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Old 03-29-2014, 07:21 AM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2008
Distribution: Crunchbang Waldorf, Arch
Posts: 23

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Best way to merge /home and / while keeping data on separate volume

I currently have a /home partition that is shared between two different distros. This is causing conflicts between local config files, so now I want to have my /home directory on the same volume as root, mount my data in /mnt/data (for example), and use symlinks in the user directories (e.g., /home/alanhr) to point to directories in /mnt/data that I wish to have commonly available between the two distros. I am having trouble figuring out the best way to merge /home and / while keeping my data on the separate partition.

Here is what I am thinking right now:
  • Login as root, perhaps in recovery mode.
  • Delete the existing user account.
    userdel alanhr
  • Unmount /home and remount it as /mnt/data.
  • Make a new /home directory.
  • Create a skeleton user account.
    useradd -m alanhr
  • Generate symlinks from /home/alanhr to /mnt/data.
  • Edit fstab so data partition is mounted to /mnt/data instead of /home.
  • Test and repeat for second distro.

I should add that I have a lot of cruft in my local config files, so I want to generate the appropriate skeleton files for each distro -- hence the useradd command.

Is this the right approach, or am I missing something?

Old 03-29-2014, 10:22 AM   #2
Registered: Jan 2008
Location: North Carolina
Distribution: Slackware 14.1
Posts: 209

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When using a common /home partition between two different distros you should always use different user names, for example in your case alanhr for one and maybe alhr or alanhr1 for the other, that way you don't get conflicts with common config files.

To move your user to your / partition simply remove it then edit fstab and remove the entry for the /home partition, log out then back in as root and recreate your user, that should create your new user directory on the / partition.
I'm not sure what your trying to do with systemlinks.
Old 03-30-2014, 02:02 PM   #3
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Registered: Aug 2008
Distribution: Crunchbang Waldorf, Arch
Posts: 23

Original Poster
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Thanks for the reply. In the end I did it exactly as I described in my initial post and everything worked out fine. The idea was to get rid of the /home partition and simply have a data partition being shared between distros, so now I have two distros, each with its own /home directory on the root partition. I have mounted the data partition on /mnt/data and inside of the /home/user partitions I have symlinks pointing to the relevant directories in /mnt/data (e.g., /home/user1/documents is symlinked to /mnt/data/documents on each distro).


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