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Old 06-03-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
glenn69
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Chicagoland
Distribution: ArchLinux
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How do I move /home to share between distros?


I have tried to locate a good answer to this question, but have not had any luck finding a "complete" answer.

Here goes...

I have a multi boot system with 4 Linux versions. I would like to be able to use any of the Linux versions while having access to the same /home directory. My goal is to be able to try as many distros as possible while keeping my personal /home files intact.

From what I have read, I think I first need to know if my existing /home is on a separate partition or located in /........the answer , I don't know.

So, that is probably my first question. How do I knw exactly where my /home directory is located. I looked at my fstab and did not see a /home listing.

Then, my second question is, how do I move it to it's own partition and use it as the main /home for all my distros?

Thanks for helping.
 
Old 06-03-2005, 03:35 PM   #2
Uncle_Scooter_Man
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Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Indianapolis
Distribution: Libranet 2.8.1, Mandrake 9.0, Debian 3.0
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HI glenn,

It sounds to me like you may have installed the distribution(s) under '/' with no other partitions for /home, /usr, /boot, or anything. To me this is dangerous to 'personal' files as they can be easily lost if you have drive issues in the future ( or install another dist on top of it ).

Typically, during installation I would reserver a partition of the drive(s) for saved files. Stuff that I would use on any booted distribution. For example, you would have all of your personal files on /dev/hdb5 and mount that partition on each distribution under your home directory. The path would be something like '/home/glenn/personalFiles'. You could mount this partition under all of your distributions to have the files always available.

In the future, you may want to consider installing with seperate partitions; i.e. /home. /usr, /boot, /www . . . .

Hope this helps

Scoot

Afterthought - I would not move /home to other distributions or allow *all* distributions to use the same /home/directory. Some distributions have specific settings that are needed. If you move /home for all distributions to use, strange and wonderful things could occur. Just move your personal files and allow the different distributions to create their own confiuration files.

Last edited by Uncle_Scooter_Man; 06-03-2005 at 04:09 PM.
 
Old 06-04-2005, 08:58 PM   #3
glenn69
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Location: Chicagoland
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Thanks, but you lost me here ....
Just move your personal files and allow the different distributions to create their own confiuration files.

What exactly does that mean and how do I do that? I thought my /home was my personal files.

Thanks
 
Old 06-04-2005, 09:04 PM   #4
Kendo1979
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i think what he's trying to say is

have /home in each distro u have
but whenever you want to save your personal files (ie files you download, or other documents) use other directories beside your $home
maybe create another partition on your drive ?
 
Old 06-07-2005, 11:24 AM   #5
Uncle_Scooter_Man
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Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Indianapolis
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Kendo1979 is correct in what I was trying to convey.

For your current installations, you will want to create a new partition (or use an existing empty one) to hold your personal files. You will mount this new partition on each distribution installed under your home directory.

If you need further help setting it up, just answer the questions below as I will need more information.


Do you have any free space on any hard drives in your system to create a personal storage space? The command "fdisk -l" will print info to the screen for all installed drives. If you don't know how to read the output, just copy the output and post here.

How many distributions do you have installed and do you know where they are installed?

Are you using grub or LILO? Please list the configuration file for whichever one you are using. Grub I believe can be found in "/boot/grub/menu.lst". Lilo can be in "/etc/lilo/lilo.conf", but I'm not sure as it's been a while since I used LILO.

Scoot
 
Old 06-07-2005, 10:31 PM   #6
Electro
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Registered: Jan 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Uncle_Scooter_Man
HI glenn,

It sounds to me like you may have installed the distribution(s) under '/' with no other partitions for /home, /usr, /boot, or anything. To me this is dangerous to 'personal' files as they can be easily lost if you have drive issues in the future ( or install another dist on top of it ).

Typically, during installation I would reserver a partition of the drive(s) for saved files. Stuff that I would use on any booted distribution. For example, you would have all of your personal files on /dev/hdb5 and mount that partition on each distribution under your home directory. The path would be something like '/home/glenn/personalFiles'. You could mount this partition under all of your distributions to have the files always available.

In the future, you may want to consider installing with seperate partitions; i.e. /home. /usr, /boot, /www . . . .

Hope this helps

Scoot

Afterthought - I would not move /home to other distributions or allow *all* distributions to use the same /home/directory. Some distributions have specific settings that are needed. If you move /home for all distributions to use, strange and wonderful things could occur. Just move your personal files and allow the different distributions to create their own confiuration files.
For a personal setup, putting everything on / is fine. When multiple users are going to use the system, its best to move the users directory (could be /home, /usr/home, ...) on to a seperate partiton. If the the /home partiton is on the same drive, it really does not make a difference at this point if the drive fails. Anyways, you should have backup the data.

Distributions that I have encounter create the same files in the /home directory. You can have one partition for /home then every distribution that you use will use the settings. The settings are compatible from one distribution to the next. Also all your e-mail and web browser settings will be used in every distribution. Directories like /etc, /usr, /var are not really compatible with every distributions. Also /boot is the same for each distribution, just make sure the bootloader configuration has the right syntax. Make sure the kernel and initrd are named differently. For /boot, you just need about 32 MB (heck you get by with 16 MB if you are tight on space) although some distributions scream if you do not have 64 MB.

The level of hardness for a novice is about 5 out of 5 because you have to first plan out the partitions, decide size of partitions, rename kernel and initrd files, check the bootloader config file, and check the fstab file to make sure its right.

I have tried Mandrake, Redhat, Slackware, and Gentoo. From the four, I like Gentoo the best because the thinking is done by emerge that reads the ebuild which are blueprints and instructions how to install it. If you have tried installing gnome, kde, and xfce4 by hand, you will know what I mean. The cons of using Gentoo, every program have to be compiled and this takes a long, long time, but it is smooth sailing after Gentoo has finished compiling GUI programs and libraries.

BTW, when dealing with ReiserFS, I suggest including notail in the mounting options because LILO will corrupt ReiserFS partitons if you do not. GRUB does not hurt ReiserFS, but it does not hurt to include notail.
 
  


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