2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

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2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby Tonedeaf on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:38 pm

I've been thinking about getting an SSD for superfast boot times on my thinkpad t61. But I don't want to format or resize my current partition setup (30gb /, rest /home on a 500gb disk). So I figured I can buy a special internal SATA adapter for Thinkpads, stick the SSD in that by removing my optical drive, install Mint onto the SSD, and leave my current mint install on the current HDD. Ideally, both installs of mint would share the same /home partition, with the same account under that. Does anyone see this causing any potential software conflicts, particularly if I upgrade to Mint 7 Gloria or install it fresh on the SSD, but not on the HDD?

PS: Don't worry about the lack of an optical drive. I am a huge fan of unetbootin.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:48 pm

I have had some experience in doing this and I can tell you that you will have no problems as long as both installs are identical. You may even get away with running int 6 and Mint 7 on the same /home, the newer config files will simply overwrite the older ones. As long as you keep the same desktop settings then you should be fine.

But why? In the long run you would be better off just backing up your data and coming up with a new partitioning scheme with a shared /data partition. I would then just keep the /homes in the separate root partitions. Just my 2 cent, you should be good with your plan though.
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby Tonedeaf on Fri May 01, 2009 12:00 am

The idea is that I could use the current installation as a backup OS should my SSD die earlier than expected or turn out to be a dud. Other than that, the current install probably won't be used any more. It's a foolproof plan - even if it (the SSD) falls apart, I won't go without a working environment. So since the installations will likely be less and less identical every day, could this eventually lead to dependency hell in the backup OS or other major problems?

EDIT: I just noticed you said "Shared /data partition." I've tried this before, by making a partition under /media/*volumename* but I've always had problems with permissions and writing to the partition. Could a simple /data partition remove those problems, or would I still need to configure it? If so, how?

PS: Mods, if this thread goes too far away from the topic of mint installation, feel free to move it as needed.
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby DataMan on Fri May 01, 2009 4:35 am

I just noticed you said "Shared /data partition." I've tried this before, by making a partition under /media/*volumename* but I've always had problems with permissions and writing to the partition. Could a simple /data partition remove those problems, or would I still need to configure it? If so, how?


I'm currently mounting 5 different data partitions across 4 different Lx ops. At installation, I do the manual partition setup and this builds the mount points directly into the fstab for me. Since you're already installed, do a manual update to your fstab to mount the data partition with correct permissions at bootup. For specifics on the correct protocol for the fstab file, search the forums for fstab.

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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby atlef on Fri May 01, 2009 4:44 am

I just want to say that you should have different user names in your /home folder to be sure you do not get any problems. One user name per distro install.

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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby emorrp1 on Fri May 01, 2009 7:07 am

Hi I suspect you will have problems with both felicia and gloria trying to use the same configuration files. The main one I see is OpenOffice: felicia uses 2.4, gloria uses 3.0, it is likely that after using 3.0 for a while, it'll use some configuration that 2.4 won't be able to understand. It may well be all myth and legend, but there have been reports of conflicting configuration (http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost.php?s=66577f899e0d96028706729c27992584&p=825737&postcount=5). Since you seem to be wanting felicia to effectively become a backup install in case something goes wrong while using gloria, I definitely recommend avoiding it.

There are however multiple ways to do what you want. There are two ways to safely use the same /home partition between distros (or versions of distros). You can, as atlef mentioned, use different usernames for each install. The alternative method if you want to keep the same username is as follows:

1) when installing one of the distros, use the same /home using the manual partitioning option, but use a throwaway username (e.g. temp)<-- important
EDIT: I was going to use a different method here that seemed more logical, but this way requires fewer steps
2) create another throwaway admin user (you can use the "Users and Groups" gui if you want, but make sure it's administrator under profile)
Code: Select all
sudo adduser systemp
sudo addgroup systemp admin

3) login to new systemp user (note: you must logout of temp user, not just use the switch user option)
4) modify the original temp user to the correct username (e.g. bob) and move the home directory to somewhere sensible (I don't know how to use the gui for this stage)
Code: Select all
sudo usermod -md /home/bob-gloria -l bob temp
sudo groupmod -n bob temp

5) logout, login to the bob user (just a renamed temp really), and delete the systemp user, again you can use the gui for this stage

My favourite option however is just to use a seperate data partition. I've detailed how to do this at: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=23980&p=146352&hilit=data+partition#p140646
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby Pierre on Fri May 01, 2009 7:16 am

I just want to say that you should have different user names in your /home folder to be sure you do not get any problems. One user name per distro install.


