General Support - Advanced partitioning: Multi linux set-up with shared home

tuxedo - 29.05.2009, 23:23 Uhr
Titel: Advanced partitioning: Multi linux set-up with shared home
I have a notebook with an 80GB EIDE-drive and would like to set up all partitions from scratch with one main Linux distro (Kanotix) and another 3 or 4 additional distros (e.g. Linux Mint, Damn Small, gOS etc.).

The idea is to have more than one Linux distro that share the same home directory. I'm not sure if anyone has done this or if it's even advisable?

In other words, the location "/home/tuxedo/bla.txt" would contain the same one file on all Linux systems.

Basically, with the exception of Kanotix, I've concluded there's no one best Linux distro, so I'd like 3 or 4 additional distros to play around with, and for them to share the same own home directory, as otherwise I would soon go nutty trying to figure where I left that last file.... Also, this way it is not so critical to try an predict the required future size of each additional Linux partition since they won't be changing in size much unless I install some major applications on then.

Has anyone done this before and is it even workable? For example, could there be conflicts between config .dotfiles that usually live in ~/ as preferences or settings are written by different window managers to possibly the same named configurations files (eg. one distro may run KDE 3.x and another KDE 4.x) etc.

Additionally, I plan to install a Windows XP partition on an NTFS partition, but I will not need to access any Linux files via Windows. In fact, I will rarely boot it for fear of catching a virus. XP will just come in handy for when having to open the odd RTF pretending to be a .doc file, viewing the occasional IE-only webpage or playing the odd Windows Media file etc.

For example, if I allocate the space approximately as follows:

15GB for Kanotix and installed future programs.

5GB for XP.

5GB p/additional Linux distro (20GB in case of 4 extra distros).

The remaining 40GB or so for a shared home directory.

I'm not sure exactly how the partitioning could best be done?

There is about 1GB RAM on the system.

I understand there may be performance advantages depending on how and where on the disk partitions may positioned (in which order).

I also understand there can only be four partitions with minimum one primary and an extended partition, but I really have no clue which way these could be best set up and if it is even possible.

The Lilo or Grub bootloader would be fine, but where would it be best placed?

Any advise including a mock-up partition table to help me get started would be much appreciated. I can then try and duplicate the table using either the Kanotix installer or the Parted Magic live CD for the partitioning.

Many thanks in advance!

Kano - 30.05.2009, 08:50 Uhr
Titel: Advanced partitioning: Multi linux set-up with shared home
Usually you put XP in first partition, as that's the most common postition. But use 10 not 5 GB, 10-15 GB for Linux. You can install Grub into a PRIMARY Linux partition (which would be marked active later) or in the MBR. But only one distro, all others need to install its bootloader in partition. Kanotix will find other distros then when you execute


With help of os-prober. That's a big advantage of grub2.
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