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install 2 or more flavors of Linux on same HDD , on diffrent partitions


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#1 soodrishi

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 03:14 PM

I need to install fedora core 3 ,fedora core 4 , suse 9.3 , Suse 10 , RH WS 4.0 RH WS 3.0 . I have only 3 HDD's available with me of 40 GB each .
Can anyone help me in instaling these 6 diffrent flavours of diffrent version of Linux on 3 HDD.
Plz guide me to instalation by proper steps and commands I need to add after instalation to get my boot menu to displaay 2 diffrent versions of Linux on same HDD.



#2 danleff

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 06:44 PM

I'm not sure why you would want to do this and would not recommend it. I can say this from experience.

I have found that the different distros do not always have 100% compatibility with each other, in terms of each distro being able to set up partitions correctly that will be easily recognized during each subsequent installation.

The best way to do more than two distros is to pre-format your partitions before doing all the installations, with a partitioning utility like PartitionMagic.

You can also do the preformatting with a Live CD distro, like Mepis, using qtparted. in other words, don't allow each distro installation to do the partitioning for you, even in expert mode.

You have been warned!

How to do it depends on your level of experience with Linux and manipulating the grub bootloader.

The subject is much too long to post directions on such a thread. but...

1. If you decide to just install 2 distros on one hard drive (the easiest way), just do the installations in order of what distro that you want to have as your main distro. Your main distro is installed last, allowing grub to be your bootloader. I would install the newest version that you have last, which should allow it to pick up the previous installation and add it to grub for you.

2. If you install multiple distros on more than one drive, the same rule applies. Also, make sure that you have swap space on each drive. Why? In case one hard drive goes south, you still have an intact swap space on another drive.

3. Make sure that you keep track of where each distro is installed. Write down what partition thate each is installed to. If something goes wrong, you can easily identify where your distros are and rescue the missing distro.

4. Remember, if you allow grub to be installed during each installation, your previous grub is gone. This is not always clear during each distro installation. It is easy to miss unchecking the option not to install grub, say if you want to keep the grub of a previous installation. Of course, you need to add the new distro to your previous grub that you want to keep, manually. For this reason, you need to become expert with grub. This is also why you install your main distro last. That way, it picks up all previous installations (hopefully) and adds them to the new grub file.

5. If you are not good at manipulating grub, again install grub of your main disto last, as your previous distros should be picked up. in a muli-disk installation, where you have distros installed on different hard drives. The last grub will also map each distro that it finds on the other hard drives and partitions correctly.

See what I mean? Previous distro installations don't know about new installations, unless you tell it so, manually. The newest installation will usually map and auto mount each Linux partition that it sees. SuSE is very good at this. Fedora does not do this automatically.

Be aware, each distro does not always like a previous distros partitioning scheme. This is why you should use a partitioning utility to pre-format your drive. However, if you choose just two distros on one drive, you should be OK.

Keep that Mepis Live CD handy for rescue tasks, as Mepis will autodetect each Linux partition and allow you to manually manipulate things, if something goes wrong.

My recommendation? Install your most favored distros on one drive, become comfortable with them, then decide what to do from there.

At last count, I have nine distros on my main machine, of course, to be able to respond to questions on this forum more completely. It was not without trial and error!





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