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When installing multiple distros in one system, there can be lots of duplication of files, particularly in applications. I'm wondering what partitions may be safely and effectively shared by multiple ...
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  1. #1
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    What partitions can be shared between distros?


    When installing multiple distros in one system, there can be lots of duplication of files, particularly in applications. I'm wondering what partitions may be safely and effectively shared by multiple distros for the purpose of reducing duplication while maintaining the integrity and the maintainability of the systems.

    Say, for example, I wanted to install Fedora, Suse, Gentoo and Debian in one system:

    • Is it okay to have a single shared /boot directory, of course with a different kernel for each distro?

      Is there any problem with having a single /home partition with a single /home/user directory for each user without conflict?

      Finally, is there any problem with sharing a /usr partition? This is important because of the potential size of /usr as well as convenience in installing a given application once and having it available to other distros.


    I guess the big issues would be in configuration files and differences that may exist between distros in files with identical names and perhaps with the way the distros internally manage or monitor files and the way they are updated or installed. Are there differences in internal "user" and "group" ids between distros: I'm refering to users like operator, rpc and rpm?

    All insights appreciated.
    /IMHO
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  2. #2
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    swap is safe to share. generally, /home is safe to share. personally, i wouldn't do any more than that though. i don't see how there would be any way to share /usr between distros, good luck with that. you could maybe share /tmp as some distros just delete the contents of it after a reboot anyways.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru dylunio's Avatar
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    As for /home, there are hidden files which are configured with e.g. suse, but when you load Fedora fo instence, the configuration will be for suse so it will change it to a Fedora configuration, this could cause trouble;

    dylunio
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    Linux Guru sarumont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylunio
    As for /home, there are hidden files which are configured with e.g. suse, but when you load Fedora fo instence, the configuration will be for suse so it will change it to a Fedora configuration, this could cause trouble;

    dylunio
    I'm not sure that Fedora would overwrite your config files in /home.

    /boot and swap are fine to share. I wouldn't try /usr...bad things will happen. /home? I've heard that it's fine, but my suggestion is to keep a good backup of your /home while you test it out.
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    Linux Guru dylunio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarumont
    Quote Originally Posted by dylunio
    As for /home, there are hidden files which are configured with e.g. suse, but when you load Fedora fo instence, the configuration will be for suse so it will change it to a Fedora configuration, this could cause trouble;

    dylunio
    I'm not sure that Fedora would overwrite your config files in /home.
    This is the threat I remembered on the topic of sharing /home http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/top...tml&highlight=

    dylunio
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  7. #6
    Linux Guru sarumont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dylunio
    Quote Originally Posted by sarumont
    Quote Originally Posted by dylunio
    As for /home, there are hidden files which are configured with e.g. suse, but when you load Fedora fo instence, the configuration will be for suse so it will change it to a Fedora configuration, this could cause trouble;

    dylunio
    I'm not sure that Fedora would overwrite your config files in /home.
    This is the threat I remembered on the topic of sharing /home http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/top...tml&highlight=

    dylunio
    Ahh...yeah. Running the same apps in both distros could have an adverse affect on your configs. Most programs, however, use the settings in your ~/.* rather than overwrite them (even on a fresh install). Case in point: uninstalling and re-installing with /home isolated. All programs, once re-installed, use the same settings rather than overwrite them.
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