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Old 05-18-2008, 05:50 AM   #1
BobNutfield
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Share /home on a laptop dual boot with another Linux


Hello Everyone,

I know this has been asked and answered a number of times here on this forum and other places, but I just want to ask if anyone has experience with doing what I plan to do on my laptop.

I have a Toshiba A210 with a 160GB hard drive and I have Ubuntu Hardy currently installed with the following partitioning:

/ 20GB
/home 20GB
swap 2GB
Unpartitioned 100GB

The question I have, and have read a number of conflicting opinions about, is the sharing of the same /home partition between distros. Unbuntu Hardy performs terribly on this laptop, but I have had it since the beginning and thought I might as well continue to work with it hoping it will get better as Hardy matures. So I want to install another distro, possibly Debian or Slackware, along side on the free space. I only want to use the free space and not bother with creating any additional logical partitions (since I can only have 4 primary partitions). I know that sharing the swap partition is no problem, but sharing the /home partition is something many don't recommend because of conflicting config files that reside there for the different distros.

Does anyone have any experience with this, and if so, what problems am I likely to encounter by sharing the same /home partition between either Debian or Slackware?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Bob
 
Old 05-18-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
Randux
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Bob, you should be able to share /home across distros but you should have a good backup plan in case something goes wrong and you lose your home directory. The only problems I can think of are if you've got config files for apps running different versions as you've mentioned. Then you might not be able to have everything work without having copies of config files on /home for the user who needs that app. The question is what do you gain with one /home?

Primary partitions are not a reason not to install a great lot of distros or have /home for each one. There's nothing in Linux that needs a primary partition. I've 7 or 8 Linux running on this box along with 3 BSD and only the BSD get a primary partition. If you messed up and created 4 primaries then it might even be sensible to back up your whole drive and repartition for a more flexible system. No need to box yourself in with bad partition planning or keep driving down a dead end road because of one mistake. Just fix the real problem and get back to work.

If you've got the disk space, it really will probably work much better indeed if you set up a full system for each distro.

Last edited by Randux; 05-18-2008 at 06:22 AM.
 
Old 05-18-2008, 06:45 AM   #3
BobNutfield
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Thanks, Randux, for your reply.

Actually, I currently only three partitions on this drive with about 100GB free. Rethinking my post, I guess my question was pretty silly given I have so much free space. I can install the second distro on the free space and not worry about sharing a /home partition, and the new distro will probably pick up the swap which is already there.

I really just wanted to add a second distro which will be more responsive to this hardware. As I said, Ubuntu Hardy is performing very erratically and slow on this laptop, but it is slowly getting better as updates come along (IMO, it was released in a very unstable state.)

I know that I am going to have a hard time getting Debian or Slackware to work with all the newer hardware I have in this laptop, but if it gives me a quick, snappy system, I am willing to go through the pain.

Regards

Bob
 
Old 05-18-2008, 04:16 PM   #4
onebuck
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNutfield View Post
<snip>

I know that I am going to have a hard time getting Debian or Slackware to work with all the newer hardware I have in this laptop, but if it gives me a quick, snappy system, I am willing to go through the pain.

Regards

Bob
I don't think you will have major problems with SlackwareŽ 12.1. You can look at another LQ members experience with the Toshiba Laptop with SlackwareŽ 12.

BTW, you could always create a extended partition with the remaining HDD space then you can create logical partitions for your new installations.
 
Old 05-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #5
bigrigdriver
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It's seems to me that you should be able to use the same /home partition across distros without problems, with two exceptions: don't use the same user name in any two distros that you have installed.

(If you have a different user name for each distro, then your personal config files in the user's home folder won't interfere with the config files in another user's folder.)

The second exception: In each distro you install, mske sure you select the /home partition to be the same filesystem in each distro (ext2, ext3, reiserFS, or whatever), and DON'T FORMAT /home.

Switching filesystems from one type to another as you boot one or another distro can't be good for /home.

Last edited by bigrigdriver; 05-18-2008 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 05-18-2008, 05:58 PM   #6
BobNutfield
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Thanks, guys for all of the replies. Thanks, onebuck, for the link and I had already read this one and had actually posted to it right after I got the laptop. At the time, Hardy was the only distro I could find that would recognize sound.

I think I have decided to give Slackware a shot. If I can get the 2.6.25 kernel installed in it, I might have everything working. I used Slackware about three years ago for about a year (Slack 10.1) and I really liked it. And, I remember the folks in Slackware forum active and helpful (not that those in the other forums aren't helpful, because they certainly are, particularly Debian and Fedora.)

I think I'll step over to the Slack forum and see if I can find any posts about the 2.6.25 kernel.

Thanks again for the help.

Bob
 
  


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