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Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

How can one have more than one linux distro installed on his/her HD? For example, let's say he/she wants to have 5 distros (i'm using a big number, i know, but i do it to serve the goal of the thread). How should the HD be partitioned? What I could think of is: hda1 -> /boot COMMON /boot PARTITION FOR ALL DISTROS hda2 -> /home COMMON /home PARTITION FOR ALL DISTROS hda3 <extended> { hda5 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 1 hda6 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 2 hda7 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 3 hda8 -> ...

  1. #1

    Default Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    How can one have more than one linux distro installed on his/her HD?
    For example, let's say he/she wants to have 5 distros (i'm using a big
    number, i know, but i do it to serve the goal of the thread). How
    should the HD be partitioned?

    What I could think of is:

    hda1 -> /boot COMMON /boot PARTITION FOR ALL DISTROS
    hda2 -> /home COMMON /home PARTITION FOR ALL DISTROS
    hda3 <extended>
    {
    hda5 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 1
    hda6 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 2
    hda7 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 3
    hda8 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 4
    hda9 -> / ROOT PARTITION FOR DISTRO 5
    }

    Well, I am not sure of whether to have a common swap for all the
    distros or not. I think it could be possible (common swap), since only
    one distro would be active.

    But I have a really bad feeling about the common /boot and the many /
    (root)partitions. The / have the same name, so it doesn't look nice. I
    feel like something is wrong.

    Any suggestions? (except "buy a HD for every other partition")

    Thanks in advance,
    cmad
    Chris Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    On 8 Dec 2003 10:51:00 -0800, com (Chris Mantoulidis) wrote:
     

    .... i have one box with 23 OSes on it :) basically, i have
    multiple /, /boot (i wouldnt share /boot), and so on - i share
    the swap between them

    --
    /// Michael J. Tobler: motorcyclist, surfer, skydiver, \\\
    \\\ and author: "Inside Linux", "C++ HowTo", "C++ Unleashed" ///
    A psychiatrist is a person who will give you expensive answers
    that your wife will give you for free.
    mjt Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    com (Chris Mantoulidis) wrote:
     

    I'm not sure what your Linux "comfort" level is and whether or not
    these multiple distributions or to be used a lot or just to try out
    SO ...

    With a modern distribution and modern hardware there shouldn't be a
    BIOS issue with large hardrives so the /boot partition shouldn't be
    required.

    Unless you are going to use all the distro's a lot AND understand how
    you will re-use the /home partition for them all I would suggest not
    doing that either.

    I would suggest a common SWAP partition and one minimum 5Gig partition
    for each distribution you want to install.

    Just a caution, one of the partitions has to be the MASTER, that is
    the LILO or GRUB configuration has to know about the others partitions
    and allow them to boot. There is only one boot sector and that one has
    to be configured to allow you to select between the 5 distributions
    that you have installed.

    Also, you will have to learn how to configure your boot manager of
    choice (LILO or Grub) manually as I'm not aware of any distributions
    that will configure a multi-linux boot system as you are proposing.

    Other than tah ... go for it! My systems typically have one MS OS and
    1 or more Linux distributions on them. What you propose is VERY
    do-able but you will have to do some of the configuration manually.

    --
    ------------------------------------------------
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/dmitton
    SPAM Reduction: Remove "x." from my domain.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Doug Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

     



    It might be easier to use a generic boot menu, that just boots a partition,
    and for each distribution, install lilo or grub on its partition.

    You could have a common /boot if you needed that for bios issues (ie a
    pentium or earlier bios ) where its limitted to 8 gigabytes. You wouldnt
    mount the parititon at /boot though.
    you would mount it at /mnt/boot. create a directory on it called
    /mnt/boot/redhat9.
    then softlink /mnt/boot/redhat9 to /boot on the redhat9... so /boot
    softlinks to /mnt/boot/redhat9... )



    Leon. Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    On 8 Dec 2003 10:51:00 -0800, Chris Mantoulidis
    <com> wrote: 
    The name of a partition depends on where it is mounted, so there is only
    one / at any time. When one distribution is running, another's root
    partition could be mounted as /mnt/redhat_9 for example (or not mounted
    at all).

