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Old 08-23-2014, 06:44 PM   #1
Tracey2031
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disk partitioning for multiple Distributions of Linux


How should a dedicated 80GB HDD be partitioned to install multiple Distributions of Linux (trial purposes only, not a permanently operational installation)?

Please advise.
Thanks, Tracey the Linux Newbie

I have separately tested several Distributions of Linux using vmware Workstation 5.5.9.

Now I want to evaluate them installed.

Can/Should each installation share the "/home" and "/swap" directory in separate partitions and have each distribution with its own separate "/" (root) partition?
-or-
Should each installation have its own "/" and "/home" and "/swap" partitions?

Does Linux require a minimum of 2 partitions ("/" & "/swap")?

Also I see ext2, ext3, and ext4 partition types (among others).
I also see LVM, but I find LVM VERY confusing when trying to understand the partition layout for the above purpose.
 
Old 08-23-2014, 08:32 PM   #2
jailbait
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracey2031 View Post

Can/Should each installation share the "/home" and "/swap" directory in separate partitions and have each distribution with its own separate "/" (root) partition?
-or-
Should each installation have its own "/" and "/home" and "/swap" partitions?
swap can either be a directory (/swap) or a partition. Making swap a partition is better. You can use the same swap partition for all of the linux installations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracey2031 View Post
Does Linux require a minimum of 2 partitions ("/" & "/swap")?
Yes and no. Linux can run without having any swap at all. Linux can run with /swap as a directory within the / partition. Linux can run with a separate swap partition. A separate swap partition is best, especially since you can share the swap partition among all of your installed Linux systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracey2031 View Post
Also I see ext2, ext3, and ext4 partition types (among others).
I also see LVM, but I find LVM VERY confusing when trying to understand the partition layout for the above purpose.
ext3 and ext4 are journaling file systems. ext2 is not a journaling file system. If you have a system crash a journaling file system will recover during boot much faster than an ext2 file system. I recommend that you use ext4 for all of your file systems (except swap which has no file system). LVM is handy for large servers with many disks and which have to periodically rearrange their disk configuration. For what you are doing LVM is an unnecessary complication.

--------------------------
Steve Stites
 
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:46 PM   #3
m.a.l.'s pa
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The way I do it, each distro has its own / and /home, but they all share the same swap partition. Also, a large data partition. Still using ext3 on some installations, but ext4 on the ones I've put in more recently.

As you see there are several ways to approach it; for example, the next user wouldn't want separate / and /home partitions.
 
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
frankbell
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If this is for testing only, I don't think you need to give each distro a separate /home partition. /home for each distro could be contained within each distro's root partition (that's the default with most installation routines). That means a separate partition for each of however many distros you expect to be testing at the same time, plus a single swap partition that all the distros can use, since, in a multiboot system, you will only be using one distro at a time.

It is probably not wise to ask multiple distros to share the same /home partition--different configuration choices in the different distros could lead to very confused configuration files if they try to share a single /home partition.

It might also be useful to create an extra partition that could be used as a shared partition, sort of like a built-in "network" share, that could be used to move files among the various partitions. An external USB drive could serve the same purpose.

As for file systems, ext4 is likely best, but ext3 is perfectly serviceable, as they are both journaling file systems; ext2 is not a journaling file system, so I would recommend against it. Again, since this is for testing, LVM probably would not be necessary.

Just a few thoughts.

Last edited by frankbell; 08-23-2014 at 09:18 PM.
 
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