multi-Linux; multi-boot

Asked by pcnerd on 2008-08-10

I'd like to build a PC. I want to try out different distros of Linux. I want to try out Live CDs first. Is the following even possible? On one hard drive have Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSuse & Windows Vista. Doesn't Linux have to be installed on a primary partition?

Thank you.
David

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Ubuntu Edit question
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Last query:
2008-08-12
Last reply:
2008-08-28
Johannes Pilkahn (j-pilkahn) said : #1

Linux can reside in the extended partition also.

Windows wants to reside on the first partition of the first harddrive. It is easiest to let it have its will.

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #2

The logical thing to do is to try the Live CD of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva & openSuse & decide which one I want. If I have both Windows & Linux, which boot loader do I use, Windows or Linux? If I want to install both Windows & Linux, which one do I install first? I know that Linux needs more than 1 partition. Big hard drives are cheap. I know that I can dual-boot between Windows & Linux, but suppose that I want to have Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSuse & Windows Vista all on one hard drive & choose one upon bootup. Is that even possible?

Q) If I have both Windows & Linux, which boot loader do I use, Windows or Linux?
A) Boot loader - linux GRUB

Q) If I want to install both Windows & Linux, which one do I install first?
a) Windows and after Ubuntu

Q) I know that Linux needs more than 1 partition. I know that I can dual-boot between Windows & Linux, but suppose that I want to have Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSuse & Windows Vista all on one hard drive & choose one upon bootup. Is that even possible?

A) After Ubuntu is installed you can install Kubuntu on same partition. You must only type in a terminal: apt-get install kubuntu-desktop.
If you want install other sysop as testing purpose the Virtualbox package in Ubuntu can manage virtual pcs so you can install a lot of sysop on these virtual pc. Not need to install on other partition of your hard-disk.
You can also install Window in a Virtualbox machine.

Hope this helps

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #4

As you can tell, I'm a Linux newbie.

I'm still confused.

You state :
Q) If I have both Windows & Linux, which boot loader do I use, Windows or Linux?
A) Boot loader - linux GRUB

Q) If I want to install both Windows & Linux, which one do I install first?
a) Windows and after Ubuntu

So, I install Windows first on a primary partition & then I install Linux. How do I specify the GRUB loader after Linux is installed? Why is the GRUB loader "better" than the Windows boot loader?

Yes first install Window then Ubuntu.
Ubuntu will resize your NTFS partition to make space for install itself. (you can choose the size of Ubuntu partition please choose a "good" size for Ubuntu > 10 giga or more if you plan to heavy use it )
You don't need to specify boot loader Ubuntu linux will install GRUB and you will be able to boot from Windows or from Ubuntu choosing at pc startup.

- Watch this video that show howto install Ubuntu on a pc with Windows: http://screencasts.ubuntu.com/Installing_Ubuntu_with_Windows_Dual-Boot

Then please to install the 32 bits release of Ubuntu 8.04.1 Hardy

Download the standard Ubuntu 8.04.1 32 bits iso image from here:
http://releases.ubuntu.com/releases/8.04.1/ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso
or better using a torrent file:
http://releases.ubuntu.com/releases/8.04.1/ubuntu-8.04.1-desktop-i386.iso.torrent

- Please check the md5sum of your downloaded Ubuntu .iso image file, here the https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToMD5SUM howto, and compare with http://releases.ubuntu.com/8.04.1/MD5SUMS

- Burn it on a cd rom, be sure to burn your cd at lower speed you can do usually 4x here an howto https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto

- Please also check the md5sum of your self burned cd. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToMD5SUM

- Boot your pc from self-burned cdrom, if it don't start from cd please modify your pc BIOS settings by accessing to it usually pressing CANC or F2 or other keys (check into your motherboard paper documentation or watch carefully the screen, usually there are tips to access BIOS, when you switch your computer on)

- then to be sure your ram is ok, boot from Ubuntu live cd main menu and at first showed menu, select the item "Memory test" to test your pc ram memory

- Here the steps to install Ubuntu 8.04.1 https://help.ubuntu.com/community/GraphicalInstall

hope this helps

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #6

Please be patient with me. I have a few more questions. OK. I know that I can multiboot between Windows & Linux & I know that I have to install Windows first. Windows Vista has a neat feature. I can shrink or expand a partition from within Windows & create new partitions from within Windows. I suppose that I have that option instead of Linux resizing the partition, correct?

