single home partition multiple linuxs? - Setup

This is a discussion on single home partition multiple linuxs? - Setup ; I have several Linux versions installed on my 200 g hd. How I have done my partition table is to have a single swap for all distros and a root "/" for each distro. I also have a second 80g ...

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  1. single home partition multiple linuxs?

    I have several Linux versions installed on my 200 g hd. How I have done
    my partition table is to have a single swap for all distros and a root
    "/" for each distro. I also have a second 80g hard drive that I use for
    backing things up. In it I have 4 partitions that I use to back up
    things like:
    /home-slack /home/vector /home-suse /home-gentoo /home-mepis
    /home-debian and so-on. In these subs I copy my home stuff from each
    distro. I do this daily so if I screw up some distro and end up re
    installing it I have something to back the work I have done.
    I have been reading a lot of the ideas about partitioning a hard drive
    for Linux and many suggest I use a single swap and a single home
    partition. I don't see that really working as I think as I install each
    version of Linux each wants to make it's own /home sub or partition.
    I have looked at my partitions and at each of the /home subs and I see
    things in each are very different so if there is some advantage of
    having a single /home partition, I don't see it.
    There have also been many suggestions of having a single /boot partition
    and use it for all my distros. I use a non linux booter so I hardly see
    the advantage of this idea.
    I would like to be corrected and advised what I should do in this regard.
    I am a 70 year old retired guy and like to keep learning so I will try a
    lot of things. Any help or advice will be appreciated and considered.

  2. Re: single home partition multiple linuxs?

    On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 23:26:33 GMT, Leo wrote:
    > I have several Linux versions installed on my 200 g hd. How I have done
    > my partition table is to have a single swap for all distros and a root
    > "/" for each distro. I also have a second 80g hard drive that I use for
    > backing things up. In it I have 4 partitions that I use to back up
    > things like:
    > /home-slack /home/vector /home-suse /home-gentoo /home-mepis
    > /home-debian and so-on. In these subs I copy my home stuff from each
    > distro. I do this daily so if I screw up some distro and end up re
    > installing it I have something to back the work I have done.
    > I have been reading a lot of the ideas about partitioning a hard drive
    > for Linux and many suggest I use a single swap and a single home
    > partition. I don't see that really working as I think as I install each
    > version of Linux each wants to make it's own /home sub or partition.
    > I have looked at my partitions and at each of the /home subs and I see
    > things in each are very different so if there is some advantage of
    > having a single /home partition, I don't see it.


    You can have a seperate partition. It can be mounted as /home.
    All installations can have /home mounted.

    As you have seen, different distributions have different things which
    is ok. The problem is when different distributions have the same names
    for something like your desktop.

    For instance you use KDE as your desktop. ~/.kde may be clobbered when
    a new install login mangles the config files in ~/.kde.

    Another problem is the User ID (uid) and/or Group ID (gid) are
    different for a given release and/or distribution.

    My solution was to set my uid/gid to 1500:1500 in each distribution.
    Like your setup, each /home is under / and not a seperate partition.

    For common stuff shared accross distributions I created an /accounts
    partition and link each user account into it. Trimmed ls -al snippets follow:

    ..bash_logout -> /accounts/bittwister/.bash_logout
    bin -> /accounts/bittwister/bin/
    ..cron -> /accounts/bittwister/.cron
    ehumor -> /accounts/bittwister/ehumor
    jnewsrc -> /accounts/bittwister/.jnewsrc
    ..mozilla -> /accounts/bittwister/.mozilla
    ..signature -> /accounts/bittwister/.signature
    ..thunderbird -> /accounts/bittwister/.thunderbird/
    ..Xresources -> /accounts/bittwister/.Xresources

  3. Re: single home partition multiple linuxs?

    Bit Twister wrote:
    > On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 23:26:33 GMT, Leo wrote:
    >
    >>I have several Linux versions installed on my 200 g hd. How I have done
    >>my partition table is to have a single swap for all distros and a root
    >>"/" for each distro. I also have a second 80g hard drive that I use for
    >>backing things up. In it I have 4 partitions that I use to back up
    >>things like:
    >>/home-slack /home/vector /home-suse /home-gentoo /home-mepis
    >>/home-debian and so-on. In these subs I copy my home stuff from each
    >>distro. I do this daily so if I screw up some distro and end up re
    >>installing it I have something to back the work I have done.
    >>I have been reading a lot of the ideas about partitioning a hard drive
    >>for Linux and many suggest I use a single swap and a single home
    >>partition. I don't see that really working as I think as I install each
    >>version of Linux each wants to make it's own /home sub or partition.
    >>I have looked at my partitions and at each of the /home subs and I see
    >>things in each are very different so if there is some advantage of
    >>having a single /home partition, I don't see it.

