[lug] partitioning a build machine

bof bof at pcisys.net
Wed May 28 08:53:40 MDT 2003

Michael J. Hammel wrote:

><snip snip>
>Is this a good way of doing this?  Should I leave the other partitions
>alone when I do my install of the other distributions (just specifying
>which is to be the root mount point)?  Can the boot diskettes know which
>partition to use as their root and which ones to leave alone?  Can they
>use a root partition that isn't on the first drive?

Not that I am any paragon of Linux administration, but here is what I've 
done with one of my systems which may help you.

My computer has two 40 GB hard drives in it, installed as /dev/hda and 
/dev/hdc. The first has KRUD 7.3 on it, booted by default using grub as 
the boot loader. This is my primary distribution for daily use. On 
occasion, however, I may want to experiment with another distribution, 
so I use the second drive for this. The second drive has been divided 
into four primary partitions, each 10 GB in size. (I chose to use 
primary partitions from sloth, for I simply use one big / partition for 
each installation --- I know this is somewhat heretical and, if I were 
more diligent, then I could use extended and logical partitions to allow 
setting up /, /boot, /var, /tmp, /usr, and /home partitions for each 
distribution. This strikes me as too much work for something that I 
might very well write over with another distribution next time I 
choose). I currently have Slackware 9.0 on the first partition and 
FreeBSD on the fourth. The Slackware installation uses the swap 
partition on the first drive; I set this up when I installed Slackware. 
Whichever program I want to use on the second drive is chosen by using 
the KRUD 7.3 grub program. A copy of it is at the end of this message.

If I have read your message correctly, then I believe that you could use 
something similar to meet your needs by partitioning each of the 30 GB 
drives into 10 GB portions, installing whatever distributions you want, 
letting them use the swap file on the first drive and controlling them 
with one grub.conf file from whichever distribution you choose as your 
daily use one. I would however strongly advise on making boot diskettes 
for each installation as a fallback; the boot diskette will know which 
distribution they are for and where it is, when they load.

Hope this helps.


The grub.conf file is as follows:

 grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE:  You have a /boot partition.  This means that
#          all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
#          root (hd0,4)
#          kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda8
#          initrd /initrd-version.img
title Red Hat Linux 7.3 (2.4.20-13.7)
    root (hd0,4)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.20-13.7 ro root=/dev/hda8 hdd=ide-scsi
    initrd /initrd-2.4.20-13.7.img
title Slackware Linux 9.0   
    root (hd1,0)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz ro root=/dev/hdc1 hdd=ide-scsi
    #initrd /boot/initrd.img
title FreeBSD 5.0
    root (hd1,3,a)
    kernel /boot/loader

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