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TroN-0074 12-29-2011 10:49 AM

Looking for advices on partitioning my HD
Hi Linux users.
I have in mind setting up a dual boot with two Linux distros but I would like to have them sharing Home and swap.
So I am looking for advices on how to partition the HD
the size of the hard drive 120GB.
In the future I might be interested in squeeze a BSD installation too which I will be leaving a 30 GB for it

I dont know if I can segment the hard drive in more than four partitions. The tool I have in mind is Gparted

I will appreciate your advices.
Thank you

spiky0011 12-29-2011 11:17 AM


You can only have 4 primary partitions but you can have extended partitions within the primary partitions.

As for sharing Home it,s not a good idea it would be better to have each distro with it,s own home and a data partition shared between each distro.

Swap can be shared by each OS

JimBrewster 12-29-2011 11:24 AM

You can only have 4 primary partitions, but one of these can be an extended partition that can contain several logical partitions (the max # depends on disk type, but at least 11). This is in a simple "hard" partitioning scheme not considering options like LVM or RAID.

30 G seems like a lot to set aside for each OS root on a 120G drive if there is going to be a separate /home partition.

Another consideration is that different distributions' software can be incompatible when it comes to the config files in your home directory. I'm experimenting with workarounds for that problem. Each system has user jimb with the same uid, but only one uses /home/jimb on the home partition. The others have /home/jimb on the root partition, home partition is mounted on /home2, and /home/jimb/Data is a symlink to /home2/jimb. This way the user can access the same data without messing with the configurations. It's ugly but it works!

DavidMcCann 12-29-2011 11:26 AM

Two distros can share swap, because its only being used when it's being used, if you see what I mean. But it may be a bit risky to let them share /home. There's always the chance that you may have different versions of the same program that use different configuration files and so get confused. That's what you might call the received wisdom on the subject. In practice, I suspect nothing would go wrong, but I offer no guarantees!

BIOS only allows 4 partitions, but you can call one an extended partition and then create as many new ones as you like (called logical partitions) inside that. Luckily, Linux can boot from a logical partition: Windows and BSD can't.

P.S. 3 answers at once: it only happens at LQ!

Cedrik 12-29-2011 11:44 AM

If using more than one distro, maybe define one as primary distro, and others as secondaries

I mean install /, /boot, and swap partitions as primary partitions on the drive, for the main distro
(/boot at start, then swap and /)
Make extended partition for the 4th primary partition, and the rest as logical

Then install secondary distros in logical partitions

Just a thought, that's how I would do it but I am used to use just one distro...

TroN-0074 12-29-2011 12:02 PM

Thank you.
I am new to the world of UNIX like OSs so I thought to try a couple mainly with the purpose of learning. I understand there are .deb base distros and RPM base and ofcourse there is also the .tar.gz format
Probably installing each distro in its own partition is the easiest route here but I thought I could get more off my hardware by having them share common space.
Perhaps the two Linux distro in one big logical partition divided by two extended partition?

I know BSD uses its own format that is why I am thinking to allocate 30GB for the whole installation (BSD Home + Root)

Thank you, I really appreciate your advices.

DavidMcCann 12-30-2011 12:14 PM

There's not all that much difference, really. This shows how similar things look from the user's point of view:
Of course, if you were a programmer, putting a deb and an rpm together are two different things.

Looking at the various desktops or window managers is interesting. As you can see at this forum, we can get quite emotional over the merits (and otherwise) of KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Fluxbox, etc. You can install several at once in a single distro and select the one you want when you log in.

carvaDOS 12-30-2011 12:32 PM

to my knowledge until now, disk partition can only hold 4 primary partitions. so if the partition prijer not so necessary. you better be in the form of a logical partition. I installed LinuxMint use partition logic. I use the EPM (Easeus partition master) to repartition my hdd, please leave 100mb for swap space your hdd. in my computer I use 3 operating system. with 10GB of swap space. please download the EPM in

TroN-0074 01-01-2012 11:47 AM

Thank you for your advices. I was able to install FreeBSD in a primary partition set it up with KDE then I installed SlackWare in a logical partition 10 GB for its /root with Xfce and OpenSuSE in another 10GB logical partition for its /root with Gnome
The two Linux distros are sharing 2GB of swap and I wish they could share 30 GB for /home.
Its been a great learning experience doing this set up thank you to all who replied to this post.

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