Re: Best way to boot between debian and suse?
On Wed, May 17, 2006 at 09:08:19AM +1000, Charlie wrote:
> When experimenting to discover what flavour of Linux I liked best, I had
> several Linux distros on one hard drive
> They shared the same swap partition, but when I attempted to use the same
> home partition, their were constant conflicts. Each had their own "/",
> /home, /usr partition. I didn't go further than that.
There should be no problem sharing /home provided you are careful about
a few minor things - principally:
a) make sure the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files (or their equivalents)
have corresponding name to ID mappings on each system sharing the
b) when you create users, don't use the default /etc/skel files to initialize
the home directories. They will contain hidden ('.') configuration files
specific to the distribution concerned.
As a system administrator you will need to create skeleton directory
structures appropriate for the particular mix of systems you are using.
It is slightly tedious initially, but far more convenient in the long
run than having each user maintain multiple separate home directories,
and have to remember which system you were running when you created a
file in order to find it again...
The second point is not unique to dual boot systems - it has been an issue
ever since home directories have been shared via NFS.
In general I have a set of personal preferences which I would not want
overridden every time I install a new distribution, so part of an install
is to look at the default values assumed by the distribution and then
do any necessary customizing of my personal settings.
Here is an extract from a .profile I have used since about 1995 to
keep a compatible environment on multiple different systems:
case $HOSTNAME in
cthulhu) # SPARCstation 2
# note: openwin/bin must preceed usr/bin to run openwin successfully
export MANPATH HISTFILE PATH TAPE PGPPATH
(/usr/demo/SOUND/play ~/usr/audio/ugly.au& 2>&1 >/dev/null&)>/dev/null
tdc) # London internet service provider
alias who='finger @dircon.co.uk'
skaro.*|chameleon*|newgate*|treblinka*) # BSDI UNIX
case "$SHELL" in
*/bash) set -o vi; set -o notify; set -o ignoreeof
PS1='\h$ ' ENV="$HOME/.shellrc"
[ -f "$ENV" ] && . "$ENV"
*/ksh) # set -o vi; set -o monitor; # set -o ignoreeof
case "$OSTYPE" in
# export PATH=$HOME/bin:/usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/X11/bin:/usr/con
> There was a windows partition and
> others that were never formatted on any of the installs, like documents and
> graphics and the virtual memory partition for windows. I used Lilo mostly
> also for booting at that time.
> But depending what Linux distro I was in I often had to change the permission
> of the spare partitions. So chown them in different distro's again or I would
> get error messages. It wasn't onerous because I was trying things out but for
> constant use it might be a bit too much trouble. The distros I used were
> Linux Red Hat, Linux Mandrake and Linux Slackware.
That sounds like a problem with conflicting /etc/passwd, /etc/group settings...
Digby R. S. Tarvin digbyt(at)digbyt.com