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I could use some feedback on this. I've got a switching drive controller in my main (presently my only) box. Recently I've been thinking about putting it to use by ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! questio verum's Avatar
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    Pondering multi-distro drive configuration


    I could use some feedback on this.

    I've got a switching drive controller in my main (presently my only) box. Recently I've been thinking about putting it to use by loading a handful of distros on their own separate drive for testing. My thinking is, this will make comparisons easier and less time consuming. (LiveCD's are nice, but they're slow, lack persistance, and are a hassle to keep configured to personal tastes.) Since I have the switching drive controller I can keep my existing install of Kubuntu tucked safely away on its own drive while I play with what may or may not be its eventual replacement.

    What I'm concerned about is getting the various distros to play nice together. I've heard that Sabayon (which I'm considering) and Debian (which I'm also considering) will sometimes crater each others' boot loader upon install. I've heard that Sabayon & Ubuntu can also have a similar problem when installed together. I have no idea how extensive these problems might be. I'm going on purely anecdotal information here.

    The distros I'm currently considering for this little flirtation with chaos are (all x86 flavors): Debian 4.0 (Etch), Sabayon 3.4F, Arch Linux 2007.08-2, Smoothwall Express 3.0, probably some flavor of FreeBSD. They probably won't all occupy the drive at the same time, but more likely will appear and disappear at whim and be replaced by other distros in time.

    If I do this, is there anything I can do to reduce the probability of problems, like the one I mentioned? How many os'es can the average bootloader contend with before it's time to whack the drive and start over? Is any one bootloader more robust than the others?

    THX

    qv

  2. #2
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by questio verum View Post
    I could use some feedback on this.

    I've got a switching drive controller in my main (presently my only) box. Recently I've been thinking about putting it to use by loading a handful of distros on their own separate drive for testing. My thinking is, this will make comparisons easier and less time consuming. (LiveCD's are nice, but they're slow, lack persistance, and are a hassle to keep configured to personal tastes.) Since I have the switching drive controller I can keep my existing install of Kubuntu tucked safely away on its own drive while I play with what may or may not be its eventual replacement.

    What I'm concerned about is getting the various distros to play nice together. I've heard that Sabayon (which I'm considering) and Debian (which I'm also considering) will sometimes crater each others' boot loader upon install. I've heard that Sabayon & Ubuntu can also have a similar problem when installed together. I have no idea how extensive these problems might be. I'm going on purely anecdotal information here.

    The distros I'm currently considering for this little flirtation with chaos are (all x86 flavors): Debian 4.0 (Etch), Sabayon 3.4F, Arch Linux 2007.08-2, Smoothwall Express 3.0, probably some flavor of FreeBSD. They probably won't all occupy the drive at the same time, but more likely will appear and disappear at whim and be replaced by other distros in time.

    If I do this, is there anything I can do to reduce the probability of problems, like the one I mentioned? How many os'es can the average bootloader contend with before it's time to whack the drive and start over? Is any one bootloader more robust than the others?

    THX

    qv
    Keep a backup copy of your current bootloader config files, and you don't have to install a bootloader every time you install a new distro, just edit your bootloader to include the new distro. Also, you can use the same /swap partition, no need to create a /swap for each distro, the same goes for /home, but you will need to create separate subdirectories like /home/mike for one distro and /home/mike2 for the next distro
    I think grub might be the better bootloader, but that's just an opinion.
    Good Luck
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