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Hi, I've been reading several posts on this subject over the past day or two. I have a couple of questions and would greatly appreciate some direction. I think I ...
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  1. #1
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    Can multiboot distros share var,usr,swap,etc partitions?


    Hi,

    I've been reading several posts on this subject over the past day or two. I have a couple of questions and would greatly appreciate some direction.

    I think I would like to try installing the following on an 80 GB hard drive:
    Windows XP, Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, and FreeBSD. I'd also like to set up a web server and maybe an e-mail server. I've never installed linux before but my goal is to learn what I can.

    I've been reading about dividing up the partitions into /var, /usr, /usr/local,/swap.../home and I want to ask what, if anything, I can reuse between OSes. If I install those 5 OSes I mentioned, will I have any space left for my files, including the web server database? I need to designate enough space for the OS-specific applications, correct?...what would be a reasonable amount of space for each?

    THANKS
    Jeff

  2. #2
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    Unfortunately no! I learned that the hard way. I actually only tried sharing the Home directory, and the permissions problems that arose were just out of this world. I ended up having to reinstall the other distro and I'm still having problems. Ended up that one distro didn't have permission to write, and some times read, certain directories and files.

  3. #3
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    I'm not sure I agree with you bidi. Have a look here. She describes how to partition your drive to use multiple versions of linux and share your data between them, including sharing single installations of open office, firefox, etc. between them. She also lets you know how to sort out hte permissions issues that might have been bothering you, bidi.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolloy
    Have a look here.
    Hmmm, sounds interesting! I didn't read the whole thing, but it's definately worth a better look.

  5. #5
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    For excellent background information, see Linux-Filesystem-Hierarchy at The Linux Documentation Project. It explains the reasoning behind the directory tree and more. There are a few threads on these forums that discussed this question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_T
    If I install those 5 OSes I mentioned, will I have any space left for my files....
    80Gb/5=16Gb each. Yeah, there's room. A decent Linux install will take a total of 5-10Gb depending on how many/what applications you load. How many copies of Open Office dot Org do you need?... Put Windows on the first partition, a /boot partition on the second, swap on the 3rd and whatever else after that. /boot can be 50Mb or smaller, with the bootloader script for all OSs. You have the choice of putting the kernel for your first distro in the /boot partition and then chainloading all other distros, or you could keep all kernels and initrds in the one /boot partition. Swap should definitely be shared by all distros, with no problem.
    /IMHO
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    ///this use to look better

  6. #6
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    Yes. /home is a very good idea to share. It will save a lot of time on configuring your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th OS. /var isn't used by many things, so just forget it. /usr is a bad idea because that's where many non-essential binaries are, and overwriting them with different versions could cause problems. However since /usr/local is where you should install things, you can make a partition for it, although many precompiled binaries are complied to go into /usr, so it isn't much use, if you want to use binaries such as RPMs and DEBs. /swap isn't a directory. Swap space isn't mounted onto the directory tree, but still used. It's safe to make a swap partition about the size of your RAM. You also might want to make a small (<1GB) /boot partition, so if you don't like the OS that has your bootloader's files, it's easy to get rid of it.

    Make sure the lines in /etc/passwd for root and your nomal user are the same on every OS, otherwise you won't be able to have write permission.

    1. Winxp-Make sure you install this first on the master partition.
    2. Debian-This can be really hard to install, but is great if you install all you want.
    3. Slackware-This isn't for newbs; it leaves you to do a lot of the work.
    4. Gentoo-Be prepared to wait several hours to install.
    5. FreeBSD-Try PC-BSD instead. I've heard FreeBSD isn't very user-friendly and PC-BSD is just a user-friendly version of FreeBSD.

    You're likely not gonna like one of those. I suggest trying Fedora Core onto the space of the OS you didn't like. FC's the most user-friendly distro I've tried.


    Remember though that your hardware might just not work with some OSs.

    Have fun in freedom with GNU/Linux and BSD

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing
    /home is a very good idea to share.... /var isn't used by many things, so just forget it.
    In other threads here, experienced users have discouraged sharing /home because of potential conflicts in settings for the same application run in different distros. I think the best way to address that is to keep the minimum amount of stuff in /home/yourname and keep personal files in a separate partition which could mounted under /home/yourname and then shared among distros.

    As I recall, Linux-Filesyatem-Hierarchy says that /var is used for compiling so it should be of adequate size, especially for the Gentoo install, where everything is compiled in situ. Maybe it can be erased and shared as required?

    All of a thing's other points are very well put.
    /IMHO
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