- To: lukekendall@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [SLUG] Maxi-multi boot layout?
- From: Ken Caldwell <kencaldwell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 09 Oct 2005 10:50:39 +1000
- Cc: Sydney Linux Users Group <slug@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On Sun, 2005-10-09 at 00:25 +1000, lukekendall@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Just for fun, I'm trying out a whole bunch of different Linux
> distributions, to compare them to see which I like best.
> I have an old PC with a 13GB drive with Mandrake 9.0 installed.
> This drive is /dev/hda. /dev/hda6 is the swap space.
> I have added a 250GB drive (/dev/hdb) and created about 20 partitions.
> I made /dev/hdb1 a primary partition of 1GB size, and called it boot.
> hdb5-hdb23 are each 12GB logical partitions, intended to try various
> hdb24 is a 21GB partition to be a (shared across distro) home drive.
> All of these are ext3 partitions. I've set hdb5-23 (all the
> "distro-drives", if I can call them that) to have a different
> forced-fsck count based on the number of times it's been mounted, not
> based on the number of days since last boot.
> In contrast, the home partition is set to have a forced-fsck time based
> on days, since it will be shared.
> I have also given a disk label to each "distro-drive" - e.g. the
> mandrake one has a label of MANDRAKE and I've changed its fstab to
> mount LABEL=MANDRAKE to /.
> Anyway, my real question is, what's a good way to set up the boot
> process? If I'm going to have say about 12 different distros, what's a
> good way to do this.
> Normally I just install the system into its own partition, and set up
> suitable mount points so each system can see the others, and use lilo,
> and add an entry for each kernel I want to boot up. That's going to be
> a bit painful, since I'll have to copy the /etc/fstab and
> /etc/lilo.conf to each system, with appropriate tweaks to the lilo.conf
> on each one for its root ... wait, no, I can use a symlink of / to, say,
> /fedora on the fedora system or / to /mandrake on the mandrake system,
> so I can in fact use the same lilo.conf on each. (At least, if I leave
> /boot within /, not a separately mounted filesystem.)
> Then I only have one line in each fstab to change (the root mount
> But I was initially thinking if I put all the kernels into a separate
> /boot partition, it'd all be much easier. The trouble is that each
> distro is going to assume that /boot belongs to it, and feel free to
> overwrite vmlinuz and System.map etc.
> I just now finished a Ubuntu install. It installs Grub as the boot
> loader (no option not to). I was pleased to see that it detected
> Mandrake 9 installed on another partition and offered to keep that and
> add the Ubuntu as an alternative boot, so I let it do that.
> Unfortunately the system now fails to boot (GRUB loading stage 1.5 and
> leads to Error 21).
> I wasn't going to use Grub since I don't know of a way to check that a
> grub config is correct, except to reboot to see what happens. SO I
> can't say I'm surprised. While lilo is less powerful than grub, it
> seems much safer. You always know where you stand.
The following URL may suggest ways that you could use GRUB
I could not make any detailed suggestion before trying it out myself but
I think you could start by trying a GRUB boot floppy and then installing
it to the HDD later.
> Anyway, I'll rescue the system and re-install lilo into the MBR and
> then proceed. But any suggestions to make this easier would be welcome.
> FWIW, the systems I'm planning to install are Ubuntu, Fedora core 4,
> knoppix, gnoppix, debian, yos, slackware 10.2, xandros, linspire, maybe
> lycoris and maybe gentoo too.
> BTW, is there a good graphical installer for debian? I got halfway
> through installing it in a text installer when it presented me with the
> configuration of ALL the kernel modules in text mode, and at that point
> I scrubbed it and moved on to install Mandrake 9 instead. (Yes, I know
> Ubuntu is Debian, but I meant a vanilla debian with point and click