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Most just want simple as possible. I understand that, but often it is not really enough. Yet to achieve more, you find out in other ways that maybe simple was just too simple, what we might call an over-simplification . Just your opinion and mine of course, but let's at least talk about it.
I am not an Linux expert, but I do tend to push the limits of what I know by trying different things, and thatx means more problems, questions, and and answers. Only the answers are not always what you want to accept, because they can really limit you.,wer out there.

And since it all centers around what you were trying to do in the first place, y,ou have t o start there.

My goal is to have three or more independent installs of Linux set up on one machine at the same time. There are advantages to doing this, such as ensuring that at least one is always in a state of being able to be booted into and brought up if need be. When others try things that do not go well, you have a way out. When something you try turns out to be very good, you can add it to this one install. And you are also that much further from just losing everything due to some error.

The installs can be of the same distribution, either the same or different versions, or several distributions just to see how they rate against each other. My present need is to work with at least two different distributions , each having Oracle's VirtualBox installed and copies of the same Windows' client added, to see if certain prroblems found might be tracked to either the host distributions or to VirtualBox. Then I might have a better idea of which support side to pass the problems to. Without this effort, each side can merely blame te other, and neither side really does anything.

Some problems will show up both ways, yet not be VirtualBasic related at all. These problems would just be characteristic of Linux and effect all distributions equally. They could be fixed, but it would mean the problem would have to be sent upstream to be addressed.

Within Ubuntu I found a problem that appeared over several versions, and I know this because at that time I was only using Ubuntu, and wanted to have the three most recent versions residing on the same PC. But every time I attempted this, one or more things would start to go wrong by the time I had the second or third install in place. Each install was of course on a different partition.

After many efforts, I found that a key factor seemed to be that no matter which partitons I designated, and which ones were suppose to be ignored, they seem to insist on sharing the contents, possibly just the configuration settings, stored in subfolders and files under the /home folder found on another partition from a previous install.  This is even if the partitioner is left to understand that it should not use any use of any other partitions besides the ones now designated as root and swap. And there is no way to force it to just create and use a new /home folder on its own and ignore any others. I mean it will do the former, making you think it is working as it should, but it still does the lattter. If you know enough to bring up each partition and rename /home if found there before doing the new install, then name it back after the install, you should be able to work around this. But you cannot rename the /home folder if on the partition now being designated to be root, because the installer will delete all folders and files on that partition automatically, except possibly for the one named /home.

Leaving /home on that partition is possible if you elect to continue using

the same file system type and not for format, because what it will do then is delete everything else except /home and all its contents.
That is suppose to be a good thing, and if it works, that is great.  But let's say that a configuration setting gets set wrong, possibly one that handles your screen video, and you are trying to revert the install back to the beginning and yet keep your data intact. Won't work/ Why? Because at least some of your configuration settings are stored in your user account under /home, and the installer will search for and make use of the same corrupted settings, meaning you are still messed up after the install. If you kn ow what you are doing, and where to do to do this, you can still boot up on the LiveCD to work around this, but I regard it as a definite limitation on what should be a good recovery option.

Right now I am struggling to have both Fedora 13 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS working on the same PC.

With different distributions involved, this is almost certainly not the place to share the same /home folder and contents. I can't say if it goes both ways, because the Legacy Grub install process with Fedora 13 forced me to install it first, then began with Ubuntu 9.04, whho
Legacy Grub, then progressed by stages through 9.10 up to 10.04,  which let me stay with Legacy Grub rather than forcing me to go to
Grub2, the boot loader provided in both 9.10 and 10.04.

Having now gotten both distribrutions installed on different partitions, even putting Fedora 13 on a third, I was not surprised at some overlap in configuration and the results of certain user actions.  What did get me is that the overlap between the two Fedora 13's was much more pronounced than between Ubuntu and Fedora. An example: I decided to change the background on the one on the third partition, and the one I selected then also showed up later on the first one when I went back to it.

I find this type of hidden consequence to be both a bit unsettling and a bit disturbing. If you had an office PC with Linux, and someone uses it during the day and another at night, but each booted to a different install on different drives which are suppose to be exclusive to that user, what are the chances that either might later find something on their drives that should not be there? And even if you decide to make sure each has their own PC, what assurance to you have that there isn't something else happening behind the scenes which might be as bad or worse?

Let me also note that what you download as a Linux Distro can be much more than that. The decision to keep root and super user from  GUI accees likely had its roots in avoiding something often criticized in Windows, which is presence of users with the power of root being  on the machine, but as with Windows, there are just times and circumstances were a super user or root is needed. This is because we all pretty much have to attend to our own PCs, and that is what it takes to do so. So what they have really done is just make it harder to act as either super user or root, and force you to take extra steps to do so. It might help keep some users at bay, even to preferring Windows in this regard, and it may serve to keep the occurances of some accidental events down, but it does little to help the administrative user, which is the category most of use likely feel we belong to.

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Comments about this article
It's very useful !
writen by: jellychen on 2010-08-05 22:25:08
It's very useful to me , wish you may share this information more. thank you!
RE: It's very useful ! written by jellychen:

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