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  1. #1
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    A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    The lazy way is usually the "easiest" way.

    I recommend the hard drives to be pre-partitioned first. My favourite tool is the cfdisk. I give 5Gb to a Linux that comes in one CD. For a distro in multiple CD or DVD I allocate 10Gb. No need to format any of them.

    When the first Linux has Grub as its boot loader comes along put it into the MBR and amend its /boot/grub/menu.lst to add for every empty partition the following 3 lines

    Title empty partition in hda5
    Root (hd0,4)
    Chainloader +1

    Title empty partition in hda6
    Root (hd0,5)
    Chainloader +1

    Title empty partition in hda7
    Root (hd0,6)
    Chainloader +1

    and so on until all the empty partitions are included.

    When a new distro is received just install it into any of the empty partitions. When it comes to the location of its bootloader just tell the installer to place it in the root partition, i.e. not MBR. On reboot the new distro will be bootable at the designated partition. If everything works satisfactorily then go to amend the /boot/grub/menu.lst of the Grub in the MBR to replace the "empty partition" with the new distro's name.

    This scheme, of having distro entries in the boot menu prior to their installations, works for any Linux and BSD.

    Lilo checks every partition to see if it is bootable first and so it wouldn't implement unbootable entries, so if a user wants to be lazy sticks with Grub. If he/she really like to do work go with Windows's NTLRD.

    --------------Edited addition-----------------------

    For those realising the above to be equivalent to "How to multi-boot 100 systems in a nutshell" and decide to load up hundreds of Linux distros in their 300 or 400Gb hard disks here are some brickwalls in front of you. (If you see blood stains at head level on these walls you can tell some of them are mine!)

    (1) Most distros are not yet capable of crossing the 137Gb barrier. If their kernels can their boot loaders may not. The brave ones are Mandriva, Suse, Sam and Slax.

    (2) The Red Hat family of Linux don't seem to expect more than 16 partitions in a hard disk, regardless if it is an IDE or a Sata. You will have a job to ask them to help you to reach the higher partitions.

    (3) The current maximum number of partition permitted by Linux is 15 for a Sata and 63 for an IDE. I can reach the former but the only managed 60 partitions maximum for the latter. Also Linix is known to have a ceiling limit of 255 "raw devices" which I take it to mean partitions too, because a partition is named /dev/hda39 etc. If you want to investigate this limit please go ahead. I feel stupid enough to get this far.

    (4) Linux installable at beyond 137Gb but unchainloaderable may still be bootable by direct kernel address. That is to replace "chainloader +1" above with

    kernel /boot/kernel-2.6.12-i386 ro root=/dev/hdax
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.12-386

    where the two files after kernel and initrd are the relevant kernel and initrd files of that Linux. No need for the last statement if the Linux doesn't use initrd. The two are always stored in /boot partition.

    (5) A small number of old Linux distros are unable to accept partition number higher than 20.

    Suggest to print this page in toilet paper so that it can be used to soak blood if your head bangs against one of the above brickwalls.
    Last edited by saikee; 09-12-2005 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    GREAT POST!!!

    Would you like me to add it to the FAQ?

  3. #3
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    How much would it cost me?

  4. #4
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Don't worry, I'll give you a deal. Just pay off my bar tab and we'll call it even.

    I'll add it in tonight.

  5. #5
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Ta !

    Kind of difficult to get money to pay for your drinks now. After this post no one asks a question about booting and I am out of a job!

  6. #6
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    All done. Check out the FAQ and look for "How do I boot between several Linux Distributions?".

    Now all we have to do is find you another job. Hmmm, I think there's an opening as a dish washer at the bar.


    j/k!

  7. #7
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Look Spankin,

    It has been dead quiet here for the last few days. Nobody has a need to ask question on booting now. Not only I lost my job. It looks like you are out of a job too! Ha Ha!

    Don't know about you but I am due for a 3-week holiday in Europe in two weeks time. May as well pack it in now.

  8. #8
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by saikee
    Don't know about you but I am due for a 3-week holiday in Europe in two weeks time. May as well pack it in now.
    I'm about to do a fresh dual boot install soon - you can't go on holiday as I may need you if it all goes horribly wrong

    Now you've mastered GRUB you could always pick a new topic - iptables is one that constantly facinates me

    Nice job btw

    Ned

    ~ Want to try Linux - check out the PC Perspective Linux FAQ ~
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  9. #9
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Ned,

    You know I picked the NTLDR multi-booting tip from you. It was hard work for a lazy user like me.

