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Hello. I have an HD with Windows and is FAT32 formated, and I'll get a second HD (120GB) on which I want to do the following: - hdb1: 60GB for ...
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  1. #1
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    Idea of installing several distros: SAFE?


    Hello. I have an HD with Windows and is FAT32 formated, and I'll get a second HD (120GB) on which I want to do the following:

    - hdb1: 60GB for my files (could be ext3, since I use that Windows software who makes reading/writing over ext3 possible; but I'd make it FAT32 without a problem).
    - hdb2: 1GB /boot partition. Yes, quite big for it, but I'd like to have a small distro installed there (Damn Small Linux maybe) just in case I run into problems on the other linux root partitions.
    - hdb3: 1.5GB swap: obvious thing needed.
    - hdb4: 15GB /opt partition: so I can install software in there to have common use between my linux distros.
    - hdb5: about 15GB to install and run K/Ubuntu.
    - hdb6: about 15GB to install Arch Linux.
    - hdb7: about 10GB to test random linux distros.

    I don't realy need a /home partition, as my peronal files will all be in hdb1.

    Is this a good setup? Ideas, thoughts? Is it SAFE?

    I already use Ubuntu (Dapper) on my slave HD which will get retired as soon as I get the new HD.

    Now, a question... Yes, I can boot from Ubuntu LiveCD and do the formating and partitioning I want, before starting the "fun". Noting that I have Windows installed (hda1) and want to keep it, what is the best order to install my stuff? Arch first (with /boot on hdb2), then DSL then Ubuntu? Or does the order realy matter anyway?

    GRUB should also be installed on hdb2 (ie: hd1,1)?

    Any comments are more than welcome, by the way. Not only regarding install tips but also my idea.

    Thank you all for the patience!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    - hdb3: 1.5GB swap: obvious thing needed.
    its good setup except SWAP space. how much RAM do you have? you dont need 1.5GB swap space under any circumstances. if you have 1GB or more RAM, swap space is not required. for 512 MB RAM, 750 SWAP space is enough.

    Now, a question... Yes, I can boot from Ubuntu LiveCD and do the formating and partitioning I want, before starting the "fun". Noting that I have Windows installed (hda1) and want to keep it, what is the best order to install my stuff? Arch first (with /boot on hdb2), then DSL then Ubuntu? Or does the order realy matter anyway?
    install any distro in any order. it doesn't matter.

    GRUB should also be installed on hdb2 (ie: hd1,1)?
    unplug Windows disk during Linux installation. edit grub.conf/menu.lst file for dual boot later on. check this link. if anything goes wrong during Linux installation, Windows disk will be safe.




    Good Luck !
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    Linux Guru sdousley's Avatar
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    With trying to do stuff like this, the best one to install first (IMO) is the one that forces you to install a boot loader. Then if the other 2 dont force you to, do them later. This is simply because all you really need to do is boot into the one that grub is installed in, edit the grub.conf to include the relevent entries for the other 2, and there you have it. The other way to do it is to install a boot loader for each, and copy the relevent lines out of the grub.conf so you have a record. Then just take the 2 lines from the first 2 installed, put them in the grub.conf for the 3rd linux, and copy them into the grub.conf.

    The order that you install them will not make any difference on the actual running of the system (that i can think of).

    As for using a shared /boot. I would think this would work, I cant see any particular reason this wouldn't work, but I could easily be wrong saying this.

    As for the suze of the partitions, I am not so sure about the 1.5GB swap partition. That seems rather excessive to me. I have 1GB of ram, and 512 swap, and i rarely ever use the swap space (under the usage of apps that dont rape the memory like firefox and some other apps.) Close them, the swap space is never used. Also, if possible, put the SWAP partition nearer the start of the disk, this, i believe, will slightly improve performance when accesing the swap.
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    Thank you all for the excellent answers! I will make best use of them, and of course come back here after I do the dirty work a few weeks from now.

    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    its good setup except SWAP space. how much RAM do you have? you dont need 1.5GB swap space under any circumstances. if you have 1GB or more RAM, swap space is not required. for 512 MB RAM, 750 SWAP space is enough.
    Right, I have 512 RAM. Good to know I don't need that much swap.


    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    unplug Windows disk during Linux installation. edit grub.conf/menu.lst file for dual boot later on. check this link. if anything goes wrong during Linux installation, Windows disk will be safe.
    Hmmm... Just read that. Yes, some dirty tricks like that may work fine! I think I'll do that. Great one!


    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    Good Luck !
    casper
    Thanks! Now I won't need too much luck on that, I guess.


    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    With trying to do stuff like this, the best one to install first (IMO) is the one that forces you to install a boot loader. Then if the other 2 dont force you to, do them later. This is simply because all you really need to do is boot into the one that grub is installed in, edit the grub.conf to include the relevent entries for the other 2, and there you have it.
    Okay, I think I will combine this strategy with the "unplugging Windows" one. Yes, good advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    The order that you install them will not make any difference on the actual running of the system (that i can think of).
    I really don't think also that the running of the system would be affected by order, only boot issues. That's why I asked about tips for the order.


