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Old 02-01-2008, 10:48 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Slackware 12.2, 13.0, openSUSE 11.2
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Debian and Slackware Dual Boot - Which to Install First?

I am contemplating setting up a dual boot system on one of my computers that would have both Debian 4.0 and Slackware 12 on it. I was just wondering which distribution should I install first to avoid too many problems for this. I know that Debian uses grub by default, and I am not certain that, if I installed Slackware first, whether the grub boot loader installed by Debian would "see" Slackware and automatically add an entry to the boot menu. Any suggestions on this are appreciated.
Old 02-01-2008, 11:26 AM   #2
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: East coast, USA
Distribution: Slackware 12.0
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I have been running Slackware exclusively for several months, and just yesterday added Debian. I am currently upgrading Debian stable to testing.

Months ago, I installed LILO to the MBR and also the Slackware partition. I plan to chainload LILO from Debian's GRUB, which is now in the MBR.

The reason I'm doing this is because the Debian installer surprisingly detected Slackware and suggested adding it to GRUB, but it later gave me a kernel panic when I booted into Slackware.

So, that's my suggestion: Slackware first; LILO to the partition; then Debian and its GRUB to the MBR; modify Debian's GRUB to boot Slack's LILO.

If you're not familiar with it, chainloading is easy. Just be careful with the partition values - i.e., the first partition is called 0 in GRUB, the second is called 1, etc.

title Slackware 12.0
root (hdx,x)
rootnoverify (hdx,x)
chainload +1
Edit: Given that you already have Slackware installed, it would be easier to just install Debian on SUSE's partition. There's no need to re-install Slackware. Debian's GRUB may or may not pick up Slackware, but you can just modify its /boot/grub/menu.lst after it's installed.

Last edited by AtomicAmish; 02-01-2008 at 11:34 AM.
Old 02-01-2008, 12:52 PM   #3
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I'd suggest the other way around -debian first then slackware. GRUB is much easier to setup and use for multi-boot than lilo. But, if yuo are more familiar with setting up lil, then install slackware first and then debian. Neither bootloader will 'automatically' see the other distro and create an entry for you, but grub is much easier. You could even mount the partition where the grub menu.lst file is after installing slackware and before rebooting to add the entry for the new slackware installation.
Old 02-01-2008, 02:24 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Slackware 12.2, 13.0, openSUSE 11.2
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AtomicAmish, the computer that I wish to dual boot with Debian and Slackware only has Slackware 11 installed currently. I have SuSE (well, multiple SuSE installations anyway) on other systems. I actually prefer LILO, so if I installed either one and then just used this bootloader, I should be able to add the required entries accordingly. The only concern that I would have would be that I am not too familiar with Debian's structure needed to boot, such as initrd entries and such. What I can possibly do is take the existing lilo.conf file on the machine which currently has Slack 11 on it and then compare it to the lilo.conf file on the system once Debian and Slackware are installed. I believe that there is an option during Debian setup to specify to use LILO instead of grub, so I'll see what happens. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Old 02-01-2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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As suggested above, use chainloading - means you get two loader menus, but you can always hide them or use short time-outs.
Put whatever you are most comfortable with in the MBR, then do the other install(s) with the loader they ship installed to the partition.
Then just chainload - no need to worry about (and continually update) boot-loader entries.

Old 02-03-2008, 06:07 AM   #6
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Probably too late, but this describes what worked for me.
Old 02-03-2008, 11:00 AM   #7
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Distribution: Slackware 12 Kernel 2.6.24 - probably upgraded by now
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Then just chainload - no need to worry about (and continually update) boot-loader entries.

I second this .... only if everyone did this, half of the booting problems wouldn't come. Whenever you install a new distro , don't let it touch your mbr, and ask it to install its bootloader to the root partition.
Old 02-05-2008, 06:26 AM   #8
Registered: Apr 2007
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Distribution: Slackware11&14.1
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Hi all,

Would someone mind explaining the chain load a little more explicitly.

My situation is like this.
On one of my machines I have Slackware 12 default installation
lilo mbr hda1. Works fine.

On hdb1 I have been building embedded clfs x86.
Embedded clfs is still under development and the bootloader section is
left to the readers imagination. So I dont have one but would like to
use grub.

At first I would like to boot my build from Slackware.
Then boot itself.

Can I boot from Slackware without a bootloader in embedded?
Must I mount embedded somewhere in Slackware?
What would lilo stanza look like?

I have read a lot about booting a system called "other" from lilo but not much
about a Linux system.

Old 02-05-2008, 07:15 AM   #9
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Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: Slackware 12 Kernel 2.6.24 - probably upgraded by now
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install grub to the mbr of hdb.

lilo entry would look like
label="Second HDD - embedded linux "
grub would just boot the linux in the embedded system
title embedded
root (hd1,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hdb1
root (hd1,0) for hdb1.


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