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-   -   Quintuple boot with Slackware 10.2 and other Linux distros? (

sebajo 03-31-2007 10:50 AM

Quintuple boot with Slackware 10.2 and other Linux distros?
I am trying to quintuple boot my system with the following OS's:
  • Slackware 10.2
  • Ubuntu Edgy Eft 6.1
  • Fedora Core 5
  • Gentoo 2006.1
  • Windows XP Pro
I am capable of installing a triple boot system; had that when I had Solaris 10 6/06, Fedora 5, and Windows XP. Now, I want to install the above distros and be able to boot them all. I have my reasons for a quintuple system. I want Slack for developer work (compiling, programming, etc.), Fedora for KDE testing and general purpose, Ubuntu for GNOME testing and general purpose, and then Gentoo for Beta/Alpha testing programs. I have all the partition set up for everything like this:

sebajo@ubuntu:~$ fdisk -l
Disk /dev/hda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

  Device Boot      Start        End      Blocks  Id  System
/dev/hda1  *          1        1649    13245561    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda2            1650        1650        8032+  4  FAT16 <32M
/dev/hda3            1651      13399    94373842+  7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda4          13400      19457    48660885    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/hda5          13400      13413      112423+  83  Linux
/dev/hda6          13414      13675    2104483+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/hda7          13676      15121    11614963+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8          15122      16035    7341673+  83  Linux
/dev/hda9          16036      16949    7341673+  83  Linux
/dev/hda10          16950      17863    7341673+  83  Linux
/dev/hda11          17864      19457    12803773+  7  HPFS/NTFS

It's all setup for me to install. I installed everything, choosing not to install a bootloader until I installed the last distro (Ubuntu). I installed in this order: XP, Slackware, Fedora, Ubuntu. I modified the menu.lst file Ubuntu gave me and set it up like this:

# menu.lst - See: grub(8), info grub, update-grub(8)
#            grub-install(8), grub-floppy(8),
#            grub-md5-crypt, /usr/share/doc/grub
#            and /usr/share/doc/grub-doc/.

## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not change this entry to 'saved' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
default                0

## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout                10

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)

# Pretty colours
#color cyan/blue white/blue

## password ['--md5'] passwd
# If used in the first section of a menu file, disable all interactive editing
# control (menu entry editor and command-line)  and entries protected by the
# command 'lock'
# e.g. password topsecret
#      password --md5 $1$gLhU0/$aW78kHK1QfV3P2b2znUoe/
# password topsecret

# examples
# title                Windows 95/98/NT/2000
# root                (hd0,0)
# makeactive
# chainloader        +1
# title                Linux
# root                (hd0,1)
# kernel        /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 ro

# Put static boot stanzas before and/or after AUTOMAGIC KERNEL LIST

## lines between the AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST markers will be modified
## by the debian update-grub script except for the default options below

## DO NOT UNCOMMENT THEM, Just edit them to your needs

## ## Start Default Options ##
## default kernel options
## default kernel options for automagic boot options
## If you want special options for specific kernels use kopt_x_y_z
## where x.y.z is kernel version. Minor versions can be omitted.
## e.g. kopt=root=/dev/hda1 ro
##      kopt_2_6_8=root=/dev/hdc1 ro
##      kopt_2_6_8_2_686=root=/dev/hdc2 ro
# kopt=root=UUID=9fdd23cc-de73-4c1f-a688-e80db8535a9d ro
# kopt_2_6=root=/dev/hda9 ro

## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
# groot=(hd0,4)

## should update-grub create alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. alternative=true
##      alternative=false
# alternative=true

## should update-grub lock alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. lockalternative=true
##      lockalternative=false
# lockalternative=false

## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
## alternatives
## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
# defoptions=quiet splash

## should update-grub lock old automagic boot options
## e.g. lockold=false
##      lockold=true
# lockold=false

## altoption boot targets option
## multiple altoptions lines are allowed
## e.g. altoptions=(extra menu suffix) extra boot options
##      altoptions=(recovery) single
# altoptions=(recovery mode) single

## controls how many kernels should be put into the menu.lst
## only counts the first occurence of a kernel, not the
## alternative kernel options
## e.g. howmany=all
##      howmany=7
# howmany=all

## should update-grub create memtest86 boot option
## e.g. memtest86=true
##      memtest86=false
# memtest86=true

## should update-grub adjust the value of the default booted system
## can be true or false
# updatedefaultentry=false

## ## End Default Options ##


title                Slackware 10.2
root                (hd0,6)
kernel                (hd0,4)/vmlinuz-ide-2.4.31 ro quiet

title                Slackware 10.2 (recovery mode)
root                (hd0,6)
kernel                (hd0,4)/vmlinuz-ide-2.4.31 ro single

title                Ubuntu 6.1, Edgy Eft
root                (hd0,4)
kernel                /vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/hda9 ro quiet splash
initrd                /initrd.img-2.6.17-10-generic

title                Ubuntu 6.1, Edgy Eft (recovery mode)
root                (hd0,4)
kernel                /vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/hda9 ro single
initrd                /initrd.img-2.6.17-10-generic

title                Fedora Core 5
root                (hd0,4)
kernel                /vmlinuz-2.6.15-1.2054_FC5 root=/dev/hda8 ro quiet

title                Fedora Core 5 (recovery mode)
root                (hd0,4)
kernel                /vmlinuz-2.6.15-1.2054_FC5 root=/dev/hda8 ro single

title                MemTest86+
root                (hd0,4)
kernel                /memtest86+.bin


# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title                Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/hda1
title                Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root                (hd0,0)
chainloader        +1

I boot with GRUB and it shows me the menu and it looks fine. However, when I chose Slackware 10.2, it gave me some kmod modules it couldn't load, all of the scsi modules. I thought, fine, I have no USB or SCSI disks, so I'm set. Then it spits this Kernel Panic at me:

Unable to mount Root FS on 03:06
Don't know what that means, so I tried Fedora. It looks like it boots fine, but it says it uncompressed the kernel and then rebooted. So, know, Ubuntu is the only one besides XP that boots. So my question is...Can Someone Help Me Set All Of This Up? Please?

PS: if a mod thinks this is in the wrong forum, sorry didn't know where to put it. Slackware is my main distro, so I thought I'd put it here. Sorry again.

jiml8 03-31-2007 12:18 PM

You have Ubuntu and Fedora both pointing to the same root partition when they initialize.

Ubuntu (debian) and Fedora (redhat) are very different in how they handle...well...a lot of things.

Even though you are specifying a new root when you load your kernel, I would bet that you are not getting the right initrd.img for each different kernel.

You have slack starting with a different root partition, but then you are pointing it at the same partition as the others to pick up its kernel, and not specifying an initrd.img for it.

Only your ubuntu installation specifies an initrd to use - and it is probably no coincidence therefore that ubuntu is the only distro that starts.

I would think that you would do better to specify a different /boot for each distro. If nothing else, this would make upgrades easier; as you have configured it, I'll bet most installers get confused on upgrades.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-31-2007 12:22 PM

why not install GNOME and KDE on slack ? it would save all this trouble ...

sebajo 03-31-2007 12:47 PM

I am not a n00b, but I don't really get the GRUB thing. I've been using Linux extensively for the past year or so. I only use XP if there is no other way with Linux.

@jiml8: I was going for a shared /boot partition so that I wouldn't have to mount three or four different partitions to do a kernel upgrade; just update everything with one distro. If it's going to screw things up, I may reconsider giving one of my distros back 100M! :)

@H_TeXMeX_H: My ISP has a 12GB download limit for 30 days, including web browsing. It may seem like a lot, but downloading the ISO's took a lot, plus a 1.5GB download for Encyclopodia (Wikipedia on your iPod). I spend a long time on the internet, and so it makes more sense to me to use what I already have, than get more.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-31-2007 01:44 PM

For the slackware entry shouldn't it be something like this:


# Linux bootable partition config begins
  title Linux on (/dev/hda1)
  root (hd0,0)
  kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 ro vga=normal
# Linux bootable partition config ends

compare that to yours


title                Slackware 10.2
root                (hd0,6)
kernel                (hd0,4)/vmlinuz-ide-2.4.31 ro quiet

might wanna add the part in red

jiml8 03-31-2007 01:53 PM


Originally Posted by sebajo
@jiml8: I was going for a shared /boot partition so that I wouldn't have to mount three or four different partitions to do a kernel upgrade; just update everything with one distro. If it's going to screw things up, I may reconsider giving one of my distros back 100M! :)

I don't think you can do this. Reason is that, although all the kernels are compiled from the same code they aren't compiled the same way, and every distro seems to need something a bit different in initrd.img. Result is that initrd.img seems to need to match the particular kernel.

I got into this a bit while working with pxe, and although I am not convinced that you "can't" do what you want to do, I am pretty sure it will be quite difficult to make it work.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-31-2007 02:11 PM

I agree ... it's not a good idea. But, who knows, maybe it'll work somehow.

sebajo 03-31-2007 06:24 PM

So...would just changing the names of the initrd.img file to something else and then reflecting the change in the menu.lst file work? If I don't get this idea working, I'm going to remove the /boot partition and then re-install everything. I recently upgraded my hard drive (from a 12GB and an 80GB to a 160GB), so I had to clone XP and I lost Linux. If I hadn't upgraded my hard drive, then I was going to do all this on my 200GB external USB hard drive. THAT would have been a hell of a lot harder, my friends!

jiml8 03-31-2007 06:28 PM


Originally Posted by sebajo
So...would just changing the names of the initrd.img file to something else and then reflecting the change in the menu.lst file work?

It might work, so long as the right initrd.img is matched with the right kernel. Without rooting through your system in detail I can't say for sure. There will also be a lot of issues with /etc, but I presume that you have an appropriate /etc on each partition for each distro.

What I can say for sure is that if you don't match the right initrd.img to the right kernel, it won't work.

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