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Old 08-24-2005, 08:43 AM   #1
DefRay
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Registered: Aug 2005
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Distribution: Debian sid
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triple booting - win/linux/freebsd


hi,

I'd like to have your advice/experience on the following:

I plan on building a triple-boot system with the following OSes (don't start flaming please !) :
1) WinXP (there's just certain programs I can't miss, also certain games I'd like to play from time to time, which kept me from going linux-only yet)
2) Arch Linux (or perhaps Gentoo or Slack, haven't completely decided yet)
3) FreeBSD (wanted to try that one too)

so, there'll be obviously some issues concerning copying/mounting between those and also the booting itself.

I plan on using ext2/3 for linux (because there's a driver enabling access to them for windows)

How's the compatibility of Linux with UFS1/2 (FreeBSD) and vice versa ?

is there a problem partitioning, because win and bsd need primary partitions, while I'd make some logicals for linux ... ?

I'd very much like to use ONE swap for linux and bsd ... should I put it in the BSD slice, or as a logical partition with my linux ?

how compatible are programs between bsd and linux, I heard many run on both systems, at least after compiling them myself ?

finally, which bootloader ? I read grub can't handle UFS2 yet, so I thought of GAG, but I'd still have to install grub only as the linux bootloader, right ? Or I just install FreeBSD on UFS1, that would solve this problem I think ...


hope you can help me ....


At the moment I'm dual-booting Win2k (on FAT32) and Debian (ReiserFS) without problems, though without Windows-access on Debian (which is perhaps just right like that).
In general I'll try making linux my main OS of the three and more and more switch to linux alternatives of certain win-programs, so at least there shouldn't be any problems on the linux side ...

thx


oh, and also post your opinions on this setup, or on your experience with the distros I mentioned (especially if Arch is a good choice or why I should use another one)
I just would like this setup to work and interact smoothly together, though I know Windows is the weaker link here, still ...

Last edited by DefRay; 08-24-2005 at 08:49 AM.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 09:43 AM   #2
satinet
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I have had a similar system to this and it worked without any problems.

I'm not sure about being able to read between a BSD slice and and Linux ext2/3 partition. I run reiserfs all the way so never tried it. Although i believe FreeBSD can work with ext2.

With regards to boot loaders, i found it better to put the bsd boat loader into the 1st block of the partition bsd is on then point grub/lilo to boot into that partition if you see what i mean. 2 boot loaders i know, but it worked fine for me.

not sure about bsd needing a primary partition. anyway, you can make upto 5 primaries so no problems there. BSD cannot use a linux swap i believe. i might be wrong though. hardly an issue though i think. Of course linux can load fine on logical partitions.

so all in all i think your setup will work fine.

Experiences. I like FreeBSD a lot, it's really fast and stable. That said it does take a little fine tuning, but the documentation is good on their website and there's plenty of stuff to google. You can run linux binaries using a kernel module in bsd. I forget what it's called. but bsd has ports of everything under the sun anyway. That said i never got my nvidia driver working properly. Although i didn't try that hard as i'm not a gamer.

Arch? sorry i never tried it. I'm a slackware user by choice and tradition.

XP? I get so frustrated with it on my work machine it's not true. Sigh. where to start. One think i love about linux desktops is that one programme doesn't cause the whole thing to go mental. Like in windoze where something doesn't respond and the whole thing freezes up for a while.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 10:50 AM   #3
archtoad6
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Disjointed comments, in no particular order:

Triple booting is fine, I have one that deca-boots. If you are going back & forth a lot, is there any chance you could consider VMWare for Linux? I am in the process of setting up an OS/2 - VirtualPC (pre-M$ purchase) to simulate a subnet for Samba play/learning.

Are you constrained to just 1 HD? With 2 you can put BSD on the 2nd & put its bootloader there (MBR), then chain to it from GRUB on the 1st. You can also arrange the swap partitions to be on different drives from their OS's.

The only reliable thing I now about FS compatiblity is that FAT32 is relatively universal.

OS choice: I now use only Debian or derivatives, but that's me.

I concur about making GRUB the main bootloader & pointing it to the bootloaders for both BSD & <mini-flame> <barf>XP</barf> </mini-flame> . I have several boxen set up in a similar way. In fact, GRUB in an MBR can chain to GRUB in a partition boot sector.

I have a BSD friend who swears by GAG, & you will not be exceeding its 9 OS limit. (It is still limited to 9, isn't it?)

Correction: There can be only 4 (four) primary partitions, & only one (any one) can (but does not have to) be an extended (containing logicals).

Sharing a swap partition between BSD & GNU/Linux is theoretically possible, I am told. Certainly there would be a certain economy & elegance in so doing. But in practice why bother w/ the size/price of modern HD's?
 
