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Old 04-03-2008, 04:21 AM   #1
moving2linux
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How to switch Distros when a Distro is already installed?


Hi.

I was just wondering how the experts "switch" distros when 1 distro is already installed.

As an example:

Right now Dreamlinux 3.0 is currently available and I want to install it to my non-Windows MSI Megabook Laptop AMD ATHLON 64x2. My Laptop has no operating system on it right now and I've tried the Mandriva One 2008 LiveCD and the wifi etc works.

Once I have already installed the DreamLinux, how can I remove it and then install the lastest Mandriva One 2008.1 (coming out on April 9th)? Then if I like the Mandriva... I will keep it... or ....

.... I may want to try/install the latest FEDORA 9 (coming out on April 29th).... or even the latest Ubuntu LTS.

I know the usual answer would be to try the LiveCd... but that is what I do to try a version... but what if something has already been installed? I do not mind writing-over the previous distro or formatting the harddisk again.

Will formating the harddisk to install another distro damage anything?

I think this is something in the lines of ... if I have FEDORA 8 installed, how can I install FEDORA 9? I know upgrading causes problems that is why a "clean install" is always recommended.

Thank you.

Last edited by moving2linux; 04-03-2008 at 04:23 AM.
 
Old 04-03-2008, 04:30 AM   #2
arubin
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I do not know about experts but I prefer to do things by having a spare partition so my set up is

Partition 1: Current linux system
Partition 2: Swap
Partition 3: Spare linux parition
Partition 4: Home

When I install a new distro I do it to the spare partition. Once I am happy with the set up I switch to that partition as my 'Current Linux system'. The home directory is uneffected by these changes. Once I am happy with the new installation I edit fstab so that it uses home on partition 4.
 
Old 04-03-2008, 04:33 AM   #3
kuri0s
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Personally I think that the cleanest way now that Hard Disks are cheap and SATA allows many of them easily: one disk per operative system.

If you are using laptops or unable to invest a single $ in your PC, use partitions. Use one partition per OS plus swap. If you want to hibernate the OS to disk, a separate swap partition is needed for that OS, otherwise one can be shared for many.

PRIMARY1 boot
PRIMARY2 swap
EXTENDED
LOGICAL1 OS1
LOGICAL2 OS2 + hibernate
LOGICAL3 SWAP_OS2
...

As you notice, the boot partition at the begining is a very usefull resource in multiboot boxes. You will find out the reasons as you experiment with this solutions.

NOTE: remember to backup all your important data before experiments
enjoy !
 
Old 04-03-2008, 05:54 AM   #4
ronlau9
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I agree I use suse 10.3 Mandriva 2008 and fedora 8 Each has own drive ,but every distro use his own swap and distro installed as numbert 2 and 3 also use the swap files of the distros installed before him do not like take it out of fstab
HD drives are written from the outside to inner side so booting up goes as quick as possible.
Booting can be done with one grub ore write grub on each hd so it is total separate the os ,but then you have to change
the boot order in the Bios Changing distro is easy because os are separate.

all the best

Last edited by ronlau9; 04-03-2008 at 05:55 AM. Reason: save to soon
 
Old 04-03-2008, 06:06 AM   #5
Nylex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moving2linux View Post
Hi.Will formating the harddisk to install another distro damage anything?
No. There is nothing you really need to be aware of and you can just reformat partitions and install other distros at your leisure.
 
Old 04-03-2008, 07:39 AM   #6
monsm
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Arubins scheme is elegant, and probably a good idea if you want to make sure you have a working installation at all times.
I have a spare machine I don't use for anything much, so I just do as Nylex and let the setup program for any new distro I want to try reformat the drive. The backup for this machine anyway fits onto a single cd-rw (just backing up /home).

Good luck trying distros.
 
Old 04-03-2008, 09:56 AM   #7
moving2linux
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Thanks for the tutorials! It is very helpful.

Another question... what if I only need/want one distro installed, do I still need to do all those partitions or will the LiveCD install do the partitioning for me?

Going back to what I mentioned, what if I currently have DreamLinux installed... then I do not want DreamLinux anymore... how do I get rid of it and install Fedora 9 instead... leaving Fedora 9 as the only distro installed.

I do not need to back-up data since I don't save documents/files and in effect, I do not need anything and can wipe the disk clean if needed.

thanks!

Last edited by moving2linux; 04-03-2008 at 09:57 AM.
 
Old 04-03-2008, 10:12 AM   #8
arubin
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The installation will handle partitioning for you but you will have to tell it what you want to do. You ought to have a small partition for swap 1 to 2 MB. As for the rest everyone has there favourite partitioning schemes. It works fine with everything else on one partition but I would advise you to to at least have a separate partition for /home so that if you want to install another distro you can do so without trashing your data.

You may also find that you want to play with other distros so it can be a good idea for you to have a few small partitions for experimental installations.

