dualbooting two linux distros

I am fairly new to the linux world and I recently reinstalled pclinux os and installed ubuntu on teh same hard drive. I thought I could get support for my new 9600gt, but I haven't found anything to allow any 3d capability.

However, now that I've installed two os's on the same drive, how can I pick which distro to run using a bootloader?

I've looked up GRUB and figured it was my best bet. But I don't know if I should install it on the linux hd I have or a floppy and run that first.

I know I might be asking a completely noob question, but I'm curious to get into my linux os's!
17 answers Last reply
More about dualbooting linux distros
  1. How did you partition your disk?

    You need to install GRUB onto your boot drive and edit the grub configuration file.

    Make sure you make a backup copy before you edit the file.

    You can roughly merge the configuration sections from the bottom of each GRUB configuration file.

    on Ubuntu }---------- /boot/grub/menu.lst

    pseudo example }---------------------- /boot/grub/menu.lst

    title Ubuntu
    root (hd?,?)
    kernel /vmlinuz???? root=UUID=??????????????????????
    initrd /initrd.img????????

    title pclinux
    root (hd?,?)
    kernel /vmlinuz???????? root=????????
    initrd /initrd.img????????

    end pseudo example }---------------------- /boot/grub/menu.lst

    ????????? will vary depending on your system

    For more info run }-----------

    man grub
    info grub

    or look at the documentation under /usr/share/doc/grub/ or /usr/share/doc/grub*/ or http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/

    GL :)
  2. I partitioned the drive so it's basically 50/50 for each distro including its own swap space.

    So, to install GRUB I need to install it under ubuntu (since that is the only linux distro I can boot into)?

    Do I have to re-partition my drive since all of it is used by both linux distros?
  3. rabidbunny said:
    I partitioned the drive so it's basically 50/50 for each distro including its own swap space.

    So, to install GRUB I need to install it under ubuntu (since that is the only linux distro I can boot into)?

    Do I have to re-partition my drive since all of it is used by both linux distros?

    Ok kewl :)

    Yeah you will need to do this under Ubuntu since that is the one you can actually use.

    You should not have to re-partition.

    Make a couple of backups of /boot/grub/menu.lst

    sudo su -
    cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /root/GRUB_menu.lst_this_will_save_my_behind_some_day
    cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.backup

    edit the GRUB config file

    sudo su -
    gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

    scroll down to the very bottom of the file, you'll see a bunch of entries for Ubuntu, kinda like this }--------

    title Ubuntu 8.04, kernel 2.6.24-19
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.24-19 root=UUID=??????????????-??????????-??????????????-??????? ???????????
    initrd /initrd.img-2.6.24-19


    At this point you should try to open /boot/grub/menu.lst or /boot/grub/grub.conf or whatever pclinux actually uses from the pclinux partition. Assuming your drive is /dev/sda you probably have two or more partitions /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 one of them is probably Ubuntu and the other pclinux so }--------------------

    sudo su -
    mount /dev/sda2 /mnt # assuming /dev/sda2 is the pclinux partition mount /dev/sda2 under /mnt
    cd /mnt/boot/grub/ # change directory to /mnt/boot/grub/ assuming it exists
    ls # list the directory contents
    # you should see a grub.conf or menu.lst file or something like it
    less grub.conf # assuming the config file is grub.conf view it on the terminal hit <space> repeatedly for the next page
    # at the bottom of the file you should see something similar to the GRUB configuration lines from Ubuntu

    something like this }-------------------------

    title pclinux
    root (hd?,?)
    kernel /vmlinuz???????? root=????????
    initrd /initrd.img????????

    Copy and paste those lines from the pclinux version of the grub config file into Ubuntu's /boot/grub/menu.lst

    Save the file and exit.

    If it doesn't work you can try posting your grub config files and all our friendly geeks here can try to help you merge them together :)

    Make sure you remove any passwords from your grub config files before you post them.

    If GRUB breaks after you try any of this don't despair, you can always boot the Ubuntu Live CD, access your Ubuntu drive and copy one of those backup files you made to /boot/grub/menu.lst

    GL :)
  4. Wow, thanks. I hope I can get this to work when I get home from work.
    If I have any more questions i'll be posting soon.

    Thanks again.
  5. Ok, linux_0 I tried to use the instructions you posted, but I don't know where to start or what I am doing. Can you elaborate on what exactly I am doing?
    I guess I need a descriptive walkthrough of what I need to do since I don't understand the coding.

