Best partition scheme for 2 linux distros

I do not have an SSD. I only have 1 TB HDD. What is the best partition scheme can anyone recommend for ubuntu-mate and another distro? Ubuntu-Mate will be my daily driver, while the other one will be changing from time to time.

You can create root partition for Ubuntu MATE, /home for Ubuntu MATE, root for the 2nd distro and other partitions (like EFI partition, if you have EFI system and swap, if you want). As this 2nd installation won’t be used really often, it doesn’t need to have another /home.

You may also think about sharing /home between those 2 installations. I don’t really recommend it. Let me tell you a situation - Ubuntu MATE has Libre Office 5 and let’s say, that this another distro has Libre Office 6 and let’s say, that configuration files of Libre Office 5 aren’t compatible with Libre Office 6’s configuration files. A really bad problem may occur. Your choice. :slight_smile:

I suggest that you create a root partition for both distributions and a data partition that can be used by both of your distros, MATE and your test distro.

This avoids using a separate /home partition for either or both (which is a waste of HD space as far as I’m concerned) and allows you to use links to the data partition to share files or other data as time goes on. Good luck checkmate.

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In addition to @mdooley advice, if you create a swap partition, you also only need one for both systems. During istallation, they will detect the swap partition and make use of it.

I certainly agree with marfig. One swap partition is enough.

I would not share a /home partition if the distros are very different in versions of stuff, because config can get get confused. I usually have 2 or 3 distros installed at once, each one self-contained with their own /home. I have a separate data partition that they can all use, without stepping on each others’ config. This has worked fine for me for many years.

It’s perfectly fine if both distros respect the FHS specification, which they should, and if the planned DEs respect the freedesktop specifications, which they should too. On which case you can even share the same user names between distros, which is what’s most convenient about this setup. I have Ubuntu MATE and Antergos sharing the same /home partition and on both I login to the user marfig. On the Antergos I login primarily to Xfce and i3 and on Ubuntu MATE to, you know what. I don’t share similar programs between both distros. For instance, on Antergos I run mostly the zsh shell, whereas on Ubuntu MATE I don’t even have it installed.

Meanwhile, a few quick scripts allow me to manage just a few tiny changes between both distros otherwise common files. For instance, I have a different .bash_profile between Antergos and Ubuntu MATE because of reasons. I just load the one I want after boot based on the environment.

It’s actually quite a fun way to setup a multiboot linux exclusive machine. And saves me tremendously on backup space.

I still say that if you have two different versions of a program on two different distros, sharing a /home partition, there can be confusion as they try to use the same config files, only differently. I’ve run into that myself.

If you are using totally different programs, or similar versions (chronologically), no problem. But programs can and do significantly change config layouts as they evolve. It’s not really to do with the FHS.

I always use the same username on all distros, the same one I’ve used everywhere since 1978 with my first account on the ol’ PDP at uni. Yes, that would be ‘sgage’ :slight_smile:

Absolutely, @sgage. It’s why I didn’t specifically advised to have the same username. If you share a /home partition between FHS compliant distros, the easiest thing to do is to just use different usernames. Problem solved.

I’m just saying that I went a step forward and actually am sharing usernames. I need a few scripts here and there (also, for instance to managed .desktop entries) and, as it has yet not been the case so far, have not the need to control program configuration files. But if I do I will certainly script it. My ~/.local folder is an interesting place, I can tell you right now. :wink:
But it’s all basic and uncomplicated shell scripting. For what is worth, I did experiment for a week on a VirtualBox virtual machine with a Antergos/Ubuntu dualboot, before deciding to wipe my disk clean and moving to this setup. I cannot foreseen this setup failing in any way now. (*)

(*) and gave me two things: a growing love for sed and finally had a reason to learn awk (which I am not using yet, but will become eventually the engine behind most of this setup, with the potential to make it more scalable).

If you want to hibernate your OS, you should have a swap for each distro.

In a 1 TB drive you have enough space for a
common data partition to store your files and two home partitions .
This is the easiest way and you can install two different distros: eg Ubuntu Mate and Pclinuxos or Fedora)
( deb/rpm or mate/ kde).
Installing two distros almost equal, I find it boring.