    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    As for using a shared /boot. I would think this would work, I cant see any particular reason this wouldn't work, but I could easily be wrong saying this.
    In fact it was on another forum that I read someone advicing to use a shared /boot. And yes, I posted the same questions on other linux forum, in search for answers. As we say here, the doubt of a man can be the solution for another man.


    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    As for the suze of the partitions, I am not so sure about the 1.5GB swap partition. That seems rather excessive to me. I have 1GB of ram, and 512 swap, and i rarely ever use the swap space (under the usage of apps that dont rape the memory like firefox and some other apps.) Close them, the swap space is never used. Also, if possible, put the SWAP partition nearer the start of the disk, this, i believe, will slightly improve performance when accesing the swap.
    All right, good.

    - - - - - - - - -

    In fact, I almost decided to drop the separate /opt partition out of the scheme: seems not to be a good idea, according to some people I talked to. Anyway, since I have enough space to kill and want to play a bit, let's see what happens.

    Just something I forgot to ask about... Does it make difference that the partitions be logical or extended? Which is the recommended?

    Now I'm only in the planning part; the new HD I'll have in a few weeks. But thank you all for the help and advice: I will come back if I have new ideas, and of course after the job is done (or during it!).

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    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Does it make difference that the partitions be logical or extended? Which is the recommended?
    its not possible to create more than four Primary partitions.

    check this partition structure.
    hdb1 ... Primary FAT32 for sharing data between Windows and Linux.
    hdb2 ... Extended... Whole disk space.
    you can shrink Extended any time to create Primary partition but i think you wont need any. there wont be any hdb3 and hdb4 coz these are reserved for Primary Partitions.
    hdb5 ... SWAP space
    hdb6 ... First Linux Distro
    hdb7 ... Second Distro and so on...

    no need to create /boot partition. all distros creates only two partitions. / (root) and Swap.
    a few exceptions, Fedora creates separate /boot partition by default and SuSe creates separate /home partition.
    you can override default partition structure. for each distro, create / (root) partition only and share existing SWAP space.





    casper
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    Linux Guru sdousley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    you can override default partition structure. for each distro, create / (root) partition only and share existing SWAP space.
    Personally i tend to create a seperate /home partition, and a seperate /boot partition. This is mainly because of what i use. I use gentoo, so creating a seperate /boot partition means that (usually) i can keep the kernel image there, and reinstall from scratch and not need to go through the kernel configuration and compilation stages.

    As for the /home partition, I keep this seperate as any reinstall means that i do not have to reformat the /home partition, so i can keep personal settings for programs, and also my own personal documents.

    As for sharing a /home partition, i suppose this is possible, but it would probably not really be advised due to permissions on the filesystem.
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  8. #7
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    This is mainly because of what i use. I use gentoo, so creating a seperate /boot partition means that (usually) i can keep the kernel image there, and reinstall from scratch and not need to go through the kernel configuration and compilation stages.
    this is true and feasible for Gentoo and Fedora only. even in Fedora, you have to edit a lot of files to make it work. this is not advisable to *newbies*.
    in SuSe, Ubuntu and most of other distros, its not possible to keep kernel image in boot partition and re-install/compile everything from scratch around it. correct me if i am wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by sdousley
    As for sharing a /home partition, i suppose this is possible, but it would probably not really be advised due to permissions on the filesystem.
    i agree ! i didn't recommend separate 'home' partition only coz of this reason.





    casper
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  9. #8
    Linux Guru sdousley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    in SuSe, Ubuntu and most of other distros, its not possible to keep kernel image in boot partition and re-install/compile everything from scratch around it. correct me if i am wrong.
    Well, you can keep the kernel images in /boot, but with distro's like SuSE, ubunto, fedora etc, there's not a lot of point since they come with bog standard kernels that support most hardware through modules.

    If however you have created your own custom kernels more specific to your hardware, then it would make it more worthwhile doing this.


    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    i agree ! i didn't recommend separate 'home' partition only coz of this reason.
    For multi-distro installs, it is possible to do this, you just have to be careful of the users that are on the system. Most home systems, this probably wont be an issue because the average home user will probably have only the default users (root etc) and then an extra user for standard use. If this is the case, then shared /home shouldn' t be an issue (again, correct me if i'm wrong!)
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  10. #9
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Well, you can keep the kernel images in /boot, but with distro's like SuSE, ubunto, fedora etc, there's not a lot of point since they come with bog standard kernels that support most hardware through modules.
    If however you have created your own custom kernels more specific to your hardware, then it would make it more worthwhile doing this.
    correct ! point is, we are suggesting partition structure to a newbie here and lets keep it as simple as possible.





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  11. #10
    Linux Guru sdousley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devils_casper
    correct ! point is,
    Now taken hehe
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