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10 Bootable Linux Distros on hard disk


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#1 Antilope7724

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 10:59 PM

I have an old Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop with a 320gb hard disk, 4gb ram and a Core 2 Duo T9600 cpu (upgraded from the original Pentium T4200). I bought it in 2009 and it came with Windows Vista. About a month later, Dell sent me a Windows 7 upgrade DVD. I've tried Windows 10 on the old machine recently, but that was a little slow and I have a newer laptop that runs Windows 10 quite well.

I've used Windows since Windows 3.0. About 6 months ago, I became interested in Linux.

So, I decided to dedicate the old Dell to Linux distros exclusively, to test them and see which I preferred. I tried live Linux USB's, but I really wanted to try various distros and compare them on a hard disk install.

I partitioned the hard disk with Gparted and installed 10 Linux distros, all accessible/bootable through grub. I set aside 2 x memory as swap (8.096gb), 25gb for home, and a 25gb partition for each of the 10 Linux distros. There is an additional 14gb partition at the end of the disk that has nothing as of yet.

Here is the disk partition scheme: (all 64 bit distros - if available). These were installed about a month ago, using the latest distros available at the time.

/sda1 - swap
/sda2 - home
/sda3 - Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.2
/sda4 - extended partition
/sda5 - Ubuntu 15.10
/sda6 - Fedora
/sda7 - Mageia
/sda8 - Chromixium
/sda9 - Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0
/sda10- Kubuntu
/sda11- Neptune
/sda12- PCLinuxOS
/sda13- openSUSE
/sda14- empty

Now it should be really easy to configure, tweak and evaluate each of the Linux distros. Not one of these distros needed help finding drivers. They all supplied all the drivers for my Dell automatically and all of the laptop hardware works.

If I get tired of one of the distros, it should be easy to delete it and install another Linux distro in its place.

I found you can only have 4 Primary partitions on an MBR partitioned hard drive, but if you add 3 Primary and 1 extended Partition, you can add quite a number of logical drives within the extended partition that are all bootable. I've read that you can have 15 to 60 partitions reliably on an MBR partitioned hard drive.

After testing all of these Linux distros, I find I like Linux Mint the best. I also like Chromixium because it's a Cromebook clone, saving me having to buy hardware. It's kind of boring, glad I didn't buy Chromebook hardware.

 

Linux_Distro.jpg

 

This screen capture was taken immediately after I installed all of the distros. I had not made any other changes. I installed each distro with it's defaults from a 64-bit ISO made into a Live USB using Rufus in Windows 10. It's interesting to see how much disc space is taken up initially with each distro.

 

I initially partitioned the hard disc using a Linux Mint Live USB session, using the Gparted partitioning program that comes with it. Each distro was installed with /root assigned to its own respective partition. All the distros share the same swap partition.

 

Each of these distros is separately bootable from the Grub boot screen. Each distro installed Grub or added itself to Grub as it was installed.

 

GRUB_DISTROS2.jpg

 

You can edit Grub easily with the graphical editor Grub Customizer.

Here's how to install Grub Customizer.

Much easier than editing Grub by hand.

This program worked well for me on both MBR and UEFI/GPT hard disks.

You can easily install it in a terminal session.

From the Linux desktop press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open the terminal session.
When it opens, paste these commands below one by one and press Enter after pasting or typing each command:


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install grub-customizer




Now if you check in Menu, Applications.

Grub Customizer should be there.

Start it up and make any desired changes in boot listings, boot order, even color of menu, and a background picture, etc.

After making all of the desired changes to Grub, make sure to select:

File, Install to MBR

 

To sum it up, I like having all of these distros immediately available to boot and compare. Switching one out for another doesn't affect the others as they are all on separate partitions. My personal files, downloads, data, etc are saved in the /sda2 partition, so that is also not affected by erasing a distro on another partition and replacing it.

This is really the way to go when you want to compare a lot of Linux distros, or try out the latest thing when it's released. Give it a try. You don't need the latest hardware, either. This is a perfect use for your old hardware.

 

 

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité - Je suis Charlie - Vive la France!


Edited by Antilope7724, 16 November 2015 - 05:45 AM.


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#2 Guest_hollowface_*

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:11 PM

Welcome to the GNU/Linux world. :) Not surprising you like Linux Mint, it is very popular, and it's easy to see why. Which version of Linux Mint did you go with: Cinnamon, KDE, Mate? Just curious.


Edited by hollowface, 15 November 2015 - 11:12 PM.


#3 NickAu

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:15 PM

Welcome to BC and Linux. Nice work. 

 

/sda9 - Puppy Linux, I like Puppy Linux when its installed to HDD saves messing with save files.



#4 Antilope7724

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:21 PM

Hi, thanks for the welcome.

 

I like LInux Mint Cinnamon. I haven't tried the other flavors yet :) , but I will get around to it.

 

I'm using Tahr Puppy Linux.



#5 TsVk!

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:40 PM

You're missing the "King of the Distros" :ranting:

 

"Hail to the King!, long live the King!"

 

(Debian)

...............

 

Just kidding (kinda)... I have Mint on my family's pc's, great look and easy to use. Perfect for people getting into Linux, fuss free :)



#6 Antilope7724

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:46 PM

You're missing the "King of the Distros" :ranting:

 

"Hail to the King!, long live the King!"

