multiple installs for learning

Link to this post 23 May 09

I have some dedicated distros that I need to figure out before I try to use them I want to install them.
My question is this. If I divide the partitions have one swap , four different root partitions. one home partition? will this work?

Link to this post 23 May 09

It should work fine, I don't know about the separate home partitions though as I don't use separate home partitions. I instead prefer a home directory for each distro. I have plenty of space but it seems I'm limited to no more than 10 partitions on my machine.
If I have more than 10 partitions my MS OS's get sluggish.
I don't know why, they just do.

What I have setup is this
sda1-Primary-NTFS- XP Pro SP3
sda2-Primary-NTFS-Shared program partition (between XP and Win 7)
sda3-Primary-Fat32-Shared (between Windows and Linux)
sda5-Logical-Ubuntu 8.04.1LTS 64 bit (Ultimate Edition Hardy)
sda6-Logical-Linux swap (shared amongst all linux installs)
sda7-Logical-PCLinuxOS 2009 (KDE)
sda8-Logical-Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit (Intrepid)
sda9-Logical-PCLinuxOS 2009 (Gnome Edition)
sda10-Logical-Win 7 Release Candidate (build 7100)

I know that separate home partitions have some advantages, especially if you have to reinstall a damaged distro.

I get around that by using Partimage (on the System RescueCD)
to make images of my final stable installs with the home directory included in the image..

I keep these images on my Fat32 shared partition as well as "off disc" , in the event that I screw up an install (I do that a lot, LOL) I just fire up partimage and restore the damaged install.
Takes about 5 minutes and I'm back in business with home directory intact. I make a point of creating an image everytime I do a major update or do something that could damage my linux installs. With Partimage this only take about 10 minutes of my time and (using moderate compression) produces a 1.5 to 3.0 GB image file depending on the install size. My largest linux install is Hardy Ultimate Edition about (6 GB uncompressed).

As a precaution and before erasing any previous image I do a restore right after creating a new image to "prove" the new image.
This may be unnecessary as I've never had partimage fail but I do it anyway.
After "proving" the image I replace the old one with the new.

Then if whatever risky procedure I was planning on doing breaks
my linux install I can restore to a few minutes before I broke that install.

An example of a risky procedure: My machine uses an ATi Mobility Radeon X1400 video card. There are proprietary drivers plus a control panel available from ATi that permit full hardware
3-D acceleration, something the open source drivers don't do.

Every month ATi releases updated drivers and initial install and subsequent updates run the risk of breaking X, the GUI if done improperly, I know I've done it a few times. Up until recently installing or updating the ATi "fglrx" drivers involved compiling and installing a "fglrx kernel module" from the released installer using instructions from a FGLRX wiki. Unless these instructions are followed exactly you will break X.

The latest releases can be installed simply by running the installer from a terminal window, but there is still some risk involved because you are messing with X.

Having made an image just prior to installing/updating these drivers makes recovering from a disaster much easier.

I hope this lengthy reply answered your question.

BTW, since partimage works with my Windows installs as well I use the same scheme with them, of course my resulting images are somewhat bigger since the smallest Windows install I have is 11.8 GB.

Link to this post 23 May 09

That will work. If you got a good CPU and enough RAM, it would be more easier is to use something like VirtualBox and then you can try all distros without doing all these partitioning and figuring out GRUB/LILO configs..

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