multipe boot - all linux

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multipe boot - all linux

Postby gizmo-au on Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:07 am

I am about to install Mint 7 on an older desktop with AMD Athlon1100 with 750mb ram and 40GB Hdd plus a second 10Gb Hdd.

I would like to have both KDE and Gnome versions of Mint 7, plus maybe Xfce version, plus maybe PCLinuxOS, plus maybe Dreamlinux. No Windows.

I have no idea how to go about installing for multiple boot options. Can they share a swap partition? Can they share stored files?
(eg stored documents, images?)
If I have multiple versions of Mint7, do I install the complete Mint7 for each version (lots of duplication), or do I install Mint7 KDE, plus just the desktop environments for Gnome and XFCE? (I think I will mainly use KDE.)
How do I set it up to have the OSs on the main hard drive and file storage on the second hard drive? (Is that a sensible way to manage it?)

I know that the size of my hard drive is a limitation, but I don't store much on HDD, I generally save files to USB memory sticks.

thanks, from a nearly-newbie.
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Re: multipe boot - all linux

Postby lagagnon on Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:32 am

I suggest you install Mint 7 Gnome, then download the different desktop environments you want as additions to that one install. To have a number of Mint distros is a waste of space. Yes all the distros will share the same swap partition. Make one extra data partition, ext3 filesystem, to share between all the distros.

Just as an aside....underneath it all most distros are very similar. IMHO, the main difference between distros is simply desktop looks and the packaging/install system. Otherwise they are all the same and you can make any one distro look like another if you like. They also all use the same software. I feel that really learning Linux properly your time is better spent with one distro really learning the command line, bash, vim or emacs, python, etc, etc rather than distro hopping. Because the differences between most distros are essentially superficial....
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Re: multipe boot - all linux

Postby gizmo-au on Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:12 pm

Thanks for your reply, lagagnon.

I am coming around to your suggestion that I should do some homework about learning the nuts and bolts behind the "veneer" I see, the desktop environment. But I certainly have enjoyed "distro-shopping", as I am quite new to Linux and have little experience with free/open source software, I am still amazed and fascinated that people spend so much time and effort to create their own vision of the perfect distro, and release it for the world to use.

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Re: multipe boot - all linux

Postby MALsPa on Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:39 am

My feeling is that multi-booting several distros, even with some of them being different versions of the same distro, or even different distros that are very similar, can be a big help in the learning process. That's because being able to go from one to the other and comparing things is a good way to learn about Linux, to see how things are done in different distros. For awhile, I kept multiple versions of Mepis installed so that I could look back and compare things to the current one. I felt that this was a big help for me.

Yes, they can all use the same swap partition and they can access shared data partitions.

My approach, I prefer to use Debian Stable as the distro that boots all the others because that distro will stay in place on my system for a few years, I don't have to concern myself with new releases every six months or whatever. I think that a LTS version from Mint or Ubuntu would serve the same purpose.

Then I have a swap partition and a couple of data partitions that I can access from each distro.

I know that different people have different points of view about all this but multi-booting all linux can be great, it is for me. You don't even need much hard drive space. For a long time I was using one 40 GB drive and one 60 GB drive and booting several distros and I had more than enough space to work with.

I'd suggest using Google to search about things like dual-booting, multi-booting, grub, chain-loading, etc. See how other people have set things up, check out some /boot/grub/menu.lst examples. A lot of the stuff out there discusses dual-booting Linux with Windows but it seems to me that an all-Linux set-up is a lot easier.

I can tell you that the more you do it, the easier it gets, you might run into a few problems but usually nothing you can't work through.

There was an example posted, someone booting 100+ systems, and examining the grub menu there was very helpful to me:

http://www.justlinux.com/forum/showthre ... did=143973
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