How best to set up a separate /home partition, and pros/cons

Colin Law clanlaw at
Sun Nov 25 22:26:53 UTC 2012

On 25 November 2012 22:19, Pongo Pan <pongo_pan at> wrote:
> On Sun, 2012-11-25 at 21:51 +0000, Colin Law wrote:
>> On 25 November 2012 19:20, John D. Herron <paradox.herron at> wrote:
>> > Hi, all.
>> >
>> > Currently running Ubuntu Natty pre-installed on a stand-alone machine
>> > (Dual-core AMD Athlon 255, 4 GB RAM, 1TB HDD).
>> >
>> > Since I have a lot of unused disk space I'd like to add and try out some
>> > other distros (Linux Mint 13, Zorin OS, ...).
>> >
>> > In order to keep things 'streamlined' (i.e. to avoid unnecessary
>> > duplications) I'm looking into setting up a separate /home partition to
>> > serve the future distros as well.
>> >
>> > Is this a reasonable idea? If so, how should I best go about it?
>> I think it is not a good idea to try and share a home folder between
>> different versions of ubuntu never mind between different distros.
>> You will have different versions of applications on the two systems
>> trying to use the same configuration and data files.  Moving from a
>> earlier version to a later should not be a problem, but if you try to
>> go back to the earlier one you may well have problems.  Trying to do
>> the same with different distributions may be even worse as they may
>> have conflicting requirements in files in the home directory.
> Preach it brother!  It can be an utter disaster to
> share /home/<username>  between distros or even variants of the same
> distro.  Much better to have as many small separate /home/<usernames> as
> you have distros, *each in its own small partition* to contain the many
> hidden .config files for each and a much larger common data area,
> maybe /data, with distro agnostic stuff like documents, pictures, etc.
> symlinked from each home. Ten GB is way more than enough for
> each /home/<username>.

I don't see the point in having lots of little /home/username
partitions, why not just keep those within the distro root partition
and link to the common data partition as you suggest?


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