Problem with multiple Linux versions on single hard-drive

Hi all,

Recently my 128 GB died suddenly and has now been replaced with a 250 GB SDD which I would like to install multiple Linux operating systems.

Gparted was used to create five partitions where I was hoping to install four different Linux operating systems and a common data partition.

I installed Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.10 then installed LAMP on each. Both operating systems tried and tested OK.

Next I tried Fedora (which was not as easy)… afterwards:

  1. Fedora became the default Grub OS and it gobbled all the available partition space!
  2. Ubuntu 18.10 still works OK
  3. Ubuntu 18.04 graphical startup screen missing. Maybe I will reinstall

I would like and now have a Deepin 15.8 thumbdrive ready to install but very concerned there might be another conflict which will create problems with the other installed operating systems.

I would be grateful for advice on how to safely install Deepin especially the best mount point option.

Please note that I treat Linux the same as a car because it is fast and ideal for my simple LAMP programming requirements. I have been delighted with driving it for the past couple of years and prefer skilled mechanics to fix any “mechanical” problems.

Gparted screendump:

The last time I installed Fedora was about 10 years ago, so I will try to be inspecific about this OS. Of all the mentioned OSes I am most familiar with deepin. So keep that in mind when I am generally speaking about how GRUB2 works, etc. since it might be slightly different on Fedora.

  1. Always install your main OS i.e. the OS that is supposed to serve GRUB2, at last.
  2. It is highly recommended to manually partition the hard drive when multi-booting, especially when installing 4 OSes alongside each other. Therefore you should watch out for when Fedora asks if you want to manually partition the hard drive, because else, as you can see, it takes up all the remaining space and in this case the Fedora root partition is used as LVM space. I don’t have any experience with this, so I advise to check out this to know what it is for.

Honestly, if I were you I would do the following:

  1. Completely reformat the whole disk. I would create the extended partition as the very first one (i.e. /dev/sda1) instead of one after the first main partition.
  2. Install Fedora, but manually format the partition that Fedora is supposed to use. This avoids the automatic taking over. If there is an option to do that, then disable installation of GRUB2.
  3. Manually partition the needed space and install Ubuntu 18.10 without installing GRUB2. (There should be a check box to not install GRUB2 when you are manually partitioning the drive.).
  4. Manually partition the needed space and install Ubuntu 18.04 without installing GRUB2. (There should be a check box to not install GRUB2 when you are manually partitioning the drive.).
  5. Manually partition the needed space and install deepin OS.

This procedure should be pretty safe and would make deepin OS serve GRUB2, without it needing to overwrite any previous GRUB2, if you managed to disable GRUB2 installation in the previous OS installations.

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If you setup MBR at the start of the disk and with the rest of your partitions done manually, then all you have to do install as normal to each partition.
You will also find that the OS that last update grub will jump to the top of your boot list, so if you want a particular OS as the default just update grub from that OS.
Hope this helps.

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John, how much free space was on the SSD before it died, 10-20% ??
SSD’s need space to move bits of files around to prevent ‘wear’ etc.
As for the partitions if you have access to a machine you can run vmware/virtualbox then simulate it before going live that’ll get your installation procedure sorted.
Not all distro’s use the same filesystems by default which is an easy miss when we mouse-click install. Redhat family defaults to lvm with xfs as boot partition unlike the canonical ubuntu family.
I’d suggest you have a smallish ~1gig or less common boot partition for grub, your commmon data partition and each os gets it’s own ‘’ partition. Bare in mind to leave 10-20%++ unallocated NOT 1Mb or the 250GB will die too.