Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (770 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Installing multiple operating systems on same HDD
On 2012/08/12 19:20 (GMT+1000) Basil Chupin composed:

On 12/08/12 16:53, Felix Miata wrote: is a single HD layout
designed for 4 distros plus both Windows and DOS and a huge partition
for A/V files.

That URL is what was a prelimininary layout for that system. is the current more self-explanatory one for the same system. is a single HD layout
designed for Windows and Dos and 9 Linux distros on a much smaller HD. is a single HD layout
designed for Windows and Dos and 19 Linux distros on a much smaller
HD, with freespace remaining to add several more.

Many thanks for this, Felix. I like it. The first option will do me
quite nicely as I cannot see myself installing more than 2 copies of
openSUSE and then 2 other distros just to keep in touch with other
attempts at getting Linux to the world :-) . What I want to set up then
is this on one HDD:


openSUSE 12.2

openSUSE 12.1 (which will be replaced by 12.3 when it is starts to take



But I am trying to come to grips with what is shown in the first URL you

I think it is pretty clear to me that sdc7 to and including sdc10
contain the 4 Linux distros, and sdc16 contains the A/V files. I am also
assuming that sdc11, 12 and 13 are partitions for the Windows installation.

I am also assuming that sdc2 is the active partition for Windows where
the NTLDR will go, and that sdc3 is the common /boot partition for the 4
Linux distros.

It's a single HD system. There is no sdc. 1 is C: for Windows. 2 is FreeDOS's C:. 3 is realboot for Grub Legacy, and active, as indicated by the ">" in the first chart column.

But what are sdc14 and especially sdc15 which is only 1GB big?

/home and /usr/local. The latter is where I unpack's Firefox and SeaMonkey devel and legacy builds, and DFSee.

From the above (first URL example) I am concluding that what I should
be doing is:

a. create a 500MB Primary partition with 32FAT to act as C:/ for Windows
and which I will make ACTIVE;

You probably only want it active while installing Windows, unless you plan to chainload from NTLDR to your master Grub or other Grubs on every boot. If it's not active when you begin Windows installation, it will be when it's over, until you switch it back.

500M is on the tiny side for XP's operating files, probably too small. Around 40M is enough for its boot files and temporary installation files. 3GB or more is what XP needs for the OS, paging and basic software, but with 4G of real RAM it will always be virtually void of freespace due to XP's brain dead calculation of needed paging space. You'll want to disable its paging, or set it to a minimal size, if you're not going to give it a much bigger operating partition.

b. create a 200MB Primary partition called /boot formatted ext3 for use
by Linux distros;

Not an entirely good plan:

1-This should be your master Grub.

2-Journalizing /boot is all but pointless. The only times it gets written are Grub updates, kernel updates, and initrd updates. The rest of the time it amounts to a readonly filesystem, and then even reads are infrequent.

3-For the initial Linux installation mounting on /boot would be fine, but once you're ready to install others, you want the first distro's /boot files on the / partition. On this your master Grub you will be the menu.lst maintainer. You don't want multiple distros' kernel updates rearranging it on their own. So you will be mounting it elsewhere. Try /bootmaster, /disks/realboot, /mnt/mastergrub or whatever suits your thinking. Then copy its grub directory content and message file to /boot on that first distro's /, and move the rest there, so that it can continue to be properly maintained by the distro. At that time /etc/grub.conf will need to be updated to the new location, then Grub (re)installed accordingly.

4-The size it needs to be depends on how many kernels and initrds you plan to keep there. 200M is good for a large bunch of installation kernels and initrds, but if you only plan on 4 distros at most, you won't be using very much of 200M. You could instead mount it to /usr/local and make it do dual duty as realboot and home software from outside the package management system that you use in more than one of the distros, if you do any of the latter. If so you'd probably want it to be more than 200M.

What I do on a new disk is extract a tarball of message and boot/grub to the new master boot partition, "installing" Grub there via a live Knoppix boot and the Grub shell. Then the installation of the first Linux goes directly and exclusively to the target logical partition without ever needing a separate /boot partition to later need to reconfigure.

c. create an Extended partition from the remaining space, and then
create within this logical drives for-

1. swap (common to all distros) of 4GB;

2. partition for oS12.2;

3. partition for oS 12.1;

4. partition for Distro-1;

Seems more like distro 3. :-p

5. partition for Distro-2.

Now, installing XP is not a hassle, and installing oS 12.2 is OK as well
- I assume I install grub legacy to the common /boot; and I then also
install the subsequent distros to /boot as well - is this correct? In
your URL example above, this common /boot would be (your) sdc3, correct?

sda3: master/real/global boot, home to master Grub, chainloader of Windows and other Grubs. Not common /boot. Independent real boot not mounted to /boot. It would become a tangled unusable mess if it was shared by multiple distros. Its use is to chainload to the Grub on each installed distro, and to XP. You can also copy individual stanzas from those menu.lsts or create them from grub.cfgs into its menu.lst to bypass actually using other Grubs, saving a bit of boot time at the expense of adding each new one and manually keeping up to date those for any distros that don't maintain symlinks from their latest kernels to vmlinuz.
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata ***
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