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Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Setting Up Multiple Linux Installs

I got my wireless card working with Fedora Core 4, but, as I wrote in the last post about it, I thought I had made a mess of something during my failed attempts, and wanted to do a clean install. The FC4 install had also messed up the grub.conf file for SuSE 9.3, effectively keeping me out of that distro. It still amazes me that neither Fedora’s installer, anaconda, and SuSE’s installer, YaST, were able to detect and correctly configure their grub.conf files to accommodate the other Linux setup. How hard is it to locate the other system’s own grub.conf and copy their commands? I have learned a lot about accessing partitions and working with multiple operating systems, so it was time to clean things up. One of my overall priorities was being able to access files stored by other operating systems.

Since I use Fedora more than SuSE, I wanted to do that last, and installed SuSE first. When I had installed SuSE 9.3, I had used the default reiserfs file system. I had trouble with that because I was using ext2fsd to mount the Linux partitions in Windows, and ext2fsd doesn’t read reiserfs. So this time I formatted the partitions with ext3. YaST seemed to have trouble identifying and working with my LCD screen, so I had to use the text version, which wasn’t bad at all. Everything went smoothly with the install, and I accepted the default package selection. I made special note of the entries in the grub.conf file.

Next I installed Fedora. I could go on about how I got everything done, started customizing everything, installed the hwp54g wireless card (which went just according to my script), installed extensions in Firefox; but I was stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed my kernel package was for version 2.6.9 – what happened to 2.6.11? – and that it ended in FC3! Yep – I had installed the wrong version. I had to start all over again with FC4. This time, when I went to install the hwp54g, things didn’t go as smoothly. I’ll have more to write about that later, but right now I don’t have my notes with me. But I was able to get the network up, and upgrading the kernel to 2.6.14 went without a hitch.

So I’ve got two different distros up and running now. The FC4 is online and running quite smoothly. Installing the rt2500 drivers in SuSE didn’t work, but I think I saw right away what the problem was. I’m going to have to hurry up and write the FC4 hwp54g account, because I think the SuSE one will need to be written right after it.

I’ve been able to mount the Linux partitions in Windows, and I’ve modified the fstabs in both Linuxes to mount each other’s root partitions, the windows vfat partition, and thanks to the linux-ntfs project at SourceForge, the ntfs partitions as well. I originally created the vfat partition just so I had a “safe” storage location for downloads, accessible from any operating system, but now that reading ntfs seems to be going well, I might pull out Partition Magic and fold the contents into an ntfs one.

Posted by Greg in OS


This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2005 at 11:58 PST and is filed under OS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Setting Up Multiple Linux Installs”

  1. Ramblings » Blog Archive » The HWP54G/FC4 Saga - One Last Thing says:

    […] I wrote that I had additional problems installing the Hawking HWP54G Wireless-G PCI card after a clean Fedora Core 4 install that were not covered in my detailed description of how I got the wireless card working. I promised a write-up, and it’s time to wrap things up. […]

  2. Russ Loucks says:


    I was searching the web for a solution to a problem and I stumbled upon your site that includes some clues to solving my problem, but I’m still not there…..

    I have a FC3 system that is starting to fail (one of the drives is starting to fail and I can’t boot from that root partition any more (/dev/VolGroup00).

    I unplugged the old drives and installed another drive and installed FC4 on it (/dev/VolGroup01).

    However, when I boot the system, it wants to boot from the /dev/VolGroup00 partition, which continues to fail…..

    I can boot from the rescue CD and mount either one of the root partitions as /mnt/sysimage and fiddle with what I need to. Can I somehow tell grub from /dev/VolGroup00 to chain to /dev/VolGroup01 and boot from that?

    When I boot from the rescue CD (and mount the broken FC3 volume on /mnt/sysimage, /etc/grub.conf points to ../boot/grub/grub.cfg, but ../boot is empty. Hmmmm…..

    Any ideas?

  3. Greg says:


    I’m not a Linux expert – a lot of this blog is about the things that I’m learning as I go along – so I’m sure you’ll get a better and faster response over at FedoraForum. But here’s my two cents:

    You don’t boot from your root partition, but from your boot partition. That’s where your grub.conf file is located, which is what tells grub how you want to boot. The booting process locates and mounts your root partition (and any other partitions you use), any devices, and links the boot partition to the /boot folder. So you need to mount the boot partition with your rescue CD to get to and edit the grub.conf.

    Grub.conf doesn’t use labels – it counts partitions, and tells grub where to go using the root command. On my computer, I have XP in the first partition of the first drive, Fedora’s boot as the second, Fedora’s root as the third, etc. The first line for Fedora in my multiboot setup is therefore

    root hd(0, 1)

    The count starts at zero, so hd(0, 1) is actually the first drive, second partition. This is the line you need to change to point to the boot partition of your FC4 install.

  4. Russ Loucks says:


    Thanks much for the notes. It’s getting a bit clearer, now…..

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any time to work on this problem until next weekend…. I’ll just have to save off your comments until then and try again.

    thanks again,

  5. Ramblings » Blog Archive » Reinstall RT2500 Driver After Kernel Upgrade says:

    After upgrading my kernel, I had to reinstall linux-ntfs support…