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I have a P4 with 3 HDs: one windows 2000(just in case), one divided 5 ways:
2 fat32, 2 ext2 (root and /usr,(Ubuntu Hardy)) and my swap, and one disk ext3 just for trying new distros (now Puppy4.0); that disk is tiny (2 Gb).
I want to continue using my Ubuntu-installed applications (like OpenOfffice), since I cannot install a whole lot on that drive, and besides I'm confortable with them. Is this possible ? So far, said apps executables have not been recognized...I am not quite sure I am even in the right directories with all those strange names like bin, usr, and proc (!)
come to think of it:
1- my complex mail configuration and Firefox goodies are important things to carry over into a new distro;
2- Am my reaching too far? Should I start with switching to something debian-based ,or with a same (Gnome) desktop, to ease the transition? Isn't it all Linux anyway?
3- where ARE my apps anyway?, if I have to reinstall them, will I be able to overwrite to the same directory, or will I have everything in double?
4-Once I'm done with a distro, will it quietly go with all its baggage, or will I be stuck with tons of laundry and dishes (yes, I'm a stay at home mom)
Hmmm...that should clarify my question(s). Thx for (any) answer!
Last edited by aviendha; 07-31-2008 at 08:01 PM.
Reason: clarify points
You can usually only use programs that you installed in one distro. If you have a separate /home partition then you can let other distros share it and keep all your settings. I think you should read more about how the linux filesystem is organized.
3. Your package manager keeps track off all your apps, so you don't have to worry about it usually
4. You can just format the partition and it will be gone
The easiest way would be to try to do so on a chroot.
It will not be a trivial task, though. So be warned.
You first need to mount your ubuntu partitions somewhere. For example:
mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/ubuntu/
mount /dev/hda2 /mnt/ubuntu/usr
Those are example lines, you should be able to addapt them to your real layout. Make sure /mnt/ubuntu (or whatever mount point you use) is a existing directory.
Then do this:
mount -obind /proc proc
mount -obind /sys sys
mount -obind /dev dev
mount -obind /tmp tmp
Then you are into ubuntu. Now you probably should use su to change to your regular user into ubuntu (operating as root is not a smart idea). It might also be a good idea to run any initialization scripts like /etc/profile (or maybe not, an ubuntu user might have a better insight on that).
In any case, you should be able to run the ubuntu stuff now. You might need to run one of these on the host installation (not in ubuntu, but your test distro) to be able to run X stuff:
Chrooting is not everything, imho. Unmounting something incorrectly can have serious consequences. But most importanly, I think it beats the purpose of testing another distro. It would be running the same thing on a different kernel.
Well after many weeks, crashes, new disks, hours of reading and most importantly, conquering my fear of "the command line", I can say I've come a bit of a way. In conclusion:
-keep your /home in a separate partition.
-most apps will work with most files anyway (ie Abiword or Writer or Word or whatnot will all work with your docs.) It's the "little extra effort" that makes linux so great.
- stick with one distro 'till your comfortable with linux itself then you can check out other distros, or maybe just desktops.