I need a Debian based distro for a multiboot dual disc computer

I have a computer with 2 disks, I boot with efi from either disk, I have an efi system partition on each disk, I control grub with Void on disk hd0 , and with MX on hd1.

I need to install a new Debian based linux for a special job looking at the apt-build command ( see the post “apt-build world writeup request”). The distro has to function with my new amd graphics card, so that rules out Debian itself, or Devuan.

I decided to try Ubuntu 23.04. Downloaded, made a flash drive, booted it, and started the installer. When I got down to the disk partitioning stage, I asked it to install alongside existing linuxes, selected partition sdb12, then discovered that it insisted on writing the bootloader on some disk. I did not want it to write any bootloader anywhere, and I could not tell it that, so I aborted the install. Ubuntu installer is totally unsuited to my situation.

So, can anyone recommend a Linux distro that meets the following

  • Debian based so it has the apt package system
  • Has an installer which allows me to specify NO bootloader
  • Has an installer which can deal with dual disks
  • Is leading edge enough to drive an amdgpu graphics card

The ones that come to mind are Mint and Linux Lite. Dont know what their installers are like.

I would prefer something minimal. Ubuntu was probably a bad choice with all its complicated snaps.

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Pretty sure Mint has a loading option for bootloader.

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You are right

What you have to do is start the installer from the command line with the ‘-b’ option.
So Mint is definately an option.

Hi @nevj,

It’s been awhile since I installed Linux Mint, but in the install process you have the option “Install alongside” and “Something Else”. I always go for the option of something else. The next screen gives you a gparted like screen where you can select where you want Mint install.

Good Luck,


I followed your advice - it works.
Downloaded Linux Mint 21.1 64 bit. Put it on a Ventoy usb stick and booted.
You get a ‘live’ Mint . The graphics screen works, so Mint 21.1 can handle my new AMD graphics card. No issue there. It has kernel 5.15.0-56… thats not as new as MX but it works.
Now the big test … will it install without writing grub anywhere.
In the live MInt, I do man ubiquity and get a man page for the installer. It does not list a -b option? But my link above says it has one , so I try it.
Type at the command line
ubiquity -b
and yes, the installer starts.
I work my way down to “Choose Something Else”
and it offers a menu of partitions
I choose sdb12 and mount it to /
then tell it to go ahead.
Nowhere does it mention grub… the -b option worked!
Takes about half an hour, then it offers restart
I reboot , and boot into MX ( that is where my grub is configured). Do update-grub in MX and it finds Mint ( mixed in with MX and Void).
Reboot again, and choose Mint on the grub menu , and it boots.

That was a really easy install. So the trick, if you dont want grub, is to ignore the installer icon and start ubiquity manually with -b option, and choose “Something Else”.

So now I have a spare distro ready to try apt-build.