View Full Version : Hdd partition preparation for multiple distros / users

28th December 2011, 02:01 PM
Heyas friends of experiments and bleeding edge :)

During the last 6 months, right after i've joined the linux community, i wanted to design my system for easy re-usage and easy re-cover.

Where an extra partition with /home is very helpfull for the start, i've figured some issues comming along.
One of these issues is, if you have a 'mix' of diffrent distros, accessing all the same /home, i had experiences either lag, crashes or unability to login, to name a few.

So the next step of my thinking was to make an extra /home partition for each distro, thats quite an annoying work, and its easy to loose the overview of the partitions, along that one 'cant' easy access common required files (videos, music, documents) that doesnt affect the system, either in performance or stability.

So i went one step further and created a storage partition, which mainly stores the non-sytem files, those will get symlinked. That storage partition has also a folder with settings that dont affect the system, such as filezilla and teamspeak settings.

Very important, using this way requires you to do all future installations with custom modifications for the partioning part.

With an MBR partition table, my disk layout looks like:

1) 1024 mb /boot (boot partition for all distros)
2) 200 gb /home/.wave (storage partition)
3) 16 gb / (main system, fedora in my case)
4) 4 kb extended / logical partition
5) 2-8 gb SWAP (one swap to serve them all, and its a good divider for the tryout distros) Every further partition made, i suggest somewhat around 8-16gb, may hold another distro, and will share the swap partition. You may or may not format the /boot partition for further distros, depending on your grub/2 preferences.
Personaly i format the /boot with every new distro, and let grub2 find my installations.

To have it work properly, we need to prepare the storage partition, choose a filesystem of your choice that fits your needs. If you dont know what to choose, i'd suggest ext4.

Yes, we're gonna make something similar to a home dir ;)
Browse to your mountpoint (eg /home/.wave) and create for each user a folder, they include another set of folders, "storage" and "settings".
Copy / Move your files to the according folders. Attached is a script that should do this for you (prepareStorage.sh).

Further, if you havent got it yet, create a folder named "bin" in your "storage" folder. Place the script files there.

All you have to keep in mind, either name the mountpoint of your storage partition somewhere in your system and name the 'final' folder .wave or change that term in the scripts.

For any further distro you tryout AND (thats important) all additional applications are installed, all you have to do, is running the newDE.sh script, and it will place symlinks of the files/folders in $gate/settings and $gate/storage in your new homedir.

Hope this is of some help.