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Paramjeet 05-26-2005 11:47 AM

Possible to share Home directory between SUSE 9.3 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4?
Hello Everyone!

I'm a Newbie-of-a-Newbie: Installed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 a few days ago. I'm now about to install SUSE 9.3 Pro on the same machine so that I have a dual-boot system. I want to try out working intensively for about 4 to 6 months with both distros.

So, my question is: Can I use the same Home directory with both RHEL4 and SUSE?

I hope to be able to work with the same applications & data files under the two distros. Also, I envisage setting up the system as follows:

/dev/sda1: Linux SWAP (2 GB)
/dev/sda2: RHEL4 (full installation; home mounted from /dev/sdb2)
/dev/sda3: SUSE 9.3 (full installation; home mounted from /dev/sdb2)

/dev/sdb1: Linux SWAP (2 GB)
/dev/sdb2: Home directories

Is what I'm attempting feasible? If feasible, is it advisable? And if advisable, what file system should I use? Any other hints? I understand that besides the visible data files, there are the hidden configuration 'dot' files. It's these 'dot' files that concern me about sharing the same home folder across RHEL4 & SUSE: will they mess each other's configurations up? I've tried searching the forums but haven't found anything close.

Oops, that's a lot more questions than the one I intended. :scratch:

Thanks ... and cheers,

zord 05-26-2005 11:57 AM

I never tried it, but I think it should work.
> It's these 'dot' files that concern me about sharing the same home folder across RHEL4 & SUSE: will they mess each other's configurations up?
This is actually a problem. As long as you use the exactly same version of programs in both systems, it should be ok.
But if e.g. suse uses a newer version of some program than redhat, then the config files may vary.
I would suggest to create a data partition, which is used in both systems.
Keep your dotfiles in your home directory, and all the data and shared programs on some other partition.

> And if advisable, what file system should I use?
I would use reiserfs.

Btw, why do you have two swap partitions? You can definitly share them for both distros.

johnson_steve 05-26-2005 12:03 PM

you should be able to do this I have the same home dir shared accross the network for suse&gentoo&irix just have a partition that is mounted on /home for both systems. also why 2 swap partitions? this seems like a waste to me I think they recomend 2x your ram up to 512Mb but 4G?

Paramjeet 05-26-2005 12:15 PM

Thanks Folks! I'm amazed how fast you've replied, and how helpful the answers are!

Ok, so my crazy scheme looks doable, and I'll try it with non-critical data initially (and fully backed up data after that! :D ).

Why the 2 different SWAP partitions? Actually that's what it seems RHEL4 recommends for my system: for my 2 GB RAM the installation manual suggests 4 GB of SWAP on two physically distinct disks/partitions. Of course, with presbyopia and English not being my mother tongue, I may have totally misconstrued the whole setup. Any suggestions are definitely welcomed: might as well start off right, eh? :)

Thanks again for your replies.


johnson_steve 05-26-2005 01:16 PM

I have 1Gb of ram I used to have 1Gb of swap but it almost never got used and i'm doing memory intensive stuff like video encoding and ADAT quality multitrack audio work (24bit 96khz and several at a time) now I have 512Mb swap and it still never gets used.

zord 05-26-2005 04:18 PM

Depends what you wanna do with it. If you e.g. plan to use RHEL as an oracle db server, then you should provide 2 gig swap.
But more ain't neccessary IMO.
And I never saw an application, that used more memory than oracle :P

Mara 05-26-2005 05:41 PM

One swap, one home dir (I share it between 3 distros).

There may be oen small problem you may not know about: different distros assign user numbers from different values. User names are only for users, the numbers matter. If they don't match betwen distributions, you are not able to access your home dir etc. That's why install one distro, note down the numbers (from /etc/passwd), then install the second one and change the numbers in the newly installed distro. All should work nicely then.

Paramjeet 05-26-2005 10:29 PM

Hmmm.... just goes to show, a little knowledge for a :newbie: is a dangerous thing. Back to more Linux :study: .

OK Folks, I'm convinced: I'll just use a single 512 MB SWAP partition. My most memory hogging work should be large images with GIMP. My work (& hobby too!) involves the use of several 50MB images at a time. On hindsight, it's clear I don't need the 4 GB of SWAP. (I should have seen that Linux is just more memory efficient: RHEL4 does none of that violent disk thrashing on the same machine that my Windows XP used to!)

To Mara: you're right, I didn't even know that "user numbers" existed. I'll do as you say. I assume I'll have to change the user number in /etc/passwd for the second distro? :o

Thanks again, one and all.


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