Multi-booting ubuntu installations (Was: Using VMWare for Dapper testing)

Stephen Shirley diamond+ubuntu-devel at
Tue Nov 29 22:31:20 GMT 2005

Daniel Robitaille wrote:
> computer; as long as you are willing to (double-triple-quad)-boot your
> computer, something usually quite easy to do with the current
> installer.

Not so much really. If you want grub to be able to update the menu.lst 
for all ubuntu installations, you need to do something like:

- install grub into the mbr, with one entry per os, which chainloads the 
os's bootloader
- install grub into the os's partition

While that's not all that complicated, it's still not something the 
installer can handle (unless i've somehow missed it...).

Where things get even worse is when you (like me ,-) use LVM for all 
your linux partitions, and use a common non-LVM /boot, shared between 
all ubuntu installs (i usually have about 3-4 on my laptop, for 
testing). The sane solution here is to cheat slightly. I made a small 
patch for grub with allows me to do this (from a virgin install):

mv /boot /mnt/boot/$ubuntu-ver/
ln -s /mnt/boot/$ubuntu-ver /boot

The patch tells grub that it should use /$ubuntu-ver/vmlinuz-etc... as 
the kernel path rather than /vmlinuz-etc... when updating menu.lst. I 
then install grub to the /boot partition, make it active, and have a 
conf that has a:

title $ubuntu-ver
configfile /$ubuntu-ver/grub/menu.lst

entry per ubuntu install. It works quite well. If anyone else is 
actually interested in the patch, i'm happy to make it available, but 
i'm not holding my breath ,-)


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