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Old 10-29-2004, 03:52 PM   #1
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Dual booting several Linux distros

Hey Y'all,
I need to install RH9, FC2, and Ignalum but have been unable to get my partition tables laid out right. I started with four primary partitions with the hope that I could extend each to accomodate several extended partitions for each install. Should I be using Partition Magic or Disk Druid, how should the partitions be divied up, etc.?
Old 10-29-2004, 03:56 PM   #2
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There's a free gnu program to partition your harddisk with. It's called parted and I believe there's a gui for it called qtparted you should try that since you don't have to pay for it (or download it illegaly )

I don't think you can have four primary partitions. IIRC most was 2. What I'd do is create a partition for the OS that's just large enough to fit your stuff on. Then create one /home/ partition cause you can use that in any of your linuxes. You can also do 1 swap since you can use it in all. I don't know for sure if it's possible but you might also be able to create 1 /tmp but don't pin me on that one. You can also create a /root and /var partition if you want for logs and for your root stuff. I don't use those however.
Old 10-29-2004, 06:21 PM   #3
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You can have 4 primary partitions, max. Or three primary and one extended, comprising up to (IIRC) 24 logical partitions.
Old 10-29-2004, 06:40 PM   #4
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You can only have 4 primary partition, but the 4th would be the extended partition, which contains the extended partitions that you see. On some computers, the boot partition should be on a primary partition. You could make the 1st partition the boot partition of your first install, the second primary partition the swap partition. Use this swap partition for all of the distros.

Then start adding your next partitions as extended partitions. Let the installation program do the partitioning, by choosing to manually partition during the installation. If all of the distro's are of equal importance, equally divide up the remainder of drive space among the installations.

Only write to the MBR on the first install. You don't want a case of dueling distro's on your hands, so only install the boot loader on the first installation. Red Hat's mkbootdisk script allows you to create a mini-cd boot image. 'mkbootdisk --iso'.
So install either RH9 or FC2 first and produce this boot cd before continuing with other installs.
I wish Mandrake's script did this, However with Mandrake you can create a rescue disk, which has a boot from HD menu options 'mkrescue --iso'.

In my opinion, Grub would be the better boot loader to use in your case. If a mistake is made in the menu.lst file, and one of the distro's won't boot, you can use tab-completion to locate the correct partition and boot up that way. ( I am speaking from experience on this point! )

Good Luck!
Old 10-29-2004, 07:37 PM   #5
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Yup, use GRUB. Install it to the MBR when you install the first distro. For each subsequent distro, allow the installer to install the default bootloader to the root partition. Then edit /boot/grub/menu.lst so it reads, for example:

title yoper-2.1 # what you see in the menu
root (hd0,11) # 1st disk,12th partition, *note numbering starts from zero
chainloader +1 # fire up the bootloader located in root


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