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Old 04-10-2009, 03:24 PM   #1
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How to install new distro but keep existing /home


I'm running SUSE 10.2, but like the look of Ubuntu, but would like it to use my SUSE /home.

When I try to install; it proposes resizing (reducing) /home by 50%. Can I make it install in a smaller partition and use my existing /home? -'twould be nice.

If so, how ??


Old 04-10-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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Many ways to tackle problem

The first thing that comes to mind is to rename your /home to something you'll recognize as being your old home directory. Also make copies of /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow, and /etc/group.

What you do from here, depends on how many users are using your system, and what you want to preserve. I'll write more, if you post more details.
Old 04-10-2009, 06:09 PM   #3
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You can make it do what you like.

During the Ubuntu installation process it is possible to key an expert or custom option and format the partitions of the new installation such that they fill the same space and place as any previous partitions, and selectively to format only those desired.

Ubuntu usually proposes to install with two partitions, a swap and /, with home included therein, but it can be set up with three. Your openSUSE 10.2 probably has three partitions, swap, /, and /home, and /home could be left unformatted, and thereby unchanged. It would become the partition /home under an Ubuntu three partition scheme.

You might download and burn a copy of Parted Magic or GPartedLiveCD to have a tool which will let you take a look at the partitions ahead of time, without the partitioner generating its own partitioning scheme. They have both GParted with a GUI and fdisk and cfdisk as needed.

As to the linking of the files in /home to the OS files in /under Ubuntu, I believe it is possible, but I will pass on how it is done, as it is Ubuntu terrain and I speak from openSUSE ground.

Others will step up, but you might search the forum for threads regarding /home. In the worst case you can always copy the contents of /home back and forth. Good Luck

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Last edited by thorkelljarl; 04-10-2009 at 06:29 PM.
Old 04-10-2009, 06:27 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by thorkelljarl View Post
As to the linking of the files in /home to the OS files in /under Ubuntu, I believe it is possible, but I will pass on how it is done, as it is Ubuntu terrain and I speak from openSUSE ground.
Mounting a partition is not specific to any distro. He just needs to put a line in /etc/fstab that will tell the system to mount the old home partition under /home. I understand that home lives on its own partition, of course.

Whether its contents will be fully compatible with the new installation is another matter. User data should be of course, I am talking about dot files and directories, which holds the configuration files for the programs.


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