about, distros sharing home folder.
I do something Almost similar...
I normally have a root(/) a swap and a home(/home) and a 32fat formatted partion I call the 'Bridge&Keep. Where I can put stuff for easy access with windows (I don't multi-boot but great for bluetooth those that do have Windows). I either copy things their for 'My Window friends'
or sometimes I have symlinked into/with my (Linux) home folder.
P.S. also a great place to put stuff during upgrades (or borking system
) for easy retrieval (no format during install) come up local but not install proper
I have, on this drive (internal sda) only 2 installs. One is Debian testing and the other Sid. Both xfce. They are identical except to version. I use them as my production OS.
One is usually more stable than the other. Depends on where they each are in the dev cycle. So to make it easy for me I use one /home partition. tom is the user for testing and sam for Sid. Both installs have tom and sid as groups and both users belong to both groups. This makes file sharing between users very easy.
If you are doing testing of, say Ubuntu, which I did for years, you find that having many installs is very handy. As the system may break at anytime for any number of reasons and there are always requests to test particular packages, you sometimes have trouble figuring our what broke. The system or the added package.
This can be over come, easily, by having separate install for each package being added to the Ubuntu-testing install. For 9.10-testing, where grub2 was thrown in to us at A2 with no documentation, I ended up with 21 installs. This may seem to take up a good bit of room. It does not need to.
If you have one 320gig drive, I had 2 that size for testing in an external enclosure, you actually have plenty of room for fairly generous installs of 13 OS's. 10 gig / partitions and a 40 to 60 gig /home. Home does not at all need to be that big but I use a 5 gig per OS rule on big numbers of installs sharing /home. As you can see, if you have 13 / partitions, 1 /home and /swap you are out of partitions.
If testing I will use 12 /, 1 /home, 1 Data, and 1 swap. On a 320gig drive this gives you a total of 182 gigs used for installs and swap (I only use 1 or 2 gigs for the look of it, never use it unless opening more than 12 images in Gimp at one time) leaving the rest for shared files like music, movies, collected themes and icon sets and so on. Using the full 15 partitions you can have.
I never use more than 3 installs for /home if they are installs I actually am using for something other than straight up testing. Can,t keep track of them.
On the external testing platform security is not an issue. I use custom menu entries and they can use as the title of the install the user name and purpose of the install. "Jak 1part Grub" was one title for a custom menu entry for 9.10. Jak was my solution to the promblem of grub2 not booting to a 2 partition install. It would boot to other installs that were 2 partitions but not the install that held the files for Grub. From that entry I knew that I was Jak when logged in and it was installed on one partition to run Grub and experiment with Grub.
This is obviously more information than you would want on the menu for a "real" install. I don't like the user name coming up on the login screen or having a list of users there. Certainly do not want that in the menu entry.
Works great for large numbers of installs though.
Testing really can't be done in VB. Development takes place in VB. That is why you need a lot of testers. You need a diverse population of hardware, real live hardware to see if the system works on real hardware.
VB is great to develope on because you have already got a reliable interface with the hardware in the host system. You can concentrate on the basic code and whether or not it works.
You use idiots like me to test it on a real hardware interface. I file bugs. You, the dev, fix the bugs. Basically testers are bored if the OS works. We are only useful if it breaks. FUN stuff.
I never put alien file systems on my computer. The wife and I don't allow MS products under our roof. Used it for years. Hold a grudge.
I do put all the ntfs and other wierd file system tools on my portable drive. I enjoy going to demonstrate Linux and show how easy it is to nose through ALL the files in an MS install (unencrypted) and then reboot to MS and let them use their system to try and look at mine. Pisses some off until they have a wreck and need recovery done on their drive. Testdisk is also installed on all OSs on my "loaner" (demo) drive.
Dell XPS 420 Core2 Quad Q 6600, audigy5.1, Radeon HD 6450 - currently 4 320Gb HDD, Debian Squeeze for secure use, Debian testing for daily use, Debian Sid for fun.