 

(Debian)

...............

 

Just kidding (kinda)... I have Mint on my family's pc's, great look and easy to use. Perfect for people getting into Linux, fuss free :)

 

I would like to try it. Is it just called Debian or is there a particular distro I should look for? Thanks.



#7 TsVk!

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:51 PM

It is just Debian, it is the grand-daddy of many of the distro's you have tried (including Mint and Ubuntu).

 

It is more of a "power-users" distro, but it can do anything you ask it... you just have to ask the right way. :thumbup2:



#8 NickAu

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 11:57 PM

Ubuntu one distro to rule them all.



#9 TsVk!

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 12:03 AM

Ubuntu one distro to rule them all.

To rule all the poo brown distros that is. sbleep.gif



#10 Antilope7724

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 12:17 AM

It is just Debian, it is the grand-daddy of many of the distro's you have tried (including Mint and Ubuntu).

 

It is more of a "power-users" distro, but it can do anything you ask it... you just have to ask the right way. :thumbup2:

 

Thanks I'll try Debian. I use to be a power user on a Unix system.

 

Years ago, before Windows ruined me :lol: I was the Unix administrator of our engineering department HPUX Me10 CAD system. This was in 1990-1998. Most administration consisted of typing commands in the command window. The system hard disk was 3 ft long, 1 ft square and weighed 100 lbs. It was a whopping 680MB. The HPUX was installed from a tape cartridge. So was the Me10 CAD program. Ahh the good old days, I'm glad they're gone. :lol:



#11 TsVk!

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 12:56 AM

:thumbup2:

 

KDE desktop is the way to go with Debian, Gnome is a 3 legged donkey IMHO.... but feel free to try them all.

 

There's plenty of guys who like different desktops and distros, I hear about new stuff all the time on here.



#12 Antilope7724

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 01:03 AM

:thumbup2:

 

KDE desktop is the way to go with Debian, Gnome is a 3 legged donkey IMHO.... but feel free to try them all.

 

There's plenty of guys who like different desktops and distros, I hear about new stuff all the time on here.

 

Thanks, I'll try the KDE first, then all eventually. I like trying new things. Now that I have a test pc I don't have to worry about messing up my main pc.



#13 Guest_hollowface_*

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 01:38 AM

Thanks, I'll try the KDE first, then all eventually.

While there is an LXDE release of Debian, if you decide to try the LXDE desktop environment, I'd suggest Lubuntu as it has an awesome default theme. Lubuntu is an official Ubuntu derivative.

 

Screenshot of Lubuntu 14.04:

2zuJNsX.png



#14 pcpunk

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 01:39 PM

Welcome Antilope7724, Very inspiring to see all those distro's on that drive!!  I'm impressed with your sense of adventure and drive to install all of those, wonder how long it took lol.  

 

I've read that you could not do this with all distro's - so am quite surprised that you made it work.  Apparently some don't dual-boot with others well, they need to be all of the same origin or something to that effect, something to do with the bootloaders being different.

 

Also wondering what you think will become of the "home /" partition, if it is being used by all distro's and saving settings to it, won't that mess it up? or are you just sticking with the basics to try them all out?

 

I'll put another vote in for KDE in whatever Flavor you choose.  Out of what you got there...I choose Kubuntu, and it uses KDE Desktop by default.  They really need a better Desktop Wallpaper but that's not important to the devs I guess.  I use Mint KDE and love it over all that I have tried! but Kubuntu is newer, more powerful, in all ways.


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#15 Antilope7724

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 05:16 PM

Welcome Antilope7724, Very inspiring to see all those distro's on that drive!!  I'm impressed with your sense of adventure and drive to install all of those, wonder how long it took lol.  

 

I've read that you could not do this with all distro's - so am quite surprised that you made it work.  Apparently some don't dual-boot with others well, they need to be all of the same origin or something to that effect, something to do with the bootloaders being different.

 

Also wondering what you think will become of the "home /" partition, if it is being used by all distro's and saving settings to it, won't that mess it up? or are you just sticking with the basics to try them all out?

 

I'll put another vote in for KDE in whatever Flavor you choose.  Out of what you got there...I choose Kubuntu, and it uses KDE Desktop by default.  They really need a better Desktop Wallpaper but that's not important to the devs I guess.  I use Mint KDE and love it over all that I have tried! but Kubuntu is newer, more powerful, in all ways.

 

Thanks for the welcome.

 

This laptop computer is my test computer. I have a deskop with only Linux Mint and Windows 10 that is my main computer.

 

On the test computer, I don't have much in the home partition. I installed each distro on its own partition with /root on that respective partition. I didn't point the installs to the /home partition, but rather just save things there manually. They all share the same /swap partition.

 

Originally I chose the 10 most popular Linux distros on distrowatch.com and proceeded to install them. I did have trouble with a couple that either wouldn't install or other errors, so I just moved on to the next one until I had 10 distros installed. So there were a couple of distros that gave me trouble and I moved on. I forget which ones they were.

 

Currently my go to Linux is Mint Cinnamon. I will take a look at the KDE versions. Thanks.


Edited by Antilope7724, 17 November 2015 - 05:26 PM.





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