I have a lenovo Z570 with 4GB RAM and 750GB HDD with almost of 300GB of files, and Ubuntu 12.04 i386 installed. I moved some stuff around and moved the OS to a 50GB partition and the rest for the data. Here's what I'd like to do, add another 50GB for other version of Ubuntu so I can have smoother updates without disturbing my work. So the setup I'm going for in order of the disk 1) 50GB for OS1 2) 50GB for OS2 3) whatever's left for my files 4) 4GB /swap

a) is there a way to make 3) /home and share it properly with both OS without having settings and application data stored there, like thunderbird, gnome and dropbox? b) should I consider different swap partitions for every OS? c) should I consider additional partitions like /boot?

Thank you, and I'm sorry if the question is not properly put, its my first time :)


First of all, you can look at some general guides like the Arch wiki for information on how you might want to partition things. To your specific questions:

  1. Sort of. In order to share documents between users, you should have a separate partition for the folders like Documents, Pictures, Videos, etc. The users will then have links to these directories in their /home/user directory. In order to separate the settings between the users, you have some options:
    • Different user for each of the OS partitions (this is what I do)
      • You would have one /home partition, each user would have their own folder
    • Same user for both OS partitions
      • You would have a /home partition for each user
  2. No, swap is a generic partition only used when the OS is running. It can be shared among however many Linux installations are present.
  3. That is up to you. See the link above for a guide to what different partitions do. I opt for the simpler method of just / and /home but the freedom of Linux means you get to choose.
    • The only exception to this is if you plan on booting with the newer UEFI method. You will need an EFI System Partition which will be either /boot or /boot/EFI.
    • As commented, having a separate /boot can also help prevent an issue if the OS that is in control of the boot loader fails.
  • Thank you, I like the "different users" option for every OS. Afraid it gets confusing over time. I guess I will go for the same user with links to the documents folders. I also prefer the simplest setup of / and /home but in this case it would be useless. Lastly the boot worries me in case an OS breaks and it held the boot loader. I will look further in the link you sent before I make a hasty decision. – alexseif Apr 7 '14 at 18:40
  • That's a good point, if one OS is in control of the boot loader and that OS fails, you'll have to get the other OS in control of the boot loader. – Nattgew Apr 7 '14 at 19:22

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