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Old 02-20-2009, 10:33 PM   #1
Twilight in Zero
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Multi-distro partition setup; does this sound like a good setup?


I've been using Ubuntu for a long while, but now Arch has caught my eye. It sounds like my kind of distro. So I want to give it a try. I've read a lot about it, and I feel that my Linux skills are developed enough to handle it. If nothing else, I'll end up with an extra partition to play with other distros.

Here's the problem, though. I've already got my hard drive partitioned for one distro. Here's the current setup:

12GB / (I have a whole lot of room to shrink that waaay down)
134GB /home
--/home/trent (I don't care that you know what my name is)
2GB swap

I was thinking about changing it like this:

/boot
Arch /
Ubuntu /
/home
--/home/trent-arch
--/home/trent-ubuntu
--/home/trent-common
swap

I was thinking that /boot could be distro independent, as in a partition with grub and only grub on it. grub would then chainload into the grubs stored on Arch and Ubuntu. Is there a way to have this kind of setup?

Second point is with /home. I know that distros shouldn't share home folders, but if you give each distro a different username, things will be fine. But it feels weird to me to name my user on arch trent-arch. Apparently when you make users, you can specify a custom home directory. I was planning on doing that, as well as changing the current home directory for my Ubuntu install (is that possible? I hope so). I would then move all the common stuff like my music, pictures, videos, etc, to the common one, and make symlinks in the individual distro folders to the common folders


So, how does my plan sound? Any flaws in it? Do you have alternate ideas? Better ideas? All input is appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 
Old 02-21-2009, 01:27 AM   #2
cheftec
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You...may have some difficulty mapping your /home/whatever to whatever\. Incidentally, I learned linux on Arch. It was pretty fantastic. Now they have a LiveCD. A LiveCD! Either way, just make sure you backup anything important before you jump off the high dive. But here's my thoughts:

easiest thing to do:

1. wipe ubuntu
2. install arch
3. install ubuntu
4. create /home/share

Really, the 'partition' is arbitrary. At least, I don't see crazy value in it if you're not doing crazy things like, oh, say... crazy networking. So better yet, create Share \. That way, if you totally bone one partition, you've got the "savings account" and the other "checking account" all ok. YOu can still make symlinks and all that jazz.

YOu can put boot into a separate partition.
 
Old 02-21-2009, 03:06 PM   #3
Twilight in Zero
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I'm not worried about the difficulty of changing the name of my home folder. I'm currently grepping files that have the name of my home folder so that I can change them if usermod doesn't change them. I'll check them before doing sed so I don't end up with a stupid mistake like "/home/trent-ubuntu-ubuntu"

grep is taking forever, though. :/
 
Old 02-21-2009, 05:26 PM   #4
cheftec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilight in Zero View Post
I'll check them before doing sed so I don't end up with a stupid mistake like "/home/trent-ubuntu-ubuntu"
Haha, that would be annoying. Make sure you document your experience with doing all this, for documenting's sake. Never know when you'll be able to accidentally help a whole bunch of people.
 
Old 02-21-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
Twilight in Zero
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Very good point. I'll make sure to do that.
 
Old 02-22-2009, 01:15 AM   #6
Twilight in Zero
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I have actually decided against this method, because it's pointless. If I like Arch better, I'm not going to keep Ubuntu. It will be less complicated to have just Arch anyways. Although later in the post, I'll loosely describe what I would have done. First I will loosely describe what I will do instead.

- Boot to my custom Ubuntu Hardy liveCD, that has partimage on it. Use partimage to back up my current Ubuntu install onto my iPod.
- Format my current /.
- Rename trent on my home partition to oldtrent, thus allowing it to get out of the way for trent on Arch.
- Install Arch.
- Move all my big stuff, like Documents, Music, etc, into new home folder. Copy things like configs and gtk themes.

Thus, if I decide to go back to Ubuntu, it's as easy as restoring my backup image, moving my big stuff back to oldtrent, deleting Arch's trent, and renaming oldtrent back to trent. And I might need to restore grub.


If I still wanted a multi-distro install, it would have come down to this. I don't know for sure the last parts would work, 'cos I'm not actually going to do it. There is still time for me to change my mind, but I don't think I will this time.

- sudo find / -type f -exec grep -lsiI /home/trent {} + > /replace1.txt Because for some reason, grep on its own is PAINFULLY slow, and misses files. There will be a lot of files there.
- Go to single-user mode, and...
- usermod -d /home/trent-ubuntu
- find / -type f -exec grep -lsiI /home/trent-ubuntu {} + > /replace2.txt
- I don't know the commands for the next parts, but whatever files are in replace2.txt, get rid of them from replace1.txt.
- Use sed to replace /home/trent with /home/trent-ubuntu for all the files in replace1.txt.
- Restart and hope it worked.

Then I would have made my partitions, installed a standalone grub into a partition of my choice, then install Arch. While installing Arch, I would have specified a home directory using an option in useradd. There are probably some other complexities I'm leaving out or forgetting. One of the other reasons I'm taking the first route.
 
  


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