There are two prior questions that tangentially touch on this here & here. It's not really what I'm after though.

I plan on installing Debian Squeeze & Ubuntu Natty in a dual-boot scenario. In both cases I'll be using amd64 builds.

There are obvious similarities between these distros and I wonder if I can leverage this to my advantage in some way. I also wonder if these similarities will cause me any foreseeable problems, perhaps with Grub2, .bashrc, etc.

Specifically, I wonder if it's advisable to share the /home partition. Packages will in general be more bleeding edge with Natty. Will this cause problems with configuration files that reside in /home?

While I'm at it, I may as well ask:

  • Does it matter which distro I install first?
  • Are there any other directories that could be shared - not just for the sake of being tricky, but because it would be advantageous to do so?

I assume I can safely share the swap partition. Suppose sharing /home isn't a good idea then I'm left with one-too-many primary partitions:

  • / [debian; ext4]
  • /home [debian; ext4]
  • / [ubuntu; ext4]
  • /home [ubuntu; ext4]
  • swap [debian/ubuntu]

Do I overcome this by using swap files? Or should I use extended partitions?


1 Answer 1

  1. About Sharing your /home partition: Yes you can do that, you can read https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/6344/different-linux-distros-sharing-the-same-home-folder. Some people will say no for sharing same partition but you can hack it by creating two different users in the same partition. By the way you can use any folder as home folder How to do that?? see this Change home folder in Natty
  2. Theoretically and in my opinion it does not matter which distribution comes first, but it would be good if it the partition of your preferred distro is the first partition. Because the first partition would be closer to the center of spinning disc that means lesser radius will make fetching information more quick. Any ways it would just give you some milliseconds advantage.
  3. Swap partitions can be shared without any problem, Only problem you may have is when you hibernate one system and boot second. Though this would not be a big problem and will not break the system still you may loose your work saved while hibernating.
  • 1
    Many thanks for those links. In particular, I found the one on unix.stackexchange to be quite enlightening. I think what I'll do for now is install Debian and work with that over the next couple of weeks while the major bugs get sorted out with Natty. But I imagine I'll do a 'minimal /home' as mentioned in the link and make symlinks.
    – boehj
    Apr 30, 2011 at 7:34

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