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Old 08-18-2008, 05:00 PM   #1
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"Quad" Booting fedora, ubuntu,opensuse and mandriva

Evening all

Im not sure this is the correct location for this post so sorry

I want to quad boot a laptop with fedora, ubuntu, opensuse and mandriva but am not sure hows best to install them all with regards to home and / partitions. It will all be on a single HD
All will be the latest versions


Old 08-18-2008, 05:38 PM   #2
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Separate (root) partitions. I find it all too hard to try and use a common /home, so I just leave it under / on all but one system. This one system is my working system, and do all mail/photo editting whatever from there. The other systems are "disposable". They can mount the working system /home in need, but not by default.

Simple, and keeps me sane. I go through a *lot* of systems over time.

I also use a common swap partition, but I don't hibernate, so it's "safe". You may find UUID (or LABEL) will cause you grief due to reformatting as new systems are installed. I fix that up later as part of the install process.

Last edited by syg00; 08-18-2008 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Aded last para
Old 08-18-2008, 07:18 PM   #3
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You make one partition, 100-200 MBs for /boot. You make that /boot for everything. Your / file systems can be anywhere on the drive, if you have the first primary partition as /boot (only ext3 on /boot works with grub). Make an extended partition for everything else.

Within the extended partition, make 4 partitions for the operating systems, and one for swap. As you install each linux distro, make sure you retain the data from each previous one, and the kernels in /boot. In other words, don't format partitions that are being used.

You don't need to assign mount points for the / partitions that aren't used by each distro. You can mount them manually if you wish. Linux does not like a common /home, for multiple distros on the same machine.

Install grub to the MBR. It might work to leave out the boot loader until the last install, and let it find each distro, but I don't think so. You need to fix up /boot/grub/menu.lst a little. All the kernel and initrd lines in menu.lst will not contain the /boot part of the path, because the you have a separate boot partition. After you get one system up, look at the names of the other kernel and initrd files, in /boot, and make menu.lst entries.

I can't give every detail, because that would consume the visible universe. If you need more help, reply.
Old 08-18-2008, 07:27 PM   #4
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/boot doesn't even need to be a primary partition, the large majority of distros do not care one way or another.

As for managing GRUB, it's so much easier to chainload. Manually adding your other distros to one central GRUB is a chore and error-prone (especially as it will not be updated whenever your distros get a new kernel so you'll be re-editing the thing again and again ). Let the first one install its GRUB to the MBR and tell the other ones to install their GRUB to their own boot partition and add a simple reference for each to your MBR GRUB like this:
root (hdx,x)
chainloader +1

As for the home partition, I would agree with syg00 - only I would take it a little further and let all of them keep /home under /. Then create a single partition that you can be mounted by all of your distros. Even more flexility and security.

Last edited by jay73; 08-18-2008 at 07:33 PM.
Old 08-19-2008, 04:11 AM   #5
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Thanks all. I have just tried to install and it looks like its all worked. I have all 4 installed and working sharing the swap. I missed a bit so each one edited the grub menu with no issues.

Old 08-19-2008, 04:24 AM   #6
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Adding to this the next time you can add a data partition for all your distros and then you can install each distro in a 15 gig or so partition and still have room for a dvd save. You have to keep your home partitions clean and everything in the data partition but if you are swapping distros you will find it easy to not to lose anything.

Last edited by Larry Webb; 08-19-2008 at 04:25 AM.


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