If all you want to do is replace Dreamlinux with Fedora just install fedora over it.

My present set up over 2 discs is at present something like this

Disc 1
sda1 Hidden FAT (used by Windows)
sda2 Windows XP
sda3 MP3 files
sda4 More MP3 files

Disc2
sdb1 Slackware 12 - my active distro
sdb2 Swap
sdb3 Slackware 11 - my previous distro
sdb5 home
sdb6 FAT32 for sharing between Windows and KLinux
sdb7 Data files for vmplayer (virtulisation)
sdb8 kubuntu
sdb9 slamd64
 
Old 04-03-2008, 10:16 AM   #9
ronlau9
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If there is no other distro installed on that drive even not Windows and you like get rid of Dreamlinux all the distros I Knew of has also the option to use the entire disk
If you choice for this option Dreamlinux and all other distros on that disk are gone

all the best
 
Old 04-08-2008, 07:00 AM   #10
kuri0s
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Post

Looks like you are still a bit confused.

You can install everything into one partition or in the way you feel more comfortable. There's no real need to make a swap partition because it is possible to use files for that. It is not, however, recommended at all.

Its up to you, that is Linux. No matter the oddest idea you have, sure you can implement it in some way. I suggest you tu backup and test a lot. Once you feel happy with one scheme, keep it and enjoy !!

As long as you don't have any work over your Linux distro yet, this is the best (probably the only) moment for learning without worying to loose your Linux customization work.

As a Linux professional, according to my experience this configuration gave me the best results:


LVM (Logical Volume Manager)
=============================

I suggest you to google a little about it, you will find it very usefull. A brief summary:

The idea is pretty simple but a little confusing on the beginning.

* Create a partition, type LVM.
* Create a PV (physical volume) over that partition. (Most installers do this automatically)
* Create a VG (volume group), using the disk space of the PV we created before.
* Create the desired LVs (logical volumes).

LVs are now the equivalent to partitions, but as long as we have an additional abstraction layer trough LVM, we can easyly add, remove, copy and resize them on the fly. Not so hard as it looks like on the begining. The final scheme would be something like this:


MNT POINT FILESYS LV SIZE
/boot ext3 - 100 MB
Swap swap - 2 GB
n of 2G swap partitions, variable according to the physical memory.
/ ReiserFS root_lv 500 MB
/tmp ReiserFS tmp_lv 300 MB
/usr ReiserFS usr_lv 3 GB
/home ReiserFS home_lv 200 MB
/var ReiserFS var_lv 900 MB

Use ext3 instead of Reiser if you don't like it.


PARTITIONS (not LVM)
=============================

If you choose not to use LVM, the same scheme for partitions, but only boot, swap, /, /tmp and /var. That is, excluding home and usr.

Why?

* var and tmp tend to grow up in Linux, and could fill the whole disk if you don't take care of logs and temporary files. This will happen sooner or later and could break your Linux forcing a rescue.

* boot is where you keep your kernels, easier to go for __every__ boot loaders with the first separate primary partition

* swap must be alone, and the sooner the better because (as other said before) disk IO performance is fater on the begining of the disk.

What about home?

Well, I keep it in a separate LV which I can resize at will but if you chose partitions... do you know how much will grow your home?. You will tend to do it biiiiig. The result: a lot of spare on the begining but in a couple of months you will probably need all the unused space on /. I suggest not to do a partition. You have in turn to be carefull not to fill / with your favourite movies . Anyway, if this happens you will not blame Linux but yourself for that action. And Linux reserves some space for himself which as normal user you can never use.

For those who share home among distros: mount root first and later a mount -o binding.


NOTES:
* Don't use all the disk space on the first OS installation if you plan to install later Windows XP or another Linux. A thorough plan allways worth the time.
* If you install windows after linux, you will not be able to boot Linux because microsoft overwrites the MBR. google for solutions on this.
* Take your time for backup your bookmarks, documents, email before.
* Don' fear. If you decide to go back to windows its easy. (Insert CD, delete all partitions you made, create one NTFS partition with the whole disk and install)
* Download and keep a Linux Live CD. Test it before. In case you mess everyting and need to search for help on The Internet while you are installing, use it for surfing.



Hope it helps
Sorry for the mistakes / misspelling.
 
Old 04-08-2008, 02:18 PM   #11
marquardl
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Fedora upgrade

Quote:
I have FEDORA 8 installed, how can I install FEDORA 9? I know upgrading causes problems that is why a "clean install" is always recommended.
I don't know where these myths come from. I have successfully upgraded Fedora versions using 'yum upgrade'. Even on this site there have been reports of people doing upgrades starting from Fedora 1 up until Fedora 8 on a running web server without problems. Only thing needed is a reboot to launch the next new release.

You have to install for 'yum' the repository data of the new Fedora release and than initiate the upgrade.

Bye,
M

Linux Archive

Last edited by marquardl; 05-01-2008 at 02:41 AM.
 
  


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