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  #1  
Old 17th May 2008, 10:08 PM
Scyythe Offline
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Sharing a Home Partition Between Distros?

I have F8 and F9 installed on my laptop with both using the same /home partition. I use the same Username and UID in both distros.

Is this a good or bad idea?
It seems like some of my preferences get changed when I reboot, like the order of objects in the gnome panel.
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  #2  
Old 18th May 2008, 12:42 AM
PabloTwo Online
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Overall,Bad idea. You can get away sharing the same /home directory for both distros, but you do need to use a different username account for each distro. Otherwise, on many things changes you make while in one distro will be affected in the other distro as well. This can be a good thing in some instances, for example, your browser bookmarks will always be in sync and perhaps your email address book entries as well, but most things you do want to keep separate and uneffected by what you do in the 'other' distro.

Last edited by PabloTwo; 18th May 2008 at 12:48 AM.
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  #3  
Old 18th May 2008, 01:23 AM
OralDeckard Offline
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Pablo, can you elaborate on that. I use the same home for different F8 installs, and like having all configurations I make in one automatically be in effect in the other. Each is on its own HD, with the /home on one and the /home on the other getting updated form the first by rsync once a day. This way if either drive fails I am all up to date and running fine.

Is the problem due to the differences in the distros, or is it because each should be configured a little different.y ?

I'm afraid I copy many of my hidden files from the older into the newer when I install a new distro. Is this a problem generally, or are there some thing that should not be coppied forward while others are all right to copy ?
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  #4  
Old 18th May 2008, 01:27 AM
fizy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scyythe
I have F8 and F9 installed on my laptop with both using the same /home partition. I use the same Username and UID in both distros.

Is this a good or bad idea?
It seems like some of my preferences get changed when I reboot, like the order of objects in the gnome panel.
It's sure that you can share your swap partition.... there are no needs to having a swap partition for each distro on your PC. Just use one for every os.

Sharing the /home partition is possible. It will not cause you any trouble.
If you are sharing also the same account.... well, this can cause some problems. If you are going to, or if you are doing that you'll have you to use the same version of all software and keep the same path-structure in each system (yes, starting from the root / )...
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  #5  
Old 18th May 2008, 01:31 AM
JN4OldSchool Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OralDeckard
Pablo, can you elaborate on that. I use the same home for different F8 installs, and like having all configurations I make in one automatically be in effect in the other. Each is on its own HD, with the /home on one and the /home on the other getting updated form the first by rsync once a day. This way if either drive fails I am all up to date and running fine.

Is the problem due to the differences in the distros, or is it because each should be configured a little different.y ?

I'm afraid I copy many of my hidden files from the older into the newer when I install a new distro. Is this a problem generally, or are there some thing that should not be coppied forward while others are all right to copy ?
What you are doing is fine, they are all F8 and the changes can carry across. Running different versions of the same apps in different versions of the same distro or different distros is sure to cause some quirks though. Generally, I would stay away from doing this and just create a shared /data partition.
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  #6  
Old 18th May 2008, 01:43 AM
PabloTwo Online
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OK.. first, let's make sure we're on the same wave length here. What Scyythe says by he's using the same /home directory for both installs of F8 and F9, he means just that. That he has created a partition "/home" and that both F8 and F9 are using that as a 'common' /home directory, not two seaparte /home directories.

Now, on that singular "/home" directory, he is using the the same user account for both F8 and F9, not two different '/home/username' folders, but just one '/home/username' folder, which both F8 and F9 are reading from and writing to. My use of the word 'sync' was probably a bad choice, because it is not really syncing. His broswer bookmarks, et all, aren't two different files being sync'd, they are the same file in both installs.

So, when Scyythe decides to, say, add a new program to auto startup while he is in F8, that same program will (attempt) to also startup when he boots into F9. That's because both F8 and F9 on his setup are using the same account, on the same /home. It gets real sticky, and just can cause a mess, especially when two different distros are envolved.

You're situation appears to be different. Your /home/username files are separate files on separate hard drives, and thus you are using the rsync method to sync just the data you want synced. Much more sane. What you do in one does not affect the other directly, or at all. Hope that help to clarify.

edit: Scyythe, if I've misenterpreted your use of a common /home/username for both distros, please correct me.

Paul

Last edited by PabloTwo; 18th May 2008 at 02:07 AM.
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  #7  
Old 18th May 2008, 02:05 AM
OralDeckard Offline
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Thank you Paul. But actually what I am doing may not be much more sane. Both the F8 on sda and the F8 on sdb use the /home/username on sda. The copy of /home/username on sdb gets synchronized each day, but is never used until the fateful day that the sda drive dies or is removed. Then the fstab line pointing to /home on sda will fail to mount it, and it will default back to the /home on sdb.

And though the F8 on sda is updated regularly, the F8 on sdb is updated once a month. And there are more apps on sda. And apps have been added to sdb that had been in use on sda for a long time, the came up already configured just like they are on sda. It is set up as a failover system. The idea is that either drive can fail at any time and not leave the user in the lurch. So far it has worked great, with sdb being used once a month just to verify readiness. So if there is a danger here that I have overlooked, I sure don't want to get embarrassed.