I don't know which distro of Linux I want to try so, at this time, I'm only interested in Live CD distros. I've browsed around the 'net & found out that Live CDs are available in Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva & openSuse. The logical thing for me to do would be to try a Live CD of each one & decide on one of the distros. But, suppose that I can't make up my mind. I know that Linux requires 2 partitions (or is it 3?).I don't completely understand how primary, extended & logical partitions work. Is it even possible to install 4 distros of Linux plus Windows Vista on a single hard drive?

Windows Vista Ultimate has Virtual PC. That would be easier to use than rebooting every time that I want to switch OSes. But does Virtual PC have any disadvantages?

Thank you.

Matt Darcy (matt-darcy) said : #7

downloading the livecd's and trying them is an excellent idea, go for it !

Linux only requires 2 partitions, one for the file system, and one for a swap partition. Both of these file systems can be either a primary or extended partition, so don't worry about using either a primary or an extended partition, either is fine.

You can use any form of virtual machine as a good way to install/play/test operating systems, the downside is

a.) if your machine is lacking resources the performance of both your virtual machine host (your pc) will suffer and your virtual machine guest (the actual virtual machine) may suffer.
b.) you wont be able to access hardware directly. This means that the virtual machine has to ask your host pc to access hardware for it, this is not a real issue except for things like video card access in that for the latest greatest 3d effects your Virtual machine will not have direct access to the video card so wont be able to use all the "cool" features, but as you sound like your just playing, and looking into linux distributions I don't see that as a problem

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #8

I really appreciate your help in answering my questions, but you haven't answered the big question. Is it even possible to install 4 distros of Linux plus Windows Vista? Let's do the math. Linux requires 2 partitions. So, if I want to install Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mandriva & openSuse that requires 8 partitions. Windows requires 1 partition unless I want to separate the programs, data & swap file. So, I could use 3 partitions just for Windows. I know that I have to install Windows first. So, that's a grand total of 11 partitions. I know that large hard drives are cheap, but if it is even possible to have 11 partitions on a single hard drive, setup would be a major pain. I know that the partitions would be primary, extended & logical.

So, bottom line, is it even possible to have 11 partitions on a single hard drive? If so, how would it be accomplished?

Thank you.

Johannes Pilkahn (j-pilkahn) said : #9

In Hardy, all HDDs are mounted as SCSI devices.

The kernel can handle 16 different SCSI devices/partitions.

Since you have to count the whole drive, you're down to 15 partitions.
4 of those can be primary, but the extended partition, which contains the logical ones, also is to be counted as primary.
So you'd get a maximum of 14 data partitions.

For a single-hard-drive-setup with the maximum partitons the partition table would look like this:

sda - The drive itself, 15 partitions left
sda1 - primary partition
sda2 - primary partition
sda3 - primary partition
sda4 - extended partition
sda5 through sda15 - 11 logical partitions

For your setup, this would probably be sensible:

device | file system | Use | minimum size

sda1 NTFS Vista 20 to 25 GB
sda2 NTFS Windows applications (optional) 10 GB to open end (you know what you use)
sda3 ext3 most used Linux distribution 6 to 15 GB
sda4 ------ extended partition ----------------
sda5 ext3 2nd Linux distribution 6 to 15 GB
sda6 ext3 3rd Linux distribution 6 to 15 GB
sda7 ext3 4th Linux distribution 6 to 15 GB
sda8 NTFS/FAT shared data depends on use (FAT, if ntfs-3g read/write support not on all distros)
sda9 swap swapspace distro 1 1 to 5 GB
sda10 swap swapspace distro 1 1 to 5 GB
sda11 swap swapspace distro 1 1 to 5 GB
sda12 swap swapspace distro 1 1 to 5 GB
sda13 NTFS Windows pagefile (optional) 2 to 5 GB <-- not common in Windows, but since you mentioned it...

