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Old 10-18-2003, 05:04 PM   #1
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Question Multiple Linux Distributions

I would like to setup a 160GB Hardrive with multiple OS's. I currently can get Windows and one other Linux distribution installed, but not another one. My plan is to have 15GB dedicated to Windows 2003, 40GB to Red Hat v9, 40GB to Madrake v9.1, 40GB to Suse and the rest for Solaris 9 intel addition. I am doing this so that I can test out all the major distributions and find which one I like most. Can I do this? I first partioned 15GB of my hardrive and then installed Windows. Next I installed Red Hat manually partitioning as /boot 115MB, /swap as 500MB, and / as 39GB. I selected LILO as the boot loader because GRUB failed to startup every time. I placed the boot loader on MRB (is this correct or should it be the first partition?). I then followed up this install with Mandrake by partitioning / as 39GB and putting the 115MB /boot partition on both the MRB and then the first partition when both options failed. Mandrake said that it would format the current /swap partition and I guess reuse it. Ultimately, my question is how do I install multiple versions of Linux on one hardrive. Also, is my partitioning scheme correct? Thank you for your help.
Old 10-18-2003, 05:20 PM   #2
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The trick to installing multiple OSs is understanding what types of partitions each needs and what is physically possible.
Although I have read and been told otherwise, Windows seems to want a primary partition. I believe Solaris x86 needs a primary partition. Linux on the other hand is perfectly happy with an extended partition.
A hard drive can have up to 4 primary partitions, one of which can be an extended partition. If you are wanting to use extended partitoins you then have 3 primary partitions available. My suggestion is to use the primary partitions for Windows and Solaris, and then create some extended partitions for your Linux distributions. I find it is much easier to install multiple Linux distros if you keep it simple by sharing a swap and installing each Linux distro to one partition rather than breaking it up into /boot, /var, home, /, etc.
Good Luck
Old 10-18-2003, 05:38 PM   #3
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you don't really need a separate /boot partition unless you have a common /boot partition for all distros. It makes more sense to separate / from /home. You might also have a common data partiton that different distros can access (say for multimedia data and stuff). If you make the data partition(s) fat32, you can also access it from XP w/o problems. Mandrake itself can be installed on less than 6GB I would think and probably the same for the others.

The bit tricky part is the boot loader. Here is the relevant part of my lilo.conf:
        append="quiet devfs=mount hdc=ide-scsi apm=on acpi=off"
        append="devfs=mount hdc=ide-scsi acpi=off"
        append="devfs=mount hdc=ide-scsi acpi=off"
As you can tell, I have three different distros installed and I have entries for it in lilo.conf. The lilo.conf itself is in Mandrake's /etc. You need to create mountpoints for the / partitions of each distro (or the /boot partitions, if you have separate /boot partitions) so that lilo can find the kernel (and if necessary the initrd.img) for each distro. You must also specify which partition is the root partition. After setting up lilo.conf, you must run lilo by
lilo -v
Old 10-20-2003, 03:28 PM   #4
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# df
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda8 2682732 732336 1950396 28% /
/dev/hda9 13919856 9191964 4727892 67% /usr
/dev/hda10 9767184 1553976 8213208 16% /home
/dev/hda11 1710828 843824 867004 50% /var
/dev/hda12 2931732 1184388 1747344 41% /opt
/dev/hda14 6835408 4599048 2236360 68% /usr/portage
/dev/hda15 4714896 3090012 1624884 66% /home/other
/dev/hda5 10231392 255784 9975608 3% /windows/d
none 516548 0 516548 0% /dev/shm
I have a spare partition: /dev/hda13 9767184 2575928 7191256 27% SPARE PARTITION - that I want to install another distribution on, such as redhat say.
Do you think you could give an explaination of how I would go about this? I've read the post, but just need to fill in a bit more detail.


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