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Old 08-02-2005, 09:41 AM   #1
Registered: May 2003
Location: Oslo, Norway
Distribution: Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Posts: 657

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two dists, shared /home partition


First of all, this is my first thread in two years on I've been using LQ a reference for a few years now, and must say I'm impressed with the forum.

I want to set up a dual boot system with Debian (sarge) and Mandriva (10.2), but with a shared /home partition. This way I'll be able to access my files regardless of which system I fancy at boot time.

One approach i tried was to install Mandriva the usual way, but leaving space for a 7 GB Debian partition. Also, I created two partitions, one for swap(say, hda2) and one for home (say, hda3). Then, when I installed Debian, I set the mount point for home to hda3, and the mount point for swap to hda2. The / was installed to the 7 GB partition.

This worked out fine, except for one thing: In Debian, only root was able read and write the the /home partition.

Is this the proper way for creating the dual boot system I described above? If so, what should I do next to get this working?

Last edited by kenneho; 08-02-2005 at 09:47 AM.
Old 08-02-2005, 09:54 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: May 2005
Distribution: Ubuntu with IceWM
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The separate /home partition has to be separate for both distros--it can't be mounted just for Debian. Both Debian and Mandrake have to mount it as /home.

Maybe I'm misreading your post, but that's what I see as the problem.
Old 08-02-2005, 10:08 AM   #3
Registered: May 2003
Location: Oslo, Norway
Distribution: Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Posts: 657

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 40
Thanks for the reply, aysiu!

I didn't quite understand your reply...

I did get Mandriva and Debian to mount the same partition as /home: Whan I installed Debian, I set the mount point for /home to the same
/home partition as Mandriva uses.

My HD partitions looks something like this:
| Mandriva | Swap | /home | Debian |

Both dists mounts the same swap- and home partitions, except Debian is not able to read or write the /home partition unless I become root.
Old 08-02-2005, 10:28 AM   #4
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Wellington, NZ
Distribution: mainly slackware
Posts: 1,291

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It may be a uid/gid problem; check your /etc/passwd and /etc/group files in mandriva and debian to see if the numbers tally up, for example:

in /etc/passwd:
in /etc/group:
edit: or simply "ls -al /home" and see if the owners and groups match.

Last edited by Tuttle; 08-02-2005 at 10:29 AM.
Old 08-02-2005, 10:41 AM   #5
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Scotland
Distribution: Anything that'll install...
Posts: 305

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In my experience of multibooting, it's best to set up a seperate data partition to keep your stuff like documents, oggs etc on. The problem with sharing a /home partition between distros (in addition to ownership) is that often they will have different versions of software. Take KDE for example: the configuration files often change between revisions, and it can cause much confusion between distros overwriting eachother.

I've found it best to create a seperate partition for my data, and just symlink to it from the /home/mugstar directory under each installed distro. (You do need to make certain you use the same username and UID).
Old 08-03-2005, 03:25 AM   #6
Registered: May 2003
Location: Oslo, Norway
Distribution: Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Posts: 657

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 40
Thanks for the replies.

I think I'll go for keeping the shared files on one separate partition, as I did when I had a MS Windows/Linux dual boot. That way I shouldn't
have problem with system files overwriting each other.


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