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This is my first post here, I usually find a lot of help on this website even though I wasn't registered. But now I need to ask a specific question so I had to register.
I installed suse on my 250GB sata drive. During the installation I created 3 partitions with file system Resier and one swap partition. So a total of 4.
However I still have about 225GB free. I tried to install other distro's and when I tried to use their partitioner I couldn't create new partitions. I looked up for an answer online and I found some information that said I couldn't have more then 4 partitions on a hard drive.
Now is that true? and if it is, how can I modify my partition table and merge all the paritions in one partition and mount it on /?
right now that's how my partition table look like
partition file system mount point
1 reiser /boot
3 reiser /
4 reiser /var
Here are a few things that I have found useful. (They are also pretty obvious, so please bear with me).
I have found that I can get 3 Primary partitions (usually /dev/xdx1 - 3 ) and 1 Extended partition usually (usually /dev/xdx4 ) per disk.
The most I have been able to divide the Extended partition is into 11 partitions (/dev/xdx5 - 15 ). After that, the problem you described starts happening.
(If anyone has gotten more on a disk, I would be interested to know the layout/method used).
Keep in mind that all distros can share the same Swap partition.
With a little bit of imagination you can also share a /home.
Symbolic links (ln -s /path/to/source /path/to/target ) can be very useful.
Remember that partitions can only be reworked if they are not mounted. Using a live distro (i.e. SystemRescueCD et al) is useful.
(dev designations can be /dev/sda,b, . . . or /dev/hda,b, . . . and maybe other things I haven't come across which is why /dev/xdx is used above)
syg00's advice to backup is important to consider.
Thank you all for helping and sorry for replying late. This is the output from fdisk -l.
So are you guys saying that a maximum of three distros can share one hard drive? is that right? And if that's the case how can I fix the mess I have right now?
Disk /dev/sda: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000ab6a3
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 2 26 200812+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 27 548 4192965 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3 549 3159 20972857+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 3160 3420 2096482+ 83 Linux
Historically the partition table comes from DOS - and is somewhat limited. Various workarounds have evolved.
The classic partition table only has room for 4 entries - these are the "primary" partitions. To use more than 4, one of the primaries must be deleted, and an extended partition created (note I didn't say "converted"). This extended partition is merely a container inside which logical partitions are allocated. Some care still needs be taken to ensure space is still usable - for example if you were to delete /dev/sda2 (the swap) and replace it with an extended, you would be no better off. For you to get access to the space from cylinder 3421 to 30401 you'll need to (at least) delete /dev/sda4 and create an extended that occupies the entire (free) space. Then allocate (logical) partitions as you need them.
Note that Linux does not require any primary partitions at all - this is contrary to much of what you will see on the net which is written based on Windozw/DOS limitations.
Ok, so how do I change the mounting of the folder /var to be in sd3 then so I can delete sd4 and repartition the free space? And based on the fact that linux doesn't require any primary partitions does that mean I can have as many distros on one hard drive as I want??
That would be saikee - prior to the change of the disk driver no doubt. I would expect the SCSI limit (15 ?) to apply nowadays but I haven't bothered to check.
For the OP, a reinstall might be best - fiddling with partition can be done, but is just messy.
Yes and no. Could happen to everyone basically. Suppose you were remuxing a DVD in /home, or better: troubleshooting something really innocuous, say nscd at debug level three, and you forgot about that for a couple of days. Since nscd logs a lot, if you fill a separate /var things will die unexplicably (Apache for instance) or spit out warnings (any good example?) but you'll still be able to work the system to some extent. If you fill your / then you might not even be able to log in the next time.