    --
    Thanks to Nigeria, any email with the word "urgent" in the subject
    or address will be deleted.
    Bill Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    > I'm not sure what your Linux "comfort" level is and whether or not 

    Just to make things clear, I'll use them a LOT :)
     

    So probably I don't want a common /boot since I don't think I got a
    problem. Thanks.
     

    How do I set up one partition as MASTER? I know about HDs but, sorry,
    never done that with partitions. Do I edit /etc/mtab or something?
     

    Last question. When a linux is being installed, does it make itself
    (its / partition) the MASTER? If yes, how can I tell it not to so I
    can have one constant partition as MASTER?

    Thanks for your patience,
    cmad
    Chris Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    Chris Mantoulidis <com> wrote: 
    >
    > Just to make things clear, I'll use them a LOT :)

    >
    > So probably I don't want a common /boot since I don't think I got a
    > problem. Thanks.[/ref]

    You will want a common boot if you run many distros, since you will
    want to use the same kernel for each.
     [/ref]

    Ditto.

     [/ref]

    Ditto.
     [/ref]

    Exactly.
     
    >
    > How do I set up one partition as MASTER? I know about HDs but, sorry,[/ref]

    He is introducing the word as a concept. He has explained what he
    means. Read it.
     

    No.
     [/ref]

    Exactly.
     
    >
    > Last question. When a linux is being installed, does it make itself
    > (its / partition) the MASTER? If yes, how can I tell it not to so I
    > can have one constant partition as MASTER?[/ref]

    Don't be (annoyingly) silly. Master is a concept, not a thing. Do you
    make yourself the MASTER, or are you the SLAVE?

    Peter
    P.T. Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    Hello

    P.T. Breuer (<it.uc3m.es>) wrote:
     
    >
    > You will want a common boot if you run many distros, since you will
    > want to use the same kernel for each.[/ref]

    Doing that will probably require some extra work. Some distros apply
    patches to their kernels that other distros do not apply, some use
    devfs, some don't. I remember that on some version of Mandrake (I think
    8.1 or 8.2), iptables did not work with self compiled kernels.
    Recompiling the iptables.src.rpm helped, but that recompiled version
    did not work with the Mandrake kernel (modules).

    best regards
    Andreas Janssen

    --
    Andreas Janssen
    com
    PGP-Key-ID: 0xDC801674
    Registered Linux User #267976
    Andreas Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Many (more than one) linux installations on a HD

    com (Chris Mantoulidis) wrote:
     
    >
    >Just to make things clear, I'll use them a LOT :)[/ref]

    Thats good!
     
    >
    >So probably I don't want a common /boot since I don't think I got a
    >problem. Thanks.[/ref]

    There have been a couple other arguments posted so you can make your
    own decision on this!
     
    >
    >How do I set up one partition as MASTER? I know about HDs but, sorry,
    >never done that with partitions. Do I edit /etc/mtab or something?[/ref]

    Thats the "manual" part I talked about, the "MASTER" partition is the
    one that ALWAYS boots, and when it boots it gives you the option to
    boot one of the others. The only other alternative to this is to make
    a boot floppy for each distribution that you install and use that.
     
    >
    >Last question. When a linux is being installed, does it make itself
    >(its / partition) the MASTER? If yes, how can I tell it not to so I
    >can have one constant partition as MASTER?[/ref]

    Each distribution that you install will makes its partition bootable
    (if you answer that question) and make it so the others will NOT boot.
    Its up to you to decide on which one you want to be your MASTER
    partition and manually edit its LILO or GRUB configuration and tell it
    about all the other distributions that you have installed. On
    subsequent re-boots it will provide a list of installed distributions
    and you either let the default one boot or select an alternative.
     

    No problem! Good luck!
    --
    ------------------------------------------------
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/dmitton
    SPAM Reduction: Remove "x." from my domain.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Doug Guest

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