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Old 03-30-2006, 03:41 PM   #1
smgregory
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multiple distros on one machine


Hi All,

Starting out in Linux, I have SUSE running on my main machine; however, I have a "play" machine on which I would like to install multiple distros so that I can play with different aspects of Linux. I would like to place 3 or 4 distros on one 40G HD. My question is how to set up the partitioning...should I partition via the different distros installers, via DOS FDISK, via ??? Any thoughts or guidelines to follow (for ex, each 10G partition should have XX GB for /root partition, XX GB for ???).

Thanks
 
Old 03-30-2006, 03:44 PM   #2
masonm
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Just use fdisk, or cfdisk to set up your partitions for the various distros. They can share a swap.
 
Old 03-30-2006, 03:47 PM   #3
Dragineez
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Linux One, DOS Zero

He means the Linux fdisk, not the DOS one. I believe you can share /boot, /swap, and /home. There is a good GRUB How-To in the Linux Tutorials section.
 
Old 03-30-2006, 10:49 PM   #4
smgregory
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Since I will be starting the machine fresh is there a Linux boot disc that I can create, much like the Win 98 boot disk that is often used to FDISK a Win machine?
 
Old 03-30-2006, 11:01 PM   #5
masonm
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Yeah, check out the Slackware disks. You should be able to boot and have the tools available.

If you're talking 3.5" diskettes, make the first two: boot and install. If CDROM, the first one is plenty.

The Slack disk provides the fdisk/cfisk tools needed to set up your partitions.

One word of advice, I wouldn't share a /home between different distros as various apps store config files in home and sometimes different versions of apps included with different distros have slightly different config file layouts. It doesn't happen often, but once in a while it can be a problem. Easier to copy the configs ya want from one to another.

You can always create an extra partition for shared files. Some will say that sharing /home has never created a problem for them, but in my own experience it can sometimes cause a problem.
 
Old 03-30-2006, 11:04 PM   #6
2damncommon
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Quote:
I have a "play" machine on which I would like to install multiple distros
Personally I would keep the partition plan simple.
1. Linux Swap (primary partition), shared for all distros
2. (extended primary partition), contains logical partitions
A. Distro 1 / (logical partition)
B. Distro 2 / (logical partition)
C. Distro 3 / (logical partition)
D. Distro 4 / (logical partition)

I like to partition with cfdisk. DamnSmallLinux and Knoppix both have cfdisk, I think. Debian Woody install floppies had cfdisk, haven't checked Sarge floppies.

You should be able to partition all or part of your drive with the first distro you install if you use the advanced or expert partitioning option.
 
Old 03-31-2006, 12:09 AM   #7
PipeDreams
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I have used the mandriva partitioning utility for all of my multiboot setups and I havent had a problem so far.Its found on disk 1 of3 of the mandriva 2006 disc set.

Like 2 damncommon said"keep it simple".I have used the mandy part utility since I started linux so thats all I know.(except fdisk for win98 but I'm trying to forget).

The easiest way I have found to do it is install mandy first.Let its GRUB (V0.97)write the MBR and keep it there.

Install the other distros to a single partition and have them write their bootloader to the root partition NOT the MBR.Then just edit mandrivas /boot/grub/menu.lst file to have Mandrivas GRUB chainload the distro using its own bootloader.I usually pre partition my drives and write an empty menu.lst to save time later on.Check out this tutorial by a multiboot guru http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showt...hreadid=143973

After Mandriva the easiest distros I found to install this way(you wouldnt even believe me if I told you how many I've burned and tried) were slax live cd,kate 2.2,all mandy distros from 10.1 up,ubuntu,puppy linux,DSL,feather,rubix,mepis and if you want to see/make a georgeous wm check out ELive.It uses the new enlightenment wm.

Below are my part.scheme and current menu.lst(of mandy 2006x64) if that will help any...Have fun,I know I do.

<output>fdisk -l
Disk /dev/hdc: 82.3 GB, 82348277760 bytes
240 heads, 63 sectors/track, 10637 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 15120 * 512 = 7741440 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdc1 * 1 2709 20480008+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hdc2 2710 7853 38888640 5 Extended
/dev/hdc5 2710 5417 20472448+ 83 Linux
/dev/hdc6 5418 6229 6138688+ 83 Linux
/dev/hdc7 6230 7041 6138688+ 83 Linux
/dev/hdc8 7042 7853 6138688+ 83 Linux

Disk /dev/hdd: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdd1 * 1 1019 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd2 1020 9425 67521195 5 Extended
/dev/hdd5 1020 2038 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd6 2039 3057 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd7 3058 4076 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd8 4077 5095 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd9 5096 6114 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd10 6115 7133 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd11 7134 8152 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd12 8153 9171 8185086 83 Linux
/dev/hdd13 9172 9425 2040223+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris

kate /boot/grub/menu/lst
timeout 10000
color black/cyan yellow/cyan
shade 1
viewport 3 2 77 22
splashimage (hd0,4)/boot/grub/mdv-grub_splash.xpm.gz
default 0

title Mandriva x64
kernel (hd0,4)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hdc5 resume=/dev/hdd13 splash=silent vga=788
initrd (hd0,4)/boot/initrd.img

title BibleTime
root (hd0,6)
chainloader +1

title PCLinux P92 Nvidia
root (hd1,7)
chainloader +1

title OS X
root (hd1,6)
chainloader +1

title XPee
root (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

title Slackware 10.2
root (hd1,9)
chainloader +1

title Fedora Core 5
root (hd1,4)
chainloader +1

title Centos 4.3 x64
root (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

title ELive
root (hd1,11)
chainloader +1

title rPath 1.0.1
root (hd1,8)
chainloader +1

title Slax
root (hd1,5)
chainloader +1

title Mandy 10.1
root (hd1,10)
chainloader +1

title memtest-1.60
kernel (hd0,4)/boot/memtest-1.60.bin
 
Old 03-31-2006, 07:34 AM   #8
smgregory
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This is EXACTLY what I needed...thanks so much for everyone's help...last tiny question: any thoughts/guidelines on the linux/swap (which is shared) partition?

Thanks!!
 
Old 03-31-2006, 07:11 PM   #9
PipeDreams
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Sorry for the delay in response.
Swap partitions hmmmm.
I have 1 on my hdd.Its a 2GB partition(twice my physical ram).I made it with the mandriva part. utility.I dont think it matters where it is.

Most of the distros I've installed has found it and always asks if i want the installer to format it also.I always say sure?

Some distros dont even ask if I have or want a swap partition.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think a swap is for a system with low memory so the distro can use the hd swap partition as ram if it has to.

I try to install some sort of system monitor on every distro I try and honestly I dont think I have ever seen anything I do use the first bit of the swap?Maybe I just dont run anything that requires a lot of ram?

I do think you should have one lying around just in case tho.
 
Old 03-31-2006, 08:56 PM   #10
2damncommon
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Generally, I would be thinking
64MB RAM and less, double or quadruple for swap.
128MB-256MB RAM, double for swap.
512MB-1GB RAM, equal to or half for swap.
Actual decision would depend on intended usage and prior experiences.
 
  


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