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Hi, i currently have three distros on one large hard drive, Suse 9.3, Mandriva 2005LE and Gentoo 2005.1. i'm thinking i may install more distros in the near futur...because i ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    sharing /home between distros?


    Hi,
    i currently have three distros on one large hard drive, Suse 9.3, Mandriva 2005LE and Gentoo 2005.1.

    i'm thinking i may install more distros in the near futur...because i love variety... and i'm begining to find it annoying to have a /home directory for each distro and having to mount each of these in each distro to transfer files. and then there's the issue of wasted space...

    i'm wondering if it's a good idea to use the same /home partition for each of the three (or more) distros?

    what kinds of things should i watch out for? what could go wrong?
    thanks
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  2. #2
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    I don't think...

    IMHO, I don't think it's a good idea...

    Think about programs that uses hidden directories to store personal settings and something like that...
    Different program versions can handle in different way your user program files (even different binary packages can handle in different ways!!!).
    If you use different distros, probably they have different program versions. Maybe everything works, but because user preferences are stored all in the same way for different program versions...

    However programs doesn't change their formats in each version, so probably everything will go well...

    However you can share the same /home directory using different user name for each distro... this could be a good solution...
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  3. #3
    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    Re: I don't think...

    Quote Originally Posted by burnit
    ...However you can share the same /home directory using different user name for each distro... this could be a good solution...
    currently i have the same username for each distro. but what if i used the same /home partition but for each of my users, gave it a different home directory?
    for example:

    in suse:
    -username: me
    -home folder: /home/me

    in mandriva:
    -username: me
    -username: /home/me2

    in gentoo:
    -username: me
    -username: /home/me3

    would that work?
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  4. #4
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    Seems like it should work in theory. But if you're going to give them different subdirectories anyway, why bother with having them share /home?

  5. #5
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    I've shared a home directory between distros. It saved quite a lot of time. The worst problem was not having some kicker applets installed in one distro.

  6. #6
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    And how did it save time? I'm very curious.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by anomie
    And how did it save time? I'm very curious.
    if you have like your irssi config file set up
    you dont need to re make it etc, same with folders for like xmms themes etc etc

  8. #8
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    Re: I don't think...

    Quote Originally Posted by jpalfree
    currently i have the same username for each distro. but what if i used the same /home partition but for each of my users, gave it a different home directory?
    I think that's a clever solution and I think it would work fine. Of course you would have another directory under /home/ for storing files that you create or whatever as opposed to files created by the OS and that directory would be shared by each of the "users". The hard part is that during an install, the OS would need to disregard that /home partition so it won't get over-written. After installation you would move the /home/user directory in your newest OS into a new directory in the /home partition so that the /home directory would simply be a mountpoint for the /home partition.

    Another alternative is simply to have a personal files partition that you would mount to your /home/currentuser directory, making sure that things get stored under /home/currentuser/personalstuff and not under /home/currentuser where they would not be accessible from another distro.
    /IMHO
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  9. #9
    Linux Newbie jpalfree's Avatar
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    for some reason i'm having a bit of trouble with my solution...

    i have copied "/home/me" in gentoo (sda9) to my suse home partition: "/home/me_gentoo" (which is really "sda7/me_gentoo")

    I then changed my gentoo user to have the home directory "/home/me_gentoo".

    then in /etc/fstab added:
    /dev/sda7 /home/me_gentoo reiserfs defaults,noatime 0 0

    then rebooted

    things were strange... gdm didn't automatically log me in to kde... instead it was a different gui that i'm not familiar with... also before getting to this gui, there was some popup window with buttons like "load session" "save session" etc... i don't know what this was all about...

    i changed my home directory back and commented out the fstab entry... and now everything is as it was before.

    could someone explain what is going on?
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  10. #10
    Linux Guru anomie's Avatar
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    if you have like your irssi config file set up
    you dont need to re make it etc, same with folders for like xmms themes etc etc
    So this assumes you're using same software / versions across all distros, no?

    Also, this is not really applicable for the OP who is looking into different user directories under /home for each.

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