Quad-Boot Fun, and A Correction

Quad-Boot Fun, and A Correction

Summary: First, the good news. I now have my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 set up to quad-boot XP/Ubuntu/openSuSE/Mandriva!


First, the good news. I now have my Fujitsu Lifebook S6510 set up to quad-boot XP/Ubuntu/openSuSE/Mandriva! That's certainly worth a few giggles. More importantly, it will make it a lot easier for me to track and compare the various Linux versions, on the same platform. It actually all went very smoothly; details below.

Second the correction. In an earlier post I said that the openSuSE installation did not recognize a previously installed Ubuntu partition and set it up to dual-boot. I was completely wrong; the problem wasn't in the boot setup, it was earlier than that. When I went through the disk partitioning in openSuSE, it came up with its own idea about how and where to install, and then gave me three options - accept, edit partition map, create partition map. I chose edit, and didn't realize that what it gave me to edit already incorporated the "suggested" layout it had come up with - nor did I notice that it had taken over the partition in which Ubuntu was installed, to be used as /home for openSuSE. Chalk that one up to a combination of inattention and inexperience. So, by the time the boot setup procedure came around, the Ubuntu partition was already history. This time, when I set up the quad-boot configuration, I chose "create" instead of "edit", and it gave me the original map as a starting point. I put openSuSE in its own partition, and the boot procedure recognized and configured the Ubuntu (and XP) partitions correctly.

Third, the details. The specific procedure and partitioning that I chose for this quad-boot setup are based on trying to keep the installations as simple as possible, and maximizing the multi-boot flexibility both now and in the future if I decide to add more to this. Therefore, what I did was install XP Professional in the first partition on the disk (I basically have to do that, because I am restoring from Fujitsu "Recovery" DVD, not installing from true Windows distribution media), then connect that disk to another system that is already running Ubuntu, and use the partition editor to create a FAT32 partition where I will keep my documents, pictures, videos and such, and an "Extended" partition which covers the rest of the free disk space. I then created multiple partitions within that extended partitions for Linux. It is interesting to note that all of the versions of Linux that I have tried so far (and I suspect all versions, period), use the same kind of swap space, so I was able to create only one swap partition, and they all use that. Then it was just a matter of installing the Linux versions one by one, and being very careful about disk allocation each time. As each one was installed, it recognized those previously installed, and added them to the "new" boot menu. Very nice.

More to come...

jw 2/7/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • Quad-Boot Fun, and A Correction

    I too learned these lessons and have set up my 'experimental' computer, a P2.8 desktop, as quad boot but without any Windows.

    One point to note is not to delete/add any partitions preceeding any existing installation as it changes the order in the partition table and so may deny access unless you can still gain access to amend Grub. Partitions hda0, hda1, etc. are created in date order not physical order (unless that is coincident).

    Similarly, if a kernel is updated to a newer version, manual changes to Grub may also be required to recognise the new kernel.

    I did try Solaris without success.

    I read that distribtions could share the /home partition to make it available to all the distributions. This is categorically incorrect as each distribution installs 'hidden' files within the /home directory or partition, so the result is disastrous. So my solution is also to share a FAT32 or NTFS partition for data

    By the way, where do you find all the time?
    The Former Moley
  • Quad-Boot Fun, and A Correction

    Hi Moley, thanks for reading and commenting, as always. In fact, it was your comment earlier about openSuSE that inspired me to expand my horizons and investigate a number of Linux variants.

    Thanks also for the information about sharing /home, that was on my list of things to try, so you have certainly saved me some time and grief again. I had noticed the partition numbering, and it had started to sink in, but I hadn't considered the impact on GRUB boot menus.

    As for finding the time, what I am doing so far doesn't require all that much direct attention from me. I have two fully functional laptops, and enough disks for each that I can keep one completely loaded and ready to use for my "normal work", and one or more then available for test configuration. So I am able to work on either one, while the other grinds away at whatever installation I am doing.

    This is all very interesting to me so far. I haven't had this much fun since I was investigating UniSoft Unix on computers from Corvus, Momentum, Plexus, Arete, and of course the very first Sun-1 workstation, in the early 80's.

    jw 2/7/2008
  • Quad-Boot Fun, and A Correction

    It's nice that they all can share the same swap space, but each has to have it's own home. I suspect that either you or Moley will one day do a remaster of a distro and put your name on it. I have toyed with the idea of putting one together with the modules I use most, but seem to run out of time.