LinuxQuestions.org
Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 08-01-2017, 06:36 PM   #1
frank124c
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Nov 2009
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Cool Replacing distribution


I am using Mint but I would like to try other distributions to see which I like best. Is it possible to replace Mint with say, Ubuntu, to see if I like it better without erasing all of my data?
 
Old 08-01-2017, 06:50 PM   #2
syg00
LQ Veteran
 
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: Lots ...
Posts: 19,715

Rep: Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550Reputation: 3550
The simple answer is to have a separate /home partition, and not format it during re-install. This avoids most (not all) problems, but may also introduce some "wrinkles".
Different distros will use different packages by default (mplayer, gphoto, ...) Some may use different versions of the same package - there may be differences in usage, maybe not.

As some-one who regularly uses different distros, I don't use shared /home except in special cases, but I do use shared data partition(s) - especially my photo collection. Maybe videos as well. Then I just install what I need to access them.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 07:06 PM   #3
frankbell
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Ubuntu MATE, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 17,414
Blog Entries: 28

Rep: Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410
Here is a good article about a separate home partition.

In order to move to using one, you will need to back up the data in your existing /home to external media (if it's not on external media, it's not a backup), do a "nuke-and-pave" install of Ubuntu, them restore the saved data.

I've been using a separate /home on all my bare-metal installs for several years. I second syg00's suggestion heartily.

Oh, and welcome to LQ.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 07:10 PM   #4
jlinkels
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Bonaire, Leeuwarden
Distribution: Debian /Jessie/Stretch/Sid, Linux Mint DE
Posts: 5,194

Rep: Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040Reputation: 1040
The risk in using a shared /home (or installing and keeping /home) is that settings and config files often are not 100% compatible. Not between versions of the same distro and even less so between different distributions. I am sure this is also the reason that syg00 decided not to use a shared /home folder.

If you are smart, you store all your data and personal files in yet another partition or even better on an external drive with a good backup.

If you have all your data out of the home folder, it *is* possible to copy and tar your complete home folder and restore it if you go back to a previous distro.

My experience is that keeping the /home folder seldom leads to the desired results. And that installing a new distro alway requires configuration from the ground up. So you can equally well test it in a VM. Use Virtualbox.

jlinkels
 
Old 08-01-2017, 07:21 PM   #5
frankbell
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Ubuntu MATE, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 17,414
Blog Entries: 28

Rep: Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410Reputation: 5410
I would never use a shared /home (that is, shared between two or more distros on a multi-boot computer). As jlinkels points out, that's asking for trouble.

I have encountered no difficulties in using a separate /home and changing distros. It's not something I've done often, but that computer over there (---->) has gone from Mint to Mageia to Debian with a separate home without issue.

If you want to be super careful, you can delete all the dot-config files, while keeping the other data, before installing that new distro.
 
Old 08-01-2017, 09:44 PM   #6
Doug G
Member
 
Registered: Jul 2013
Posts: 749

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Use KVM or VirtualBox and set up a virtual machine. Install various distributions in the VM to check them out and see which ones you like/dislike.
 
Old 08-02-2017, 07:45 AM   #7
Ztcoracat
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Distribution: Slackware, MX 18
Posts: 9,484
Blog Entries: 15

Rep: Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174Reputation: 1174
I agree with Dough G. Installing Virtual Box is a great way to try Ubuntu and other distro's so you can decide which one you like.

Give Debian a try. It's stable-

https://www.debian.org/CD/

Also go to distrowatch and see the top distro's in a list.
https://distrowatch.com/

Good Luck with your decision.
 
Old 08-02-2017, 12:39 PM   #8
hydrurga
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Pictland
Distribution: Linux Mint 20 MATE
Posts: 8,048
Blog Entries: 5

Rep: Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917Reputation: 2917
To help ease problems like this, I have a multiple partition solution.

For example, let's say I were to start off with Linux Mint, then I would have three partitions mounted at /, /home and /home/data. The data partition holds all my documents, videos, photos etc. etc.

If I want to try out another distro on bare metal (as opposed to the excellent idea of setting one up in a virtual machine), I create two new partitions for /, and /home and then also mount /home/data in the new distro.

In this way, / is for each distro's system files, /home is for each distro's personal configuration files, and /home/data is a non-distro specific partition that I share amongst all my distros so that they can access the data files.

It sounds slightly complicated, but it keeps things nice and easy for me. In case you might have been wondering, the reason that the / and /home partitions are themselves separate is due to the way I image/backup my partitions for ease of file or partition rollback (a separate issue).
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 08-02-2017, 01:39 PM   #9
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 20.1 MATE, MX-19.3, antiX, EndeavourOS
Posts: 3,325
Blog Entries: 17

Rep: Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262Reputation: 1262
frank124c,

Welcome to LQ.

Try this:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...-distro-37074/
 
Old 08-02-2017, 04:00 PM   #10
RockDoctor
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Minnesota, US
Distribution: Fedora, Ubuntu, Manjaro
Posts: 1,775

Rep: Reputation: 423Reputation: 423Reputation: 423Reputation: 423Reputation: 423
As another multi-distro on bare metal person, I'll offer another vote for a partition containing shared data, but with /home on the distro's partition. My twist is a single boot partition from which I chainload each distro's bootloader.
  1. Install distro with boot partition mounted at /boot and grub in MBR
  2. Unmount boot partition and remount some place convenient (I use /mnt/Boot)
  3. Copy contents of /mnt/Boot to /boot
  4. Forcibly Install grub in distro's partition
  5. Edit boot partition's grub.cfg to chainload each distro's grub

From boot partition's grub.cfg:
Code:
### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###
menuentry 'GF27 on sda7' {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='hd0,msdos7'
    chainloader +1
}
menuentry 'GF26 on sda8' {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='hd0,msdos8'
    chainloader +1
}
menuentry 'GU1710 on sda5' {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='hd0,msdos5'
    chainloader +1
}
 
Old 08-02-2017, 04:44 PM   #11
jmgibson1981
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2015
Location: Tucson, AZ USA
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 656

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Shared /home among different distros is nothing but a mess in my experience. Better is a data partition structured like this - /data/$USER/(normal /home/$USER/folders). Then just symlink the /data/$USER/* into /home/$USER. No mixed settings, data stays the same. Easy peasy.

Last edited by jmgibson1981; 08-02-2017 at 04:47 PM.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can I use kernel from certain distribution with other distribution? X20055 Linux - Distributions 8 09-30-2015 08:49 PM
How to generate complex gaussian distribution? (real gaussian distribution is given) carolasu Programming 2 03-15-2014 05:10 PM
move development environment from distribution to distribution ikkyusan Linux - Desktop 1 07-06-2010 04:23 AM
Customizing a distribution to add my artwork and design for a brand new distribution caa718 Linux From Scratch 3 03-19-2006 05:03 PM
Contents of /etc/<distribution>_version and /etc/<distribution>-release ghaefb Linux - Distributions 6 02-03-2006 06:46 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:40 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration