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Old 01-18-2006, 06:18 AM   #1
alanbarnard
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Dual boot - sharing data between Linux & Windows


I have just succeeded in making my first really usable dual-boot system. I have four partitions:
1. - NTFS with XP pro installed
2. - FAT32 for shared data
3. - Ext3 with Ubuntu (much modified) installed
4. - Linux Swap
Now I have some Windows software:
1. - Firefox 1.5
2. - OpenOffice.org
3. - Thunderbird
I now have the first two also running under Linux.

What I would like to do is to be able to access all the data for both sets of programs from either OS as I have some programs which are only available for one or the other OS - thus the need to dual boot.

My problem is that I do not know how to arrange that files like bookmarks, preferences, inbox etc. are placed in the FAT 32 partition and referenced by both versions of each program. Also, if this can be done, are there any files for which it would be dangerous to allow dual-access in this manner?

So far, I have got stuck on Firefox - not yet looked at the others.
 
Old 01-18-2006, 06:46 AM   #2
pixellany
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I think what you are trying to do is theoretically possible, but:

1. Why? To me, the reason for dual-boot is to occassionallly be able to use Windows, when Linux won't do what I need. Why try to do the same things in two different ways.

2. It could get very confusing and need a lot of maintenance. Once you tell an app where to store things, it stores everything there---there may be subtle differences in how the Win and Lin versions work, and this has the potential for creating confusion
 
Old 01-18-2006, 07:29 AM   #3
alanbarnard
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You are probably quite right. More people are killed by Methadone than Heroin. My Linux system is a development project and I expect to keep breaking it; so I cannot keep it for everyday use - but if I do not use it every day, then I tend not to use it at all. I think that my idea was probably 10% too big. I have a second PC and a KVM switch, so I think I will just relegate my working copy of Windows to the old box.

I did have other reasons for what I was wanting to do. These were: to directly compare the speed of the two OS's using identical hardware, to directly compare the appearance of the same programs under different OS's, to demonstrate that the programs could behave identically under different OS's.

I suppose that the real answer is to have two identical computers.

Thanks for the advice.
 
Old 01-18-2006, 12:28 PM   #4
haertig
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I would be careful sharing things like Firefox profiles between different OS'es. The issue comes up even when sharing on the same OS - just different versions of Firefox. Anything but the exact same version of Firefox running on similar OS'es would give me the willies. I'd think mixing w2k and XP and sharing a profile over a network would be OK, but only if the same version of Firefox was used.

You might consider setting up a script to backup your entire profile before starting Firefox proper. Put equivalent scripts on every OS that shares the profile. That way you could recover if something gets corrupted. Make sure your backup script does not overwrite the one and only backup copy. If you're like most people you'll try the same (broken) thing over and over, for some reason expecting different results. You don't want to overwrite your good backup with corrupted backups while you're stuck in the loop "Maybe I'll just try it again and it will work."

Some things may share just fine (e.g., bookmarks - I think that's just a standard HTML file). Other things (e.g., prefs.js) might not be 100% compatible across versions or OS'es.
 
Old 01-18-2006, 01:24 PM   #5
hand of fate
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I managed to configure Mozilla to share profile information between Windows and Linux a while ago, so I'm guessing the same method would work with Firefox / Thunderbird. There were problems with profile files containing file paths, but I eventually got it to work properly. Try:

1. From the windows version, create a new profile on the shared partition. If you want to use your existing profile, then do this then copy your existing profile folder over the top of the newly created profile one.

2. Under Linux, locate the current profile folder, delete bookmarks and history files and replace with symbolic links to the equivalent files in the profile on the shared partition.

It may be possible to share other parts of the profile, but the bookmarks and history basically cover what you need. A similar process should work with Thunderbird.

I've never tried sharing an OpenOffice.org profile, but I'm not sure if it's necessary anyway. Since all the profile contains is the user customisations, it's probably easier to just customise each version separately.
 
Old 01-21-2006, 05:54 AM   #6
alanbarnard
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I have had no success at all with this. Even just copying the bookmarks.html file from its place in Windows to its place in Linux does not seem to work. Fortunately the Linux version allows you to import your bookmarks from a file, so I transfered them that way.

On the other hand, the job of getting Linux all set up and working is going fine. I have installed the k7 kernel, Nvidia drivers, Firefox 1.5 with all my bookmarks, I can read my NTSF and FAT32 partitions, I can play DVD's. I can see Windows being sent to the great bit-bucket in the sky before long.

Thank you all for your advice.
 
Old 01-23-2006, 01:23 PM   #7
hand of fate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbarnard
I have had no success at all with this. Even just copying the bookmarks.html file from its place in Windows to its place in Linux does not seem to work.
What "did not work"? What happened when you copied the file?
 
Old 01-23-2006, 07:08 PM   #8
alanbarnard
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I put a copy of bookmarks.html onto my FAT partition - which is hda5 to Linux. Then:

sudo cp /media/hda5/bookmarks.html /etc/mozilla-firefox/profile/bookmarks.html

This can be seen to overwrite the original Linux bookmarks.html with the Windows one.

But when I run Firefox under Linux, it takes no notice of the replacement file. I suspect that Firefox 1.5 does not use this bookmarks.html because it is actually the bookmark file for version 1.0.7

As there are no other bookmark.html file apart from a default one. I presume that Firefox 1.5 does not keep its bookmarks in a file called bookmarks.html

I have now found the true Firefox 1.5 bookmark file:
/home/alan/.mozilla/firefox/vfx656pj.default/bookmarks.html

It was put there by Firefox using the import bookmarks from file function. Really obvious place - I think not, but it does seem more logical considering the way the Windows version uses Documents and Settings for the bookmarks.
 
Old 02-13-2006, 05:19 PM   #9
Maximillium
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Arrow

You might look at "Hack #25, Migrate Firefox Profiles"
Page 86-89 in the O'Reilly book "Firefox Hacks" 2005,
ISBN: 0-596-00928-3, which, while it specifically
addresses "migration", might also allow the same data
files to be shared by both Macrocrap and Linux versions,
presumably not both at the same time....

Seems to have something to do with path differences, and
making an installation in the OS and then telling Firefox
where to find a previously-saved copy of a profile which
would become the newer, working profile.

I will be dealing with the same issue when I get another
box to replace my oldest (really ancient) one which has
no USB port to which to connect my KVM switch. Boo, hiss.
 
  


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