    If you want an easy life help yourself a bootable Grub floppy or a CD and kiss your NTLRD good bye.

    Take a look at

    How to make a Grub floppy/CD that boots all systems in a PC


    You can then go holiday just like me and forget about "dual boot".
    Last edited by saikee; 09-13-2005 at 07:25 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by saikee
    Look Spankin,

    It has been dead quiet here for the last few days. Nobody has a need to ask question on booting now. Not only I lost my job. It looks like you are out of a job too! Ha Ha!

    Don't know about you but I am due for a 3-week holiday in Europe in two weeks time. May as well pack it in now.


    Oh well, I guess I'll pack up and tag along. Maybe we can go and pop by Ned's when we're over there. I'm sure he'll have a few pints of some dark warm stuff he calls beer. Don't know why he calls that stuff that.

  11. #11
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by Spankin Partier


    Oh well, I guess I'll pack up and tag along. Maybe we can go and pop by Ned's when we're over there. I'm sure he'll have a few pints of some dark warm stuff he calls beer. Don't know why he calls that stuff that.
    Saikee understands

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  12. #12
    Joined
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Hi,

    Time to revive this thread I think

    I'm trying to multiple boot WinXPSP2 and various Linux distros and have managed to dual-boot WinXP with Ubuntu 6.10. My problem is triple booting with Fedora Core 6.

    WinXP is on the first partition of hd0 (/dev/hda1) and Ubuntu is on /dev/hda3. GRUB is installed on the MBR and is happy with

    title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.17-10-generic
    root (hd0,2)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.17-10-generic root=/dev/hda3 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.17-10-generic
    quiet
    savedefault
    boot

    and

    title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    root (hd0,0)
    savedefault
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    I have an unformatted partition and created part of this as /dev/hda4

    I edited /boot/grub/menu.lst to include

    Title empty partition in hda4
    Root (hd0,3)
    Chainloader +1

    That worked OK so I installed FC6 in hda4 and didn't select a GRUB install

    The 'lazy' way bombed and refused to load, so I tried

    title Fedora Core (2.6.18-1.2798.fc6)
    root (hd0,3)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6 ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6.img
    boot

    But that wouldn't boot either (note that I copied the kernel and initrd from another FC6 posting and that could be wrong (how do I find the correct values?)

    Any ideas?

    Ian

  13. #13
    Joined
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    3

    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by igeldard View Post

    title Fedora Core (2.6.18-1.2798.fc6)
    root (hd0,3)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6 ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6.img
    boot

    Ian
    Changed this to

    title Fedora Core (2.6.18-1.2798.fc6)
    root (hd0,3)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6 root=/dev/hda4 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18-1.2798.fc6.img
    quiet
    boot

    And it booted ok, though the setup process in FC6 did not seem as smooth with Ubuntu 6.10 - blank screens, mystery logout and a lot of update downloading.

    Still I now have a triple boot system, now for a quad boot. But how, in principle, does one find the vmlinuz/initrd values of a distro before installation?

    Ian

  14. #14
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by igeldard View Post
    Still I now have a triple boot system, now for a quad boot. But how, in principle, does one find the vmlinuz/initrd values of a distro before installation?

    Ian
    After initial installation, maybe you could check and make a note of the files before rebooting for the first time. If not, how about booting the system with a knoppix LiveCD, mounting the partition and checking the files?

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  15. #15
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    Re: A lazy way to increase multi-booting in Linux

    from experience siakee puts an end to need for any boot questions! , also from experience, and this is for noobs (and I still fall into that category)....LEARN how to partition off your HDD, ESPECIALLY if you're going to throw software RAID into the mix.

    While I'm at it, if you want things to really perform, learn where stuff comes from (I'm still learning), I.E /home or /usr, put those (not necessarily the ones I mentioned, study and learn your distro to find out where "your" programs will load, etc...) partitions on your faster drive(s), of course / can't go on software raid, but if you learn those things, they will go a LONG way to making your setups smoother!


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