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multi-booting with one /home partition?

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In my multi-boot set-up, I've always used separate /home partitions for each distro (except in cases where I didn't create a separate /home partition.) Then, I have a couple of separate data partitions for documents, music, photos, etc.Someone at another Linux forum mentioned using one large /home partition for all distros, and using slightly different usernames for each distro. I'm thinking that this would have to be accomplished by creating links in the one /home partition to each of the other /home directories. Having usernames like "steve-mepis," "steve-fedora," "steve-saline," and so forth, to keep different distro settings from getting messed up.Not sure that this approach would be better than the one I'm using, but it would be different. Any thoughts?

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In my multi-boot set-up, I've always used separate /home partitions for each distro (except in cases where I didn't create a separate /home partition.) Then, I have a couple of separate data partitions for documents, music, photos, etc.Someone at another Linux forum mentioned using one large /home partition for all distros, and using slightly different usernames for each distro. I'm thinking that this would have to be accomplished by creating links in the one /home partition to each of the other /home directories. Having usernames like "steve-mepis," "steve-fedora," "steve-saline," and so forth, to keep different distro settings from getting messed up.Not sure that this approach would be better than the one I'm using, but it would be different. Any thoughts?
You could try the new way but I'm sure that you have plenty of more important and fun things to do with your time, B) However if you like gordian knot type puzzles then dive in and have a go :thumbsup:

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Yeah!I don't plan on changing my existing set-up, but it's something to consider if/when I get my hands on a 2nd machine.Actually, I think what the guy's saying is that when he installs another distro, he keeps /home on the root partition, then copies that /home directory to his main /home partition. Then adjusts fstab to point to the copied /home. Interesting.

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I don't use separate /home partitions or one shared /home partition.I prefer a /home directory for each linux distro.Much simpler.Instead of cluttering my /home directory with data I keep stuff on a large Fat 32 partition I maintain for that purpose.I regularly back up that partition.Since I image my linux installs regularly I find no advantage to /home partitions.When I image a distro install it also captures the /home directory and all the needed .files\folders etc.The only data in my /home directories are a folder full of .jpeg's used to create custom desktop backgrounds and a folderfull of .png icons to allow me to customize my desktop icons.My mp3's are in a folder on my Fat 32 shared partition.This works for me and doesn't clutter up my drive with unnecessary partitions.For simplicity's sake all my distros use the same username.

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That's kinda similar to what I'm doing now, except that I have separate /home partitions (in most cases), and I have two "data" partitions -- one for photos, images, etc., and one for all other data. And I don't use FAT32.I don't really see much advantage to using separate /home partitions anymore, but that's how I started out doing things, and I guess I've continued that approach out of habit.But I like your approach, Frank Golden, that sounds much simpler!

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I did run into one situation where a drive was going bad, and the stuff on either one / or one /home partition was (apparently) unrecoverable (can't recall the exact details). In that situation, as I recall, it turned out to be a good thing that I had /home on a separate partition. Doesn't seem like something that would happen often, though; and backups are the key, along with keeping most data on separate partitions, because then a fresh installation on a new drive is kinda trivial.

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Steve, you wouldn't have to do anything other than have different usernames for that common /home directory. In reality, anyone running a single distribution of Linux could have nearly unlimited users using the same /home directory. So, as an extension to this, it's logical that having one BIG /home partition on the drive would suffice for numerous distributions. The data is kept separate via permissions. User A will never be able to see or interact with user B's data, unless user A has his/her privileges elevated or user B changes permissions on his/her data; otherwise, the twain shall never meet.I've thought of doing this before, but there really is no great advantage. I can have one 200Gig monster home partition for one common /home directory, or I can have 10 more manageable 20Gig partitions for individual /home directories for each distribution I use on my system. Linux doesn't mind partitions. Just keep in mind the SATA 15 partition limit (I think that's still in effect with current kernels and libATA support).Have fun!

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Just keep in mind the SATA 15 partition limit (I think that's still in effect with current kernels and libATA support).
I didn't know that - thanks for the heads-up, Eric!

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I've thought of doing this before, but there really is no great advantage. I can have one 200Gig monster home partition for one common /home directory, or I can have 10 more manageable 20Gig partitions for individual /home directories for each distribution I use on my system. >eric++++++++++++++++++++Well ... I always thought the advantage for the linux experimenter would be to not have to do all that setup and configuration when you added a new distro? After ten years I have a very good idea what I want it to look and feel like, and would consider it a big plus to just logon to a new install have have all my settings already in place. I see the question every time I install a slack-type distro, do I want to mount an external /home or not. One of these days I'll try it.

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That would be a great idea (and I have thought of it and remember discussing it with Bruno years ago). The problem is that config files between different distributions are not the same. A .mozilla config directory in Debian would not work with the one I have for Slackware... or the one in Arch, etc. It would be just as problematic for other applications. The problem is that distributions rarely run the same versions of software... and they update those versions on their own schedules. It would probably be a mess to try to use just one /home for numerous distros with the same user.Now, I could run two or three Slackware (or any other distro) installations with a common /home and user. That would work OK. The individual Slackware operating systems wouldn't be affected by each others' use of that common /home at all. This is because the distributions are identical.

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Well, I see elegance in each approach! Fascinating stuff! I might stick with what's been working for me all along, but I think it's more likely that my approach to multi-booting here will continue to evolve, and it sure is nice to get this kind of feedback from all of you. Thanks, everyone!

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The reason to not share /home between multiple installs is because different versions of different programs sometimes use different setups in their config files so it will end up causing conflicts odds are.Take it from someone who as tried this first hand ;)Cheers,~Jeff

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The reason to not share /home between multiple installs is because different versions of different programs sometimes use different setups in their config files so it will end up causing conflicts odds are.
I agree. Include /home in each distro's root partition and keep most of the data in separate partitions. This plan has served me well for years. And don't forget to backup! I just had a main OS hard drive die. Luckily, with /home backed up, I just copied emails, browser profiles etc. back to the same place on the new drive and was back in business quick time.

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