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Old 10-15-2004, 11:58 PM   #1
Ravager
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Partitioning a drive for multiple distro's


My system contains 2 Drives, an 80 GB drive running XP and a 40GB drive which I would like to install possibly 4 different Linux distros, (suse, fedora, Lycoris and slackware). I am a newbie to linux and want to check various ones to see which I like best.

My question is what would be the best way to partition the 40GB drive into 4 10GB partitions for each distro. I currently have partition magic. If there is a better suggestion on a partitioning program better suited all comments/suggestions accepted.

Next is what would be the best boot program to use to be able to select between which distro I want to start up in? I have system commander but do not know if it would be up to the task. So any suggestions on this also welcome.
 
Old 10-16-2004, 12:29 AM   #2
dalek
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My opinion only.

You need a /boot partition that will be common to all distros. Most distros have different names for their kernel so it shouldn't be a problem. Someone correct if you have had this issue.

The rest depends on the distro. Some, Gentoo being one, has a huge /usr. /home depends on how much 'stuff' you plan to store there. You documents folder is in this one, among other things.

I use Grub for my bootloader. I have used lilo before and I just prefer grub. If you have probels with a kernel it is easier to pass new options to the boot line, again my opinion.

Since you are just starting out I would start this way.

1st partition: 50MBs for /boot
2nd partition: 200MBs for swap
Note: the top two are common and can be used by all Linux distros that you install.

3rd partition: rest, ~9GB for /

4th partition: ~9GB for second distros /

5th partition: ~9GB for third distros /

etc, etc. You get the idea.

That would be the easiest to do. Just make sure that when you install a distro after the first one that you, or the installer program, doesn't format /boot. You will loose your kernel for the previous distro.

I'm sure someone else will have other ideas.

Hope that helps.


Last edited by dalek; 10-16-2004 at 12:33 AM.
 
Old 10-16-2004, 12:31 AM   #3
micxz
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When you install suse it will find your windows partition and ask how you want other partitons setup. I would use the suse installer to "prep" the other partitions for the other distros. Suse will install a boot loader (grub or lilo) and you will use this to select your OS at start up.

Make sure when you install the other distros that you select not to install a boot loader as it would over write your currently installed one. I can't guide you in this part as I'm not familiar with the other installers you have mentioned.

After all are installed it just takes configuring the boot loader to find your various partitions/OS's.
 
Old 10-16-2004, 01:45 AM   #4
krisealv
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Home partition

If I were you I would follow the /boot partition advice, but I would also add a designated /home partition

Also, in suse you might get some problems partitioning, It uses an ok but not too userfriendly program, use mandrake for the partitioning

my advice is

100mb /boot
256 mb swap
4 x / @ 5 gb
19 gb /home

This way you can keep your documents after a reinstallation. But use different usernames on all the distros, If you use the same user, you'll f#ck up KDE and gnome
 
Old 10-16-2004, 01:47 AM   #5
krisealv
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no mandrake

use fedora for partitioning, or plain cfdisk (slackware)
 
Old 10-16-2004, 02:36 AM   #6
CroMagnon
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A common /boot partition isn't required, but if you do use grub you need to remember which particular /boot partition holds the active menu.lst I use different /boot partitions for my two linux installs (one half-done LFS, the other debian), and just mount the primary /boot to a new location if I need to edit the grub config. I haven't had any technical trouble with this (despite the second /boot being well near the physical end of a 160GB drive)
 
Old 10-16-2004, 04:59 AM   #7
krisealv
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True

But I would think a boot partition would be easier, especially with lilo (no flames please)
 
Old 10-16-2004, 05:17 AM   #8
dalek
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I agree with the seperate /boot. I have had seperate /boot's before and it is a nightmare, even worse when you use lilo. I wouldn't even think of doing that with lilo.

Make it easy on yourself, shared /boot and grub. Much easier.

My opinion. I don't want a fire under my butt either.

 
Old 10-16-2004, 10:22 AM   #9
CroMagnon
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I wouldn't dream of flaming you over having an opinion, but I do wonder what difficulties you encountered having two different /boot partitions. I haven't seen a single difficulty on my system, and can't even imagine what problems could occur, but if something might crop up in the future, I'd like to be aware of it.... details of your experiences might be valuable to Ravager also.
 
Old 10-16-2004, 10:59 AM   #10
krisealv
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Not that kind

There were no technical diificulties, the only reason why I did it was becasue it made it simpler to set up, if you know how then of course this is no problem, but for a person who has not done this before...
 
Old 10-16-2004, 11:25 AM   #11
Basslord1124
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The idea for creating a single Home folder for all distros is a good one. There shouldn't be much need to use Partition magic...Linux has a built in partitioning system for you to use (cfdisk is one that comes to mind). As for bootloader...I like GRUB myself.

I guess lay it out like this:
/boot = 100MB
swap=300MB (or whatever you'd like)
about 8GB for each distro
then whatever is leftover for /home
 
Old 10-17-2004, 01:44 PM   #12
Ravager
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basslord1124
The idea for creating a single Home folder for all distros is a good one. There shouldn't be much need to use Partition magic...Linux has a built in partitioning system for you to use (cfdisk is one that comes to mind). As for bootloader...I like GRUB myself.
Is there a way to edit GRUB so I can set preferences on boot? and etc???
 
Old 10-17-2004, 03:50 PM   #13
CroMagnon
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What do you mean 'preferences on boot'? You can pick an OS to boot by default and you can add kernel parameters. You can change these at any time by editing a text file (usually /boot/grub/menu.lst).
 
Old 10-17-2004, 10:16 PM   #14
dalek
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You can also edit the kernel parameters when the bootloader comes up on the screen. When grub comes up, where you would usually select what OS to boot, highlight the OS you want to change, then hit e for edit twice. Make whatever changes then hit enter. Hit b for boot.

I do this when testing newly compiled kernels. It is also handy if something happens to the root password too. You just add single to the end and then you can boot and change/reset the password.

Personally, I think Grub is much easier and has a lot more options to use. It did take me a bit to figure out the way it names drives though. The tab completion thing helps with that a lot though.

Grub may not work on some REALLY REALLY old systems though. I have one that is about 6 or 8 years old and it works fine, well the bootloader does anyway. I have read where some have to use Lilo on those old rigs. Like old 8088, 80286 type old stuff.

Later

 
Old 10-17-2004, 11:47 PM   #15
cranky
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a newb question coming up. it might be silly but i have to ask it.

is it possible to have a single /usr partition and be able to use it for an x amount of distros? or is that asking for trouble?
 
  


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