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Well, I'm trying to allow two distros on my computer, but have them share the same home directory. That way I won't have to keep email myself or put them on a USB device.
I'm trying this with Debian, and the other distro will be SuSe, Gentoo, and Ubuntu. I have already tried debian, and like it for the most part. So that second partition will be used to test other distros. If I like them, I can override the root partition, but keep all my files
So my question is, what do I label the second partition as? Should it be /boot, and then just edit menu.lst?
Oh, the reason why I have these separate partitions is to keep the programs separated too. Putting them on the same partition may cause some issues between the programs on each with each distro unless they all the programs were installed from source.
Hmm... If all programs were installed from source, do you think I would be able to not have multiple partitions on my hdd, and just have the kernels of the distros in the same partition? Or is there more to a distro than just the modded kernel?
You can partition a hard disk and it will have a device name like /dev/hda2 with which you can mount in any Linux as your preferred /home.
The first 4 partition names hda1 to hda4 are reserved for the 4 primary partitions and all logical partitions start at the 5th position.
It is quite acceptable to put a Linux in a single partition, either a logical or a primary, so that if you don't like the distro you can reformat the partition and use the same location for another Linux.
Alternatively you can put as many Linux distros as you want into the hard disk. A Linux needs about 5 to 10Gb. All Linux are born to multi boot.
One thing! Sharing /home can be a pain if you use slightly different settings for you programs, which is likely as differnt distos will possibly put the bits in slightly differnt places, the config files might be differnt and get overwitten so programs might not work on the original install.
Either use a differnt username or don't use the same apps!
So should I just have one partition on my hard drive, have all my linux distros share everything, and just install from source instead of using the package management systems, or should I just keep everything separate and just figure out a way to transfer the files? I guess I could try mounting the other filesystems... Last time I tried that things got screwed up pretty badly...
You can share /boot, swap, and /home with any distribution. The / is the partition you should worry about. Keep the program version the same. It is easier to do with Gentoo but not with package based distribution like Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE. KDE, Gnome, Xfce4, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Wine, and several others can be shared with many distributions.
Just my bias, based on SOME experience.....
It does not sound like a good idea to share folders (directories) between distros. I agree that it should by possible, but WHY???
For example, the home directory (/home/username) typically has a buch of hidden configuration files that are specific to a distro.
I guess there's no issue in sharing a swap area......
What DOES make sense is to have a separate partition--better yet a separate drive---for all your data. This can be linked from all of your various OSes (including Windows if you make it FAT32)
Yeah, well if I'm going to have a completely separate partition for each distro, I might as well have a complete hdd for each distro. It's more efficient that way.
The reason I want to share the /home directory is because if I don't, I'll have to keep the other up to date, so I guess I could always mount the other partition or hard drive, and copy everything over. But since both are going to have the same stuff anyway, might as well just have them share. Saves up space, doesn't it?
And the issue of the configurations has crossed my mind, but for the most part, they should have the same things, right? Most of those configurations belong to the other programs. Evolution will still be able to access /home/.evolution and should theoretically work the same way. That goes for all the other programs as well.
And then I continued thinking, well the system configurations could carry over, ingore what they can't interpret, or return an error. But how much of the configurations belong to the actual system? Most belong to the installed programs, like bash, gaim, evolution, gnome2, mozilla firefox, X, etc. Then I realized, between each version there could be slight changes due to the feature changes and stuff.
However, with Debian I might just manage everything from source anyway because everything packaged with Debian is quite old, and it seems they're going to be stuck back for a while because of all the migrations they are doing, which is going to be further delayed because people are now pushing for GNOME 2.12, which they plan to migrate to 2.10 first to make it easier on the developers.
Then I thought well, since Debian will be managed from source, and Gentoo pretty much manages programs from source, I might as well just manage everything from source. At that point, is it really necessary to have multiple partitions with the same programs? I might as well just scrap all partitions, make two partitions (MBR and the whole system), and have the kernel from all the distros in the same place.
But then this got me thinking, would doing that ruin my experience with each distro? Cuz I'd essentially keep the whole system, but the way linux ran would vary from distro to distro. On top of that, I don't get to see the native theme, which isn't really important anyway.
Now, I've been further thinking, maybe I should just keep the /home partition so I have something to work with when I test out Gentoo, SuSe, and Ubuntu. However, I give each distro their own partition so I won't ruin the whole experience.
I just wanna test out several distros to see which one I like. Then later on, I might create my own distro. That most likely won't happen for several reasons though including time and effort needed that I may not have. If I can settle on one distro, that'd be great. If not, then I'll have to resort to chugging out my own distro. Before I get to that point, I think I might just settle back to Fedora.
I'll probably have to check out the less known distros as well. Debian is great because of its stability and speed, but it's really behind in its software. Fedora is extremely good because of its bleeding edge software support, but it's not very stable, and not very fast either.
So my goal is to basically find a distro that suits me, and I'm just trying to figure out my plan to go around it.
A partition for gentoo, this is my main distro and also has a partition for /bin and /home
A swap partition, this is shared between everything.
Music and random data partitions.
A partition with ubuntu ON ITS OWN.
This setup means my main system is not affected by installing other OSs but I can play about with other gear if I want to. Keeping them as discreat entities, only sharing swap, means that BOTH are safe from config file confusion. And if I want to save something in the /home dir on the other install I just mount that partition. *shrug*
I think your trying to preserve data in a way that will in the end possibly cause more data loss.
I would recomend you chose a distro you are comfortable with, if not perfect, to keep sacred when your messing around, then if you cock up the other you can still go back to a working install to sort out the problem.
Well, either way, how would go about setting up the other partition? Last time I partitioned everything with Debian, then I told Fedora to use whatever was left over. When I do it with Ubuntu, it's not going to allow me to use the free space (at least I don't think). I know I can't have to root partitions.
Also, why would you have a /home partition if you weren't going to use it?
My experience: I shared a /home part b/tw two distros, with some nasty results... nothing unfixable, but annoying as hell -- some configs constantly overwrote each other (or used the wrong configs), accessing programs that were in different locations depending on the distro, etc... all in all, a very high maintenence configuration. My suggestion, have a /home/docs mounted partition that is shared between the different distros, add it to your fstab, and anything you want to be persistent, place there (and symbolic links from the parent /home dir can keep certain configs persistent, as well)