That's what I am doing. :D

by just 'capitalize' the 1st letter, using the same name.

( my 3rd O/S has a separate /home ).
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Fri May 01, 2009 8:44 am

emorrp1 wrote:Hi I suspect you will have problems with both felicia and gloria trying to use the same configuration files. The main one I see is OpenOffice: felicia uses 2.4, gloria uses 3.0, it is likely that after using 3.0 for a while, it'll use some configuration that 2.4 won't be able to understand. It may well be all myth and legend, but there have been reports of conflicting configuration ([url]http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost.php?s=66577f899e0d96028706729c27992584&p=825737&postcount=5[/url]). Since you seem to be wanting felicia to effectively become a backup install in case something goes wrong while using gloria, I definitely recommend avoiding it.

There are however multiple ways to do what you want. There are two ways to safely use the same /home partition between distros (or versions of distros). You can, as atlef mentioned, use different usernames for each install. The alternative method if you want to keep the same username is as follows:

1) when installing one of the distros, use the same /home using the manual partitioning option, but use a throwaway username (e.g. temp)<-- important
EDIT: I was going to use a different method here that seemed more logical, but this way requires fewer steps
2) create another throwaway admin user (you can use the "Users and Groups" gui if you want, but make sure it's administrator under profile)
Code: Select all
sudo adduser systemp
sudo addgroup systemp admin

3) login to new systemp user (note: you must logout of temp user, not just use the switch user option)
4) modify the original temp user to the correct username (e.g. bob) and move the home directory to somewhere sensible (I don't know how to use the gui for this stage)
Code: Select all
sudo usermod -md /home/bob-gloria -l bob temp
sudo groupmod -n bob temp

5) logout, login to the bob user (just a renamed temp really), and delete the systemp user, again you can use the gui for this stage

My favourite option however is just to use a seperate data partition. I've detailed how to do this at: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=23980&p=146352&hilit=data+partition#p140646


Lol, that's my post! :D
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby emorrp1 on Fri May 01, 2009 9:52 am

huh? no, it's not. I'm confused :?
If you have a question that has been answered and solved, then please edit your original post and put a [SOLVED] at the end of your subject header
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Fri May 01, 2009 10:02 am

emorrp1 wrote:huh? no, it's not. I'm confused :?


Well, now you know who I am, but who are you? :D

edit: Anyway, what emorrp1 says in his post is true, if Mint 7 upgrades any package like OO.o or FF then you could have a potential problem! You would most likely need to upgrade the same package in Mint 6.

Once again, this can feasibly be done, I have done it, but it does create some problems. Check out the rest of the thread emorrp linked to, I give a classic case of the permissions problems when two distros share the same /home with different user names and IDs. In my experience the biggest problems were X-Plane and my VMWare ISO collection. Creating a shared /data solved these problems, and keeping /home with its own distro saves you from conflicts when upgrading or doing new installs. There really is very little in /home, besides personal data which should be in /data, that is worth carrying over. The .mozzila folder and maybe a few others. The rest can just be set up fresh on the new distro.Just copy the things you do want to carry over into /data while you do the new install then just drag them back to /home overwriting the virgin install file. This method will allow you to not only keep a "back door" distro as you wish but to also "hopscotch" the distros so you always have a good, solid distro available.
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby emorrp1 on Fri May 01, 2009 11:40 am

Ok, now I'm even more confused, FedoraRefugee, as far as I can tell you haven't even posted in that topic. In case the search I was using is messing with my results, this is definitely the link to the post I was referring to: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=23980#p140646 ("Installing with 2 hard drives HELP")
If you have a question that has been answered and solved, then please edit your original post and put a [SOLVED] at the end of your subject header
Hint - use a google search including the search term site:forums.linuxmint.com
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Re: 2 Mint installs sharing same /home... Any problems?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Fri May 01, 2009 11:44 am

emorrp1 wrote:Ok, now I'm even more confused, FedoraRefugee, as far as I can tell you haven't even posted in that topic. In case the search I was using is messing with my results, this is definitely the link to the post I was referring to: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=23980#p140646 ("Installing with 2 hard drives HELP")


No,

http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost. ... ostcount=5

That is me. :)
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