    One question: Do you have any idea if Ubuntu has good support for the nvidia 9600gt? Pclinuxos won't let me install beryl for some reason, so i'm guessing it's a problem with the new card I have. If ubuntu doesn't have support, then this whole thing is pointless for me since I can't use the graphic interface :(

    I had beryl setup in pclinuxos before with my 7600gt and it was awsome. I suppose if I was that desperate to use linux, i would remove my 9600gt and re-install my 7600gt just to run linux, but that seems kinda extreme. :(

    Thanks for your help!
  6. All you gotta do is edit Ubuntu's grub config file and add an entry for

    Here's a multiboot example http://f3wm.free.fr/linux/grub.html

    Ignore everything above "Note about naming disks with GRUB" in that link and look at the example grub config file at the bottom.

    Basically you add 4 lines from the pclinuxos grub configuration file to the bottom of your Ubuntu GRUB config file. That's what the instructions were for.

    It's just a matter of opening Ubuntu's GRUB config file and pclinux's GRUB config file and copy pasting the 4 lines you need into Ubuntu's GRUB config file and saving it.

    You do not have to make any changes to the Ubuntu lines you just have to add the lines for pclinux.

    When you're done the bottom part of your Ubuntu menu.lst will look similar to this }---------------

    title Ubuntu 8.04, kernel 2.6.24-19
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.24-19 root=UUID=??????????????-??????????-??????????????-??????? ???????????
    initrd /initrd.img-2.6.24-19

    title pclinux
    root (hd?,?)
    kernel /vmlinuz???????? root=????????
    initrd /initrd.img????????

    Your 9600GT should work almost perfectly in Ubuntu, pclinux, Fedora or virtually any other dristo compatible with the proprietary drivers. You should be able to apt-get, yum, rpm or manually install the nVidia drivers.

    GL :)
  7. GREAT! thanks a lot! I haven't gotten to trying this, but i'm sure that now I know what i'm gonna do thanks to you.

    I doubt if i'll have any problems, but if I do i'll be back.

    Thanks again,

  8. Ok,, I am having trouble saving the new menu.lst file. It says that I do not have the necessary permissions to edit this file. Does that mean that I have to disable the password protection? If so, how do I do that?

    So far, I think I've found the entry that I need through the internet, but I could not find my own PCLinuxOS grub config file :( So, for now i'm just guessing that what I found works o.O I"m a little lost with where it would be. I found a grub/menu.lst file but it says that there is nothing there! Does that mean that I haven't installed grub on pclinuxos?!?

    Also, I am wondering how I install the nvidia drivers. I am totally confused what I need to do in order to install it. Do I use synaptic?
  9. For the permission issue, are you logged onto your account on into the 'root' account?
  10. This is a side issue, but figure it will work for my non technical ability in software. Means I don't know s--t.

    I bought a nice little rack that allows me to plug in a new drive and run it as the primary C: drive. I have also stuck a second one in to back up to. I shut down to swap them even though it says they are hot swappable, pulling the C: drive would probably make MS--t unhappy for sure and the back up, still shut down to swap. The drive is a HD MOBILE RACK BYTECC|BT-135E-BK R. I am presently running on the one in C drive. I plan to set up a Vista HDD and one for Linux. Figure I can fool around to my heats content with no worry about cratering my primary drives as they will not be installed.

    Just a thought for those who are on my level, and HDD are real cheap these days.

  11. No, i am not logged into a root account under ubuntu, i didn't know there was one in ubuntu. That would help though :) I'll try that soon.

    Evan316, i have a second hard drive just for linux. I don't need to spend more money right now just to get two distros to work at the same time (even though I'd love to, i'm saving for school). Thanks anyways.
  12. You need to log in as root to be able to edit /boot/grub/menu.lst

    Applications >>>> Accessories >>>> Terminal

    sudo su -
    # type in your normal user password to become root
    # the root account on ubuntu is locked, you have to sudo instead

    I had sudo su - in the original instructions but forgot to explain what it does.

