soon enough.

Why not use Lilo? That's what I am using to boot Slack: it is installed on my hda5 (where Slack is). I use NT loader to chose Slack or WinXP, and I was going to add Suse to Lilo.
 
Old 08-04-2004, 03:20 AM   #6
pingu
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Of course you have to make your own choices, it works the way you have it set up too.
Why I prefer grub:
1) Once installed (preferably in a separate /boot-partition) I never need to reinstall it. Adding a distro is done by editing /boot/grub/menu.lst (and possibly copying kernel+initrd to /boot.) This can be done from any distro.
If you use lilo, you have to edit /etc/lilo.conf and execute /sbin/lilo. This is a big difference: you must have the same version of lilo as the one that's installed.
2) grub is very configurable, at booting you can edit the entire entries. Far more flexible than lilo, where you only can add some parameters.

Best thing is probably to just get things running first, if you decide to change bootloader you can do that any time.
 
Old 08-06-2004, 08:31 AM   #7
linda
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Lilo came with my first install of Mandrake 8, years ago. So it is what I keep using, but you have a very good point there with the ease of editing grub. Especially since I seem to be always dabbling. So I guess I'll give that a try...
 
Old 08-07-2004, 07:33 PM   #8
six6
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Hi, I'm just jumping into this thread, because I'm having some issues with multiple distros.

I have windows xp on /dev/hda1 and nothing else on hda
My dvd writer is on /dev/hdb
I have /boot on /dev/hdc1, and / for debian on /dev/hdc2 and nothing else on hdc
I have / for fedora core 2 on /dev/hdd1 and a vfat partition on /dev/hdd5

I installed using your (pingu) method. I installed windows first. Then I put grub on /dev/hdc1 with the debian sarge installer.

Only /dev/hda1 and /dev/hdc1 are primary, active partitions. The others are logical.

When I start my computer, it goes straight into windows. Grub's menu doesn't show up. If I change the windows partition to not bootable (inactive), nothing loads. How can I make the computer look at /dev/hdc1 so that grub loads?
 
Old 08-09-2004, 02:05 AM   #9
pingu
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That depends on your BIOS.
Some modern BIOS'es allows you to boot from other than first drive. If this option is not in BIOS then you will have to boot from mbr on hda (Windows). This means you have to configure your Windows-bootloader to boot grub. I haven't done that, can't give instructions but you'll probably find info searching the forum. I know 'johnt' on justlinux uses this way to boot, I guess 'saikee' tried it too.
Another way would be to shrink your Windows-partition, create a new /boot on hda2.

Last edited by pingu; 08-09-2004 at 02:29 AM.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 08:06 PM   #10
linda
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I'm happy to say that after all of that reading (great help!) I was able to get Suse and WinXP dual-booting with Grub. Grub is a little weird, I think, in it's naming conventions, but I guess it all takes getting used to.

In the process, I ruined my booting of Slackware. So I'm hoping that someone who understands Grub can help me edit my files to get my Slack working again?

Here's my scenario:
hda1(primary partition)is Win XP,
hda2(primary partition) is /boot for Suse.
hda5(extended partition) is my Slack install, with a /boot that probably doesn't have the right stuff in it because I used Lilo for Slack. I don't know if I can even boot into it anymore, since I messed up the Lilo...
hdb1(primary) is /tmp
hdb? (extended) is swap
hdb? is / for my Suse install.
 
Old 08-10-2004, 11:47 PM   #11
J.W.
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What are the contents of your current GRUB file? -- J.W.
 
Old 08-11-2004, 02:11 AM   #12
pingu
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Lilo's config is easier to read, I agree on that one. I stayed clear of grub for quite some time because I found it too difficult to read, until I realized the advantages of grub. You'll get used to it.

So hda2 is intended for /boot only, good. Use it for all partitions.
For your slackware:
Boot into SuSe. Mount Slackware's root (hda5) somewhere
Copy slack's kernel and initrd if necessary to /boot (take a look in <slackwareroot>/etc/lilo.conf to find out what kernel + initrd)
Give them a good name, like vmlinuz-slack-<versionnr>
Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst: add the lines
title Slackware
root (hd0,1)
kernel vmlinuz-slack ro root=/dev/hda5 #Add extra options as needed, look at options for SuSe for such as ide-scsi, vga=788 acpi etc, compare to <slackwareroot>/etc/lilo.conf
initrd initrd-slack # If used

That should do it. If it doesn't work, remember you can edit the entries at booting. When you get grub's boot-menu, highlight "Slackware" and press <e>. Highlight the line you wish to edit, press <e> again.

Oh yes, when it works: change /etc/fstab for Slackware so it uses /dev/hda2 for /boot.

Last edited by pingu; 08-11-2004 at 02:12 AM.
 
Old 08-11-2004, 03:15 PM   #13
linda
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Ok, I got an error message on booting Slack...

I copied my vmliniz to /boot (I named it vmlinuz-slack-10.0). There was no initrd in my Lilo.conf, or anywhere I could find in the Slack install.

Then I added this to my menu.lst:
title Slackware
root (hd0,1)
kernel vmlinuz-slack-10.0 ro root=/dev/hda5 vga=0x314 splash=silent desktop resume=/dev/hdb5 showopts

Then I booted to Slack and got this error message:

"root (hd0,1)
Filesystem type unknown, partition type 0xf
kernel vmlinuz-slack-10.0 ro root=/dev/hda5 vga=0x314 splash=silent desktop resume=/dev/hdb5 showopts
Error 1: Filename must be either an absolute pathname or blocklist."

I don't really know what to edit... Am I missing something with that initrd thing?
 
Old 08-11-2004, 05:14 PM   #14
linda
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Got it working! I had to change to hd0,2 and I had to match the typing that was relatied to Suse's entry. But now I can boot into Slack or Suse (or WinXP) by way of Grub, or I can boot into Winxp by MBR.
Thanks!

Why do I have to edit Slack's fstab to mount /boot correctly? Won't it mess up Suse's entries?

Last edited by linda; 08-11-2004 at 05:22 PM.
 
Old 08-11-2004, 11:47 PM   #15
insyte
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GRUB questions

if I make a separate /boot partition for GRUB, will this mess up my current /boot directory for slack and mandrake?

Do I have to erase the original /boot directories and just transfer to the new /boot partition if I edit /etc/fstab?
 
  


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