You'd have the option of two more partitons - you might want to consider separate /home partitions for the two most used linux distributions.

Johannes Pilkahn (j-pilkahn) said : #10

In Hardy, all HDDs are mounted as SCSI devices.

The kernel can handle 16 different SCSI devices/partitions.

Since you have to count the whole drive, you're down to 15 partitions.
4 of those can be primary, but the extended partition, which contains the logical ones, also is to be counted as primary.
So you'd get a maximum of 14 data partitions.

For a single-hard-drive-setup with the maximum partitons the partition table would look like this:

sda - The drive itself, 15 partitions left
sda1 - primary partition
sda2 - primary partition
sda3 - primary partition
sda4 - extended partition
sda5 through sda15 - 11 logical partitions

For your setup, this would probably be sensible:

device | file system | ------------------ Use ----------------- | minimum size

sda1 --- NTFS -------- Vista ------------------------------------ 20 to 25 GB
sda2 --- NTFS -------- Windows applications (optional) -- 10 GB to open end (you know what you use)
sda3 --- ext3 --------- most used Linux distribution ------ 6 to 15 GB
sda4 ------------------- extended partition --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
sda5 --- ext3 --------- 2nd Linux distribution --------------- 6 to 15 GB
sda6 --- ext3 --------- 3rd Linux distribution --------------- 6 to 15 GB
sda7 --- ext3 --------- 4th Linux distribution --------------- 6 to 15 GB
sda8 --- NTFS/FAT --- shared data -------------------------- depends on use (FAT, if ntfs-3g read/write support not installed on all distros)
sda9 --- swap -------- swapspace distro 1 ----------------- 1 to 5 GB
sda10 - swap -------- swapspace distro 1 ----------------- 1 to 5 GB
sda11 - swap -------- swapspace distro 1 ----------------- 1 to 5 GB
sda12 - swap -------- swapspace distro 1 ----------------- 1 to 5 GB
sda13 - NTFS -------- Windows pagefile (optional) ------- 2 to 5 GB <-- not common in Windows, but since you mentioned it...

You'd have the option of two more partitons - you might want to consider separate /home partitions for the two most used linux distributions.

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #11

Whoa!!! Setting up all of those partitions would be a major headache!

Why are IDE or SATA drives set up as SCSI hard drives?

The logical thing for me to do is try out different distros of Linux. First I have to decide which GUI I like more - Gnome or KDE. That's why I've downloaded LiveCDs of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, & Mandriva. Once I've decided which GUI I like more, then I'd install a distro of Linux that uses that GUI.

Johannes Pilkahn (j-pilkahn) said : #12

Apart from the fact that the above post of mine contains one error - the various swapspaces are obviously for the different distros, not all for 1.

Anyhow, if you want to try the various Linux distributions first and then decide on one to install, and unless i misunderstood you previously, you're question should have been answered a while back.

To test out what distribution suits you best via the use of LiveCDs requires no repartitioning, not even writing to the harddrive.

You were the one contemplating whether 11 partitions were possible to have, which is why I had gathered you wanted to install them all.

If you test out the LiveCDs for a few days/weeks and then install Vista aside one Linux OS, the required partition table would obviously be as simple as:

device | file system | ------------------ Use ----------------- | minimum size

sda1 --- NTFS -------- Vista ------------------------------------ 20 to 25 GB
sda2 --- NTFS -------- Windows applications (optional) -- 10 GB to open end (you know what you use)
sda3 --- ext3 --------- Linux ----------------------------------- 10 to 15 GB
sda4 ------------------- extended partition --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
sda5 ------------------- /home (optional)
sda5 --- NTFS/FAT --- shared data (optional) -------------- depends on use (FAT, if ntfs-3g read/write support not installed on all distros)
sda6 --- swap -------- swapspace ---------------------------- 1 to 5 GB

pcnerd (dcs-79c) said : #13

Why are IDE or SATA drives set up as SCSI hard drives?

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) said : #14

This question was expired because it remained in the 'Open' state without activity for the last 15 days.