I mean, I moved thunderbird from F7 to F8 just by copying the .thunderbird folder across. That is about the same thing as having one .thunderbird folder being used alternately by F7 and F8. If fact, I was just about to configure F9 by copying hidden files in from F8. I haven't so far because I have been so frustrated with KDE on F9 that I have started using Gnome.
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  #8  
Old 18th May 2008, 02:11 AM
PabloTwo Online
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ahh.... exactly why everyone should own, and use, an external terabyte backup hard disk drive.. just for the day when your /dev/sda goes SPLAT!!
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  #9  
Old 18th May 2008, 02:12 AM
OralDeckard Offline
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Well I guess I should mention that I did not intend to update KDE by copying the .kde folder in from F8. KDE4 so far is so horrid that I probably won't use it anymore anyhow, and certainly don't expect KDE4 to have compatibility with KDE3.5. Actually, an F8 virtual machine using F9 just for a host is starting to look really tempting.

Last edited by OralDeckard; 18th May 2008 at 02:15 AM. Reason: "KDE4" is more descriptive than "This thing"
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  #10  
Old 18th May 2008, 02:20 AM
OralDeckard Offline
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Ah, it just so happens that I have two terabyte externals each containing images of every computer in the place (about 15). One stays off-site, and they are rotated every 6 months.

But having the Restore already done in the form of a second copy, up to date and ready, sure saves time, which the boss thinks is money.
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  #11  
Old 18th May 2008, 02:34 AM
PabloTwo Online
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Man, I'm jealous now.... two terabyte hdd's. My highest capacity backup device would be the DVD drive that resides in my wifes computer on the lan (huge lan.... her computer and mine) as mine is still a lowly DVD-ROM drive. I just backup important files, which don't take up much space. The OS's and the programs can always be reinstalled, it's the data that's irreplaceable if there is no backup.

F9.... KDE 4.... updates... upgrades....updates.... updatess... my head is spinning. I'm oh so content in my rock solid, never crashes, boring, keeps on a tick'n world of W2K/FC6
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  #12  
Old 18th May 2008, 03:07 AM
OralDeckard Offline
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Well prepare to get jealouser.

Just as there are two installations of F8 on two separate HDs on the BackupServer, there are two separate installation of F6 on the Server. All the data on the Server is synced to the BackupServer. So on the rare occassions when the Server goes, or is taken, down, the BackupServer is renamed Server, and all those Win2K workstations never miss a beat. The data on the server is not only synced to the BackupServer, it is backed up each day to one of two rotating external HDs, which are taken home. So I have four chances to reboot before I have to say the server is down, and if the building burns I can restore new machines very quickly.

We do have two WinXPs on premesis , and I gave my daughter a Wista Ultimate laptop for Christmas.

My wife has gotten used to running a Win2K VM inside her F8 for when only Windows will do, and she has finally quit complaining about Linux, now that she can't live without apps that are simply not available for Windows

Fortunately I do have a laptop HD IDE adaptor for when I have to use Linux to remove a virus from where XP or Vista are protecting it, in the System32 folder.

So Pablo, do you keep that obsolete Win2K patched and up-to-date ?
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  #13  
Old 18th May 2008, 03:27 AM
PabloTwo Online
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Yep, you win, hands down. And you have that backup thing down to a fine science. But then, that's obviously your bread and butter. My only pseudo biz use for my computer is online investing/trading and it wouldn't be the catotrophic for me if my machine went down for awhile (I could use my wifes if I really had to... or even put that 'ol Win98SE machine online in a real pinch....uhg).

To your question, yes. W2K is kept up to date. Just added a second hdd to my wifes machine and installed XP on that new drive. Her decision, I'm just her 'IT' guy. Now she dual boots W2K/XP. I tease her a lot about having plenty of room on that second partition I created on her new hd to install Linux., but in truth, she's probably not ever going there herself.
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  #14  
Old 18th May 2008, 03:33 AM
Scyythe Offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PabloTwo
edit: Scyythe, if I've misenterpreted your use of a common /home/username for both distros, please correct me.

Paul
No, that's exactly what I did.
It didn't work out too well.

This was a dumb idea. Reinstalling distros now, since I messed up a little trying to put openSUSE on here too. No big loss, just a lot of time wasted updating F8 after I installed the first time.
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  #15  
Old 18th May 2008, 09:17 AM
stevea Online
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizy
It's sure that you can share your swap partition.... there are no needs to having a swap partition for each distro on your PC. Just use one for every os.
That's not quite right. Suspend state is saved in the swap, so if you suspend, reboot "Other-OS, and then try to resume you may be in for a surprise. Also if "other-OS" is another Linux then it may resume the suspend instead of booting what you expect.

Quote:
Sharing the /home partition is possible. It will not cause you any trouble.
If you are sharing also the same account.... well, this can cause some problems. If you are going to, or if you are doing that you'll have you to use the same version of all software and keep the same path-structure in each system (yes, starting from the root / )...
Again I don't agree.

You can use the same /home directory - that is certain.
To avoid MAJOR headaches you want to use the same UID & GIDs for both OSes.
There is generally no need to keep all the same paths across the system, but of course if one user has a script that expects /opt/foo/bar and on the other OS this isn't present it won't work.
You do NOT need to have exactl same software versions (if you did then why bother with a second OS ?).


You may experience minor headaches for the following reason:
Many programs keep config information in the user's home in hidden directories .. for example
~/.gnome2/ and ~/.mozilla/ .
Generally - all well written applications will be backward compatble. For example if your ~/.mozilla contents were created by Firefox 2.x then Firefox 3.x will be able to read and interpret these, *BUT* if the contents are written by the later application (FF3.x) then the old application (FF2.x) *may* not reliably use these. Usually this is OK and it works OK, but once in a while you'll have to revert & patch the problem.
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