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

John D. Herron paradox.herron at
Tue Nov 27 07:02:29 UTC 2012

< big snip >

 > On 2012-11-25 22:53 (GMT-0500) Bill Stanley composed:
 >> You probably can have links to your user data.  Create documents,
 >> pictures, music, downloads etc directories somewhere where all of the
 >> distros can access it.  Then have links to these directories and keep
 >> all of your user data there.  Of course, you have to get the file
 >> permissions right.

On 11/26/2012 05:44 AM, Felix Miata wrote:
> Not probably can, just can.
> Much easier with only one shared /home partition. Put Data, Music,
> Videos, etc. dirs in home's root, and share the same GID for all users
> and data that need that sharing regardless of distro and release. Keep
> the settings separated by using a different UID for $USERNAME for each
> distro and release. Finally, either set umask 002 in /etc/profile.local,
> and/or use access control lists. Some apps won't respect the umask, so
> on occasion you may need to fix perms on files written by such apps,
> chmodding regular files from the typical 644 -> rw-r--r-- to 664 ->
> rw-rw-r-- and dirs to g+w.
> For simply testing a release, there's little need to have a separate
> /home. If the test turns into a non-testing installation, add the
> separate /home to its fstab when the need arises.

Admittedly, this is all rather new territory to me.
My reasoning is that, as the sole user of my would-be multi-linux box, 
it would make sense to open access to a separate /home (inclusive of not 
only documents, pictures, downloads and the like, but Thunderbird and 
Firefox /Chromium profiles and LO configuration files as well) to any 
installed distros, which will very likely all be Debian-oriented.

Having backed up the current /home directory to two distinct external 
USB disks (to put at ease my 'paranoia'), I'm inclined to follow Liam's 
advice. This leaves a few questions open:

1)   Is the new /home partition best set up as a physical or logical 
partition? There are currently only two partitions on the HDD: the one 
that holds Ubuntu and a pre-installed 20 GB swap - see

2)   I suppose I should somehow move the contents of the current /home 
dir to the new /home partition to be created and in time remove them 
from the distro's structure?

3)   How should I go about making the new stand-alone /home partition 
recognisable to the current Ubuntu distro first and then to any new distros?

4)   What is an 'access control list' and where is it to be found?

Thanks much to all for your help, which is greatly appreciated!

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