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hello, i have many questions, but first a bit of an explination... firstly, i have a new computer and (with a bit of trouble) successfully dual booted Fedora core 4 ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    Of partitioning, SUSE and Mandriva...


    hello, i have many questions, but first a bit of an explination...

    firstly, i have a new computer and (with a bit of trouble) successfully dual booted Fedora core 4 and mandriva 2005 (10.2). but i have no internet connection on that computer and fedora is being annoying so i have decided to put on SUSE 9.3 since i hear it is quite complete.

    What i'd like to do:
    In the end, i'd like to have SUSE 9.3, Mandriva 2005, and another distro to play around with (possibly slackware or gentoo. i'm up for suggestions) all coexisting and nicely partitioned on a 160GB SATA hard drive.

    although i am familliar with how to partition, i don't know all the details. I know that one is only allowed four primary partitions, so is there a limit to the number of OSs you can put on a hard drive?

    as for setting up the partitions, i know that you can share swap between distros, and the swap should be near the edge of the hard drive along with the /boot partition. but how would i set up the rest since that is two primary partitions gone already?

    i also havn't decided on a third distro, so can i just leave a chunk of free space to allow for the installation of a third distro at a later date?

    whew, thanks for reading my novel :S, hopefully i can get help clearing these things up.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Re: Of partitioning, SUSE and Mandriva...

    Quote Originally Posted by jpalfree
    I know that one is only allowed four primary partitions, so is there a limit to the number of OSs you can put on a hard drive?
    Not that I'm aware of; a guy I work with has upwards of 16 different Linux distributions on his home computer. I think the trick for him was to not make them all primary (the first 4 were primary, the rest were logical), but I could be wrong so don't quote me on that.

    i also havn't decided on a third distro, so can i just leave a chunk of free space to allow for the installation of a third distro at a later date?
    That's a good idea. Most distros offer a "use existing free space" option.
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  3. #3
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    It is limited.
    IDE: Max 63 (4 primary/extended and 59 logical)
    SCSI: Max 11 or 27

    This is also kernel/OS related(this example counts for Linux and mostly means the amount of partition devices the kernel can make).

    PS: This could be outdated though... (however, it's still the kernel that mathers)

  4. #4
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    I have five partitions and a swap going:

    hda1 Windows XP
    hda3 Ubuntu
    hda5 FAT32 for files
    hda6 free space to try out new distros
    hda7 swap
    hda8 Mepis

    I'm not sure which are primary and which are logical, but it all works...

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    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu
    I have five partitions and a swap going:

    hda1 Windows XP
    hda3 Ubuntu
    hda5 FAT32 for files
    hda6 free space to try out new distros
    hda7 swap
    hda8 Mepis

    I'm not sure which are primary and which are logical, but it all works...
    hda1, hda2 hda3 and hda4 are primary(in your case hda1 and hda3) hda5 and abover are logical(in your case hda5 6 7 and 8 ).

  6. #6
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification. I don't know much about partitions. I just know you can definitely have three or more OSes on one hard drive. My hard drive is 160 GB.

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    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    i also heard about making seperate partitions for directories like / , /home, /tmp, /var....
    what is the deal with that?
    I tried it when installing FC4 and mandriva... it seemed to work fine...

    also, while installing, will i have to specify the swap partition the distros should use? since last time i told mandriva to install into free space and it created it's own swap... bad, mandriva. bad.

    and perhaps i'm mistaken, but isn't one of the primary partitions used when you make logical volumes?

  8. #8
    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    does anyone have answers to my previous post?

    and does anyone have any general tips on installing several distros?

  9. #9
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    General tips, you can use the same swap for multiple distributions, having a separate /home/ partition can be good, particularly if you want to share it or you just want extra safety in case you have to reinstall the OS (that way you don't have to wipe your /home/ partition, just point the new OS to it.)

    As for the logical/primary partitioning thing... I honestly don't know. I usually don't have that many partitions on one drive.
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    so I'm clear... someone correct me if I'm wrong. Swap partition can be shared between multiple installs of linux - OK got that. what about /boot and /home? For example, could you use the same /boot, swap and /home for 3 versions of linux and have a hdd partitioned like this:

    | /boot | swap | /home | / (FC4) | / (Debian) | / (Ubuntu) |

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