    >
    >
    > You can have a seperate partition. It can be mounted as /home.
    > All installations can have /home mounted.
    >
    > As you have seen, different distributions have different things which
    > is ok. The problem is when different distributions have the same names
    > for something like your desktop.
    >
    > For instance you use KDE as your desktop. ~/.kde may be clobbered when
    > a new install login mangles the config files in ~/.kde.
    >
    > Another problem is the User ID (uid) and/or Group ID (gid) are
    > different for a given release and/or distribution.
    >
    > My solution was to set my uid/gid to 1500:1500 in each distribution.
    > Like your setup, each /home is under / and not a seperate partition.
    >
    > For common stuff shared accross distributions I created an /accounts
    > partition and link each user account into it. Trimmed ls -al snippets follow:
    >
    > .bash_logout -> /accounts/bittwister/.bash_logout
    > bin -> /accounts/bittwister/bin/
    > .cron -> /accounts/bittwister/.cron
    > ehumor -> /accounts/bittwister/ehumor
    > jnewsrc -> /accounts/bittwister/.jnewsrc
    > .mozilla -> /accounts/bittwister/.mozilla
    > .signature -> /accounts/bittwister/.signature
    > .thunderbird -> /accounts/bittwister/.thunderbird/
    > .Xresources -> /accounts/bittwister/.Xresources

    Thanks for the input. I think I will stay with what I am doing. It kinda looks
    like it is ok. When I started with Linux I was running Caldera and they only
    asked for the swap and root partitions. I switched to Slack and just kept doing
    the same. It works so maybe it is not so wrong.
    Thanks again for your input.


    --
    Leo (Bing) Whiteway in Kelowna, BC, Canada: Ham calls: VE7UW and VE7OKV
    A computer without Microsoft is like a chocolate cake without mustard.
    < running Linux >

  4. Re: single home partition multiple linuxs?

    On Tue, 24 Oct 2006 23:26:33 GMT Leo wrote:

    | I have several Linux versions installed on my 200 g hd. How I have done
    | my partition table is to have a single swap for all distros and a root
    | "/" for each distro. I also have a second 80g hard drive that I use for
    | backing things up. In it I have 4 partitions that I use to back up
    | things like:
    | /home-slack /home/vector /home-suse /home-gentoo /home-mepis
    | /home-debian and so-on. In these subs I copy my home stuff from each
    | distro. I do this daily so if I screw up some distro and end up re
    | installing it I have something to back the work I have done.
    | I have been reading a lot of the ideas about partitioning a hard drive
    | for Linux and many suggest I use a single swap and a single home
    | partition. I don't see that really working as I think as I install each
    | version of Linux each wants to make it's own /home sub or partition.
    | I have looked at my partitions and at each of the /home subs and I see
    | things in each are very different so if there is some advantage of
    | having a single /home partition, I don't see it.
    | There have also been many suggestions of having a single /boot partition
    | and use it for all my distros. I use a non linux booter so I hardly see
    | the advantage of this idea.
    | I would like to be corrected and advised what I should do in this regard.
    | I am a 70 year old retired guy and like to keep learning so I will try a
    | lot of things. Any help or advice will be appreciated and considered.

    I have a kernel hack which might be handy for you. What this hack does
    is add a new kernel command line (append) parameter called "rootdir".
    When "rootdir" is specified to a booting kernel with this hack applied,
    it will make the directory named by rootdir= be the / root directory
    when the init program is first started. It will then find everything
    down from there.

    This would allow you to have one big partition with multiple distributions.
    You could have that partition with various distribution names as its top
    level directory. Then when you want to boot into a different distribution
    you specify which one. For example, suppose you set up:

    /dev/hda1 = a small partition where the kernel and boot loader blocks are
    /dev/hda2 = swap partition
    /dev/hda3 = partition with several distributions
    /dev/hda4 = partition for home directory, personal files, download junk

    You could have in the filesystem on /dev/hda3 several directories:

    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 debian
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 gentoo
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 mepis
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 redhat
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 slack
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 suse
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 ubuntu
    drwxr-xr-x 20 root root 4096 Nov 8 19:16 vector

    To select which one to boot into, you give this kernel command line append
    string when booting:

    root=/dev/hda3 rootdir=/slack

    which would mount the "slack" directory as the / root directory.

    One hassle with this is doing the installs. Installers will typically
    not understand this arrangement. Some might let you target a directory
    to install into. What you can do is just install to the top directory
    of this (/dev/hda3 in the example) partition, then once that is all done,
    create its first level directory and move all the installed directories
    into it (with "mv" not "cp"). Of course you have to make sure the
    installer won't format the partition.

    One disadvantage is if you have to reformat that partition, it's a LOT of
    stuff to back up before doing it. If you make /dev/hda1 a small minimal
    runnable system with the tools suitable for backup, restore, and reformat,
    then you won't have to run a separate rescue/live CD to manage it.

    You can always gain access to the other distribution file tree by first
    mounting the device itself at some mount point within whichever one you
    are running, then cd (or chroot) into the directory within that mount
    point (though beware which of those tree you are running since if you
    delete files there you delete them relative to the running root, too).

    The source patch for this public domain kernel hack is:



    Or you can fetch it from one of these:

    http://phil.ipal.org/linux/kernel/pa...r-2.6.18.patch
    http://phil.ipal.org/linux/kernel/pa...-2.6.18.tar.gz

    MD5 checksums for the patch file and the compressed tarball containing it:

    75fdd5b236c45c3b1c6bf243cbf02558 rootdir-2.6.18/rootdir-2.6.18.patch
    585cbb63ec83b964c3d702c8b906c402 rootdir-2.6.18.tar.gz

    Licensing: public domain

    --
    |---------------------------------------/----------------------------------|
    | Phil Howard KA9WGN (ka9wgn.ham.org) / Do not send to the address below |
    | first name lower case at ipal.net / spamtrap-2006-11-11-1908@ipal.net |
    |------------------------------------/-------------------------------------|

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