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Old 08-23-2009, 04:40 PM   #1
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How to install Multiple Distros in One Partition??

just wanted some opinions/thoughts on doing this?

I'm gonna install fedora 11, Ubuntu-9.04, Lighthouse Puppy
grml-medium, tinycore-2.2 slax-6.1.2, PAW-RC(puppy), Sidux-xfce & Slack 12.2 all into one partition (ext3)

Oh, and they all gotta run persistent too

possible or no?

I bet it is...

Last edited by linus72; 08-23-2009 at 05:09 PM.
Old 08-23-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why you want to do this bizarre mishmash. If you'd describe what you hope to accomplish by this jumble of (usually incompatible) files, perhaps someone could offer a suggestion of a better way to reach your goal.

In other words, you've started with one possible solution to a problem you haven't described. Is it the only possible way to solve your problem? Why?

To answer your question, it might be easier to do if, instead of ext3 you make the partition a logical volume set and, of course, have a different logical volume for each distribution.

However, if you don't want to do that, there's no reason you couldn't install everything in the single partition. Just set each distribution up in it's own set of directories, and specify the correct"root" location the the GRUB kernel line. The boot process will do a chroot to the specified location. With appropriate care, the fstab in each distribution could be set so "common" areas (e.g., non-hidden home files and directories, etc.) could be shared be each distribution.
Old 08-23-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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maybe set them up something similar to the old zipslacks that ran on a windows fat32 partitons inside in its own directory except use a linux partition. I think ubuntu wubi does the same thing. on a windows partition
Old 08-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
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well, actually you need 2 partitions if using Ubuntu...sad

Reason for doing it?

Cause people here ask all the time about multiboot usb and about booting various distro's off 1 partition...

I have installed them all now and they run good too

I had to make a extra 5gb partition labeled "casper-rw"
to make ubuntu persistent

Here's the lineup right now

sda1 Windows XP 40gb
sda2 Extended
sda3 Multiboot ext3 33gb
sda4 casper-rw ext2 5gb
sda5 swap 1gb

And in sda3 lives...

Slackware 12.2 full install

WattOSb3 Ubuntu-9.04 with lxde (frugal install ala usb)

Fedora 11 Omega with 6gb persistent overlay (made by liveusb-creator and transported to hd)

PAW-RC-2 (photo-artists-workshop) Puppy 4.20 a puplet with 1gb pup-save

Lighthouse-pup-Mariner another puppy with 1gb pup-save

GRML medium daily build 08/18 sid (1gb live-rw in sda4) peristent

Slax-6.1.2 persistent

tinycore-2.2 with lots of apps

Sidux 09 xfce persistent fromiso

thats pretty good huh?
they all run persistent too

I just wanted to know if it could be done
Old 08-31-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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Hello all,

I have a question in this vein. Using the utility mk-boot-usb I have partitioned an 8GB key to run several livecd installations. Then, using the following commands I mounted the .iso images and copied the entire contents to individual logical ext2 partitions on the key.

mount -o loop -t iso9660 /iso/path/here /mnt/iso
mount /dev/targetpartition /mnt/target
cp -rvp /mnt/iso/* /mnt/target

I have already done this with a 4GB key which runs beautifully with my customized grub menu, but it has many less distros.

The problem is, the number of livecds that fit on the 8GB key is greater than the number of partitions I can have on the device (/dev/sd* are apparently limited to 16 maximum from what I have read). So, to overcome this, I have doubled-up some distros on single partitions. For example...

Ubuntu 9.04 32-bit in /dev/sda5/32 mounted as /media/Ubuntu32.64/32/
Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit in /dev/sda5/64 mounted as /media/Ubuntu32.64/64/
BackTrack 3 in /dev/sda6 mounted as /media/BackTrack3/

...where BackTrack 3 boots just fine, but Ubuntu 32 and 64 both start booting just fine with the kernel and initrd paths specified explicitly, but get lost looking for other boot files when referring to root=LABEL=Ubuntu32.64 since I can't figure out how to tell is that root is supposed to be root=(LABEL=Ubuntu32.64)/32/ or root=(LABEL=Ubuntu32.64)/64/ respectively.

Oddly enough, I can call the kernel and initrd lines using...

kernel (hd0,4)/32/casper/vmlinuz file=/32/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=/32/casper quiet splash --
initrd (hd0,4)/32/casper/initrd.gz

...but making similar modifications to the root line doesn't help. The same problem occurs with Arch 2009.08 32 & 64, DSL, TinyMe and TinyCore, but not when they're on their own partitions.

Any ideas? I know my way around linux in general, but I can't find anything in the GRUB manual or online that deals with this issue directly, and any syntax attempts I've made have failed. Oh, and thanks a million for reading through this book of a post.
Old 08-31-2009, 06:51 PM   #6
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whats up dog?

you wanna use the UUID numbers bro


to find out do
in terminal
while their mounted


most times you can't boot 2 ubuntus from 1 partition unless one runs as livecd/usb
and the other runs as a full hd install

what cheatcodes are you using for DSL? and tinycore?
dont know about tinyme

try my new ThorsHammer
that goes on 1 usb partition or hd partition or cd
if you want grml persistent you need 2 partitions

and answer about dsl
Old 09-01-2009, 04:44 PM   #7
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Hi linus72,

Thanks for the quick reply. I originally tried using the UUIDs, but found that if I wanted to switch the OS on a partition and had to change size, the UUID would change on format. It's probably not necessary, but the LABEL call helps me keep track of what is what in GRUB. Is there any way to have use something other than the /dev/sdX call? It would be much nicer to have it point to a UUID that doesn't change for its boot device from PC to PC. I think the answer is no since it should be calling a device, not a partition table, but since you have Thor's Hammer working so well (my compliments btw), maybe you've figured something like that out?

Also, thanks for the pointer about Ubuntu on the same partition, it's worth mentioning another odd behaviour. I had Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04 for both 32 & 64 bit processors, as well as Mint just for 32 bit on a completely different partition. Occasionally when a GRUB syntax would boot Ubuntu to limping (not elegant, but functional), it would load from that partition using Jaunty, but would present the GUI for Mint!!! I first thought I had made a late-night bleary-eyed mistake and copied the Mint iso to both drives, but I have confirmed that Jaunty definitely is booting the Mint GUI from another partition somehow (hd0,6 is Mint, hd0,11 is Ubuntu).

As far as DSL cheat codes, none yet. My netbook is running Ubuntu hatcheted and customized like crazy, and these keys are a way for me to play with other distros on a variety of PCs (as well as show it off to friends of course). Once I had them up and running smoothly, I wanted to play with cheats as fine-tuning, so I'll let you know as soon as I've settled on my favourites.

I should also send you my xpm splashes and menu sequence, I have used the "only half" strawberry in the lower right-hand corner and changed the colour of just the red part to signify each submenu of the main menu.lst

Let me know if you have any more ideas?
Old 09-01-2009, 04:50 PM   #8
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what I meant about the dsl cheatcodes was
post your syslinux.cfg or grub menu.lst for me?

also, where have you got dsl installed to?

You wanna check out Portable-Qemu?
I made it cause I couldn't find one as good

it is basically qemu/qemu.exe, qemu-img/qemu-img.exe
and some scripts to run it all

you make a virtual hd with "" or "make_vhd.bat"(windows)
then you boot off the install.bat
ands install dsl to the vhd
it runs just like a real systemt
just a little slower
I got a xxx naked girl version and a clean version maybe

I could also make a new onw
haven't made one in a while


multidistro, usb, usb boot

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