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Old 03-01-2004, 04:26 PM   #1
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Is it possible?

New to Linux. Have ordered and received SUSE 9.0 Professional, Mandrake 9.2, and Debian 3.0 r2. I have a computer I would like to boot all three Linux distributions from using GRUB.

I had installed SUSE and had it working. When I installed Mandrake the computer loaded another version of GRUB and only booted into Mandrake. I tried installing Debian in the 3rd section of the hard drive and things got worst.

Can I do what I want to do and if so in what order do I load the different versions of Linux on my hard drive.

Do I have to use another boot loader like LILO?

Old 03-01-2004, 04:35 PM   #2
Registered: Aug 2003
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yes, I'm pretty sure you can set up grub to manage all 3 of the distros. Unfortunatly, I've never actually tried to set it up. But you'll need to edit /etc/grub.conf to get it to work.
Old 03-03-2004, 10:36 AM   #3
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update on my status

Every time I put a 2nd Linux distribution on my computer(s) with Windows XP and another Linux distribution already installed it only found Windows XP for the boot loader.
Presently have one desktop computer with Windows XP and SUSE 9.0 Professional working.
Have another desktop with Windows XP and Mandrake 9.2 working.
Debian 3.0.r2 will have to wait until I learn a lot more about Linux. I do not recommend a newbie to Linux starting with Debian. The installer I found very hard to work with compared to my other two Linux distributions.
I hope some of this info helps someone in the future.
Old 03-03-2004, 10:51 AM   #4
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This thread I replies a while back may be of some help on multi-boot Linux distros

There's plenty of other threads on the subject as well
Old 03-03-2004, 11:14 AM   #5
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debian not for newbies ????

Well, in truth, I'd say that you're not totally correct.

Why ?

Well, most linux people, who've been "at it" for more than 10 minutes, will have heard of Knoppix. Now it's easy to presume that knoppix is only a "live cd" distro, but a little research should lead you to their forums, which has a wealth of info about installing to hard disc.

Knoppix is debian based, it has (arguably) the best hardware detection. QED, a hard disc install gives you a reasonably well configured "instant" debian based system (and hard disc installing knoppix is almost as easy as installing mandrake).

Yes, I'd agree with you 100% when it comes to "proper" debian, that can be very hard work. As can say, Gentoo. But, the upside is that both debian's apt-get and gentoo's portage package managers, are considerably better than mandrake and SuSE using rpm (and yes mandrakes urpmi is better than normal rpm, but not without it's problems).

As for you having multiple linux distro's, well yes it is definitely possible - I've only done it with lilo as my boot loader (I couldn't get my head round the differing nomenclature used by grub).

I've also heard that there is a way of installing a boot loader that will detect ALL other installed OS's - again, how? I'm not sure.

It should work something along the lines of making sure that you have boot/root and swap partitions, the boot and swap are common. The boot partition has the details of the kernel versions and init files (Ithink thats right), the boot loader should still be on the first section of the mbr. Hence if the bootloader can see the various pieces of info required to boot the various installed OS's, then it should be able to boot "them".

There's also the matter of whether the various OS's can actually "see" each other, I seem to recall something about listing them in their respective fstab's, but can't remember whether there's anything else you'd need to do.

What you could do to be getting on with, would be say install 1 distro with XP, for a standard dual boot, then another on a free partition - but make sure that you make boot floppies for each one, then even if it takes you a while to work out the required config/setup, you should still be able to run the various distro's even if you have to reboot with the floppy - worth a try.

Hope this helps you in the right direction.


Old 03-03-2004, 12:32 PM   #6
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THANKS everyone

I really appreciate all of your comments. I just went into semi-retirement and have over 32 years of computer programming, managing, etc. in the computer field. However I am new to Linux and realize I know very, very, very little about any of its operation and commands. I believe I will work with my installed SUSE and Mandrake distributions for now.
THANKS one more time for all of your help.


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