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I am currently in the process of reinstalling my laptop. I've been using Ubuntu so far, and now would like to install openSUSE additionally.

I will use both OS's with mostly the same application (i. e. GNOME 3 ones largely, plus Mozilla stuff and LibreOffice).

Can I just create a /home partition that's used by both OS's and expect it to work or is it likely there are complications?

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2 Answers

There will definitely be complications unless you choose separate users for Ubuntu and SUSE. If it's the same username, you will have problems with your user configurations being overwritten, conflicting and what not, even if you are using "more or less" the same programs.

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+1 for the username issue. This was also a question of mine –  Anwar Shah Jul 27 '12 at 15:09
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Trying to use the same home directory for two different distros out of the box will likely cause complications.

One possibility is to make a partition that is sort of a home partition, but contains only the data for the applications you wish to share between distros. Then you can create symbolic links to the appropriate files/directories in the appropriate places in your separate home directories in each distro.

For example, if you use an app that in one distro stores its config in ~/.foo, and in the other stores it in ~/.bar, you can create one directory in your new partition, called /mnt/baz/myapp, and then just ln -s /mnt/baz/myapp ~/.foo in the first distro and ln -s /mnt/baz/myapp ~/.bar in the second.

It sounds complicated, but I use the same sort of setup to share certain portions of my home directory (Downloads, Documents, Music, Pictures) among a couple of different Ubuntu releases, and put them on an HDD so I can run the rest off a smaller SSD for speed.

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