Old 08-24-2005, 12:14 PM   #4
satinet
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yes sorry 4 indeed.

2 disk are better than one. You know when i got rid of windows i moved my slackware date to /dev/hda1 - i.e the start of the disk and feel that it's a bit quicker now. maybe that's because it's nearer where the read head starts from. or maybe the cleansing experience made me feel better :-)

debian distro's are cool. Kudos on apt, but i am a BSD/slackware person myself. as you can see from my distro choices ;-)

i've heard a few bad things about arch to be honest. more the community than the distro. no flame please!

you can get support for debian and slack etc much easier....

yeah hard disk are so cheap it's crazy. 250gb will be my next.....
 
Old 08-25-2005, 02:09 AM   #5
DefRay
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thanks for the advice.... about the bootloader:

I thought of chainloading with 2 bootloaders (gag itself isn't a real bootloader, it needs grub/lilo in the linux partition I think), but as far as I know, grub has problems with UFS2, so even if I set it up to chainload the BSD boatloader, it will have to access the bsd slice which would be UFS2, don't know if it's possible...
As I said earlier, I think I'll just install it (BSD) on UFS1, no problems with grub then and a single bootloader ...

Well, at the moment I have 1 HDD, but I plan on going SATA-Raid sometime ... though I somehow prefer my OSes on one HDD (I could just switch the other one, temporarily putting in one of my friends for example and still boot my 3 OSes).

And the distros... I'm still not sure if it's gonna be Gentoo, Slack or Arch ... but then agian, I could try all 3

I thought VMware was commercial and quite expensive ? I was already playing a little with it (especially when I made a custom Live-Linux/Rescue-CD) but it's emulation, so I won't be able to profit from the great speed of the distros I named. No I think I'll settle on one sometime, just don't know which one yet.

Oh yeah, flaming on Windows is allowed =) I mainly thought of BSD when I wrote this.... we're in a Linux forum after all ... though from my experience Linux users are more respectful of BSD then vice versa.
 
Old 08-25-2005, 04:37 AM   #6
satinet
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i guess linux has taken over a lot of stuff from bsd. that said BSD is more advanced in some ways than linux. and less so in other ways...... i guess perfection would be a bit of both. it should be noted that linus only created linux because he couldn't afford BSD back in the day......... maybe it's sour grapes...
 
Old 08-26-2005, 03:32 PM   #7
archtoad6
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Quote:
Originally posted by DefRay
... I thought of chainloading with 2 bootloaders (gag itself isn't a real bootloader, it needs grub/lilo in the linux partition I think), but as far as I know, grub has problems with UFS2, so even if I set it up to chainload the BSD boatloader, it will have to access the bsd slice which would be UFS2, don't know if it's possible...
As a practical matter, as soon as you mix Win & Lin you must chainload; or use a bootmanager, such as GAG. Each bootloader, whether Win or Lin, only understands how to load its own OS. GRUB is a partial exception to this rule -- "GNU GRUB is a very powerful boot loader, which can load a wide variety of free operating systems, as well as proprietary operating systems with chain-loading" (GRUB Manual) -- but you still must decide which to put in control. So, either XP chains to Linux & BSD, Linux chains to XP & BSD, or you use one of GAG & its ilk. I know someone who can edit a boot.ini file as easily as I can do a menu.lst, but I don't think it's anywhere near as easy or well documented.

Let me say it again: unless you use GAG, you will be chaining bootloaders, the Q is only which one will be doing the chaining. Don't get hung up on this. I have a public demo box running close to 10 OS's where GRUB chains to BSD w/ no problems.
Quote:
Originally posted by DefRay
And the distros... I'm still not sure if it's gonna be Gentoo, Slack or Arch ... but then agian, I could try all 3
If you are going to install more than 1 Linux, but less than 10 total OS's, GAG may be exactly what you need. Put it in the MBR and ensure that each OS puts its own bootloader in its own partition.

BTW, I checked w/ our local BSD guru and the answer is BSD can't share swap space.

Quote:
Originally posted by DefRay
I thought VMware was commercial and quite expensive ?
But I hear it works. I also read something in Infoworld Wed. that seemed to say that hardware advances are going to facilitate OSS VM'ing in the near future.
 
Old 08-26-2005, 04:31 PM   #8
mugstar
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From my experience:

1. FreeBSD *must* be installed on a primary partition,

2. You can only have 4 primary partitions on one HDD, not 5,

3. You can compile a Linux kernel to be able to read ufs2, but write access is marked as experimental, IIRC.

Another good place to ask these questions would be at bsdforums.org
 
  


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