universal home partition??

Goh Lip g.lip at gmx.com
Sun Sep 5 10:03:35 BST 2010

On 09/05/2010 01:18 AM, Errol Sapir wrote:
> I have a separate partition for /home. I only use a KDE desktop, and
> have exclusively used Kubuntu. After installing 10.04 I had several
> problems with Kubuntu as spoken about in the "impressions of Lucid"
> thread. I now want to try other distros that use KDE. Is there a way of
> keeping my same home partition for other distros? I'm not worried about
> the layout of my home partition but wouldn't want to loose my documents,
> e-mail etc.  I thought of maybe even having the other distro as a dual
> (triple) boot. I was thinking about trying Fedora or PClinuxos.
> Errol
Just to add what others have said, if you have the same /home for 
different OS's, config files may clash especially with different 
versions of applications, like firefox, chromium or thunderbird; 
different versions of kde is particularly troublesome and may cause 
total freeze.

Each of us have our preferred way of handling this, but keep special 
note of what Reinhold mentioned. So, I'll mention what I do and it is up 
to you to evaluate your own preference.

I only have one partition for each OS, no separate /home, /var, /boot, 
etc. (I sometimes wonder why set separately and then use LVM to optimize 
disk usage across sub-partitions). I do have a separate very big Data 
partition to hold only data and can be used by any OS.

To share common config files and to avoid possible clashes, with newer 
upgrades, either by applications or by kde upgrades, I have a partition 
that contains all config files and is sys-linked to the respective OS 
paths. This partition is automatically mounted at fstab in all the OS's 
and a size of between 2 to 5 GB is sufficient. If there are any conflict 
with upgrades, the syslink can be easily removed and a new config file 
established without messing up. Then another config file and syslink 
restored to handle it. For example, when thunderbird had an upgrade, the 
syslink was just renamed from .mozilla-thunderbird to .thunderbird and 
all was well. For the other OS, the syslink named .mozilla-thunderbird 
was maintained without error from the same config file. You can do the 
same for other downloaded applications at /opt too without needing to 
download again. The same finetuning can be done for different versions 
of kde, though the difference between kde3 and kde4 is too big that I 
have separate .kde files for each. (kde3 was recently removed). So my 
typical OS partition just take up about 4 to 7GB, though it may vary for 
different OS.

I need to mention that I have a separate partition, 180 MB but uses only 
1.2 MB, in grub2, independent of any OS, for booting any OS. But that is 
a separate issue and I mention it just to give a total picture.

Errol, my method was devised after a similar question to this same list 
and having many suggestions too. Many belated thanks to all. I am now 
just passing the baton.

Regards - Goh Lip

Life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% mortality rate

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