    Make sure you make a couple of backup copies of menu.lst just in case something bad happens!

    sudo su -
    cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /root/GRUB_menu.lst_this_will_save_my_behind_some_day
    cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.backup

    If GRUB breaks boot from the Ubuntu Live CD and copy one of the backups to /boot/grub/menu.lst

    GL :)
  13. Ok, so I finally got to working on trying to get the two distros to work. Unfortunately, it has ended in a format of the drive since I cannot boot into the drive any longer (grub error). :( I don't know exactly what happened, but hopefully I can just install pclinuxos for now. I could not access the pclinuxos info that I needed from ubuntu, so that led to all this.

    I figure that if I can get pclinuxos working with my 9600gt, i should be good since I normally use windowz for my games.

    I tried the root part for ubuntu, but I didn't enable the root so it didn't work.

    thanks for your help anyways.
  14. @ rabidbunny

    Sorry to wade in a bit late in the game... I would give a thumbs up for Ubuntu and Kubuntu if you want to do any serious gaming under Wine... Ubunutu 8.04 is just light years ahead of Debian and Mandriva for useability... I haven't tried PCLinuxOS for a while.

    I have had a lot of sucesses running games on the 32-bit version of Kubuntu (KDE version of Ubuntu). Far Cry, Prey, Doom 3, etc. - using the Open GL option in these. Still having problems with DirectX 9.0c games however. I think this is an issue with either the ATI drivers or newer Wine versions... The eaisest installer for the proprietary (3D acceleration) drivers from ATI/Nvidia drivers (called Envy) has a little GUI and works really well (its in the repositories). WineHQ can be linked as repository by typing 2 lines from the Wine HQ website ... Sweet - very easy to use!!

    RE accessing root in Ubunutu

    You can either setup a password for root in a console window:
    [cpp]sudo passwd
    <type user password>
    <type root password twice as directed>
    <type root password as directed>
    cp /boot/grub/menu.lst menu.lst.bak
    sudo scite /boot/grub/menu.lst
    [/cpp]or just type sudo before every command requiring root access:
    [cpp]sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst menu.lst.bak
    <enter your user password>
    sudo scite /boot/grub/menu.lst
    [/cpp]Note in the latter example Linux will remember the sudo command so you don't have to keep typing the (standard) user password to access root. Contrast with Vista - huh?? :cry:

    scite is by far the best GUI text editor for GNU/Linux noobies... It really helps to learn vim for those command line only emergency scenarios!! Scite is in the standard Ubunutu/Kubuntu repositories.

    The root partition for PCLinuxOS would have showed up in the Ubuntu file manager. You just double click on this drive to mount that partition. You have to enter your user password then to complete this operation as it is a "sudo" command.
    It then shows up as in the:
    folder if you need to browse the contents in a console.

    You've really got to slow down and do a whole lot of learning. It really takes months to get familiar with GNU/ Linux if you want to do advanced stuff!!

    Believe me Ubuntu 8.04 is whole lot easier/more functional than Ubuntu itself was previously and other distros from 2+ years ago.

  15. Well, thanks Bob for your input. I would love to both learn ubuntu and pclinuxos. However, in order for me to learn about both it would take a while and I do not have the time to learn both. I had pclinuxos installed previous to my 9600gt and I thought I had to re-install in order to install the drivers for my new card (noob idea, i know; now I know what to do). Then I saw Ubuntu and thought about running that too, idk why since I don't know pclinuxos. I just fell in love with the difference in the graphical interface when compared to windows.

    Sometime down the line I can forsee myself installing a linux distro on an old computer just to keep it very functional. I have my old dimension 4550 that's gonna be given back to me from my parents, so I suspect that I will make that into a linux machine and possibly run mythtv. For now, I'll keep pclinuxos installed on my custom rig and use it whenever I feel the need to learn :)

    I don't forsee myself leaving windows at the moment due to it's supported software, however if I can find a way to get a plugin in pclinuxos that allows me to play wma tracks and allow me to listen to my internet radio stations like winamp does, then I will use it more often. right now I need windows for my music since I have a Microsoft Zune and that will only work with a windows based pc.

    I would love if I could find a class that taught the basics of linux; searching for answers on my own is sometimes very time consuming, especially if you're just learning.

    Thanks again,
  16. np

    It's definitely worth checking out Wine www.winehq.org. This is a computability layer that allows you to run a lot of Windows software on Linux. It is very easy to use and powerful (but is still far from perfect)!

  17. rabidbunny: the program that I like to use for audio playback that is VERY winamp-like is Audacious Media player. I don't have any WMA files, but when I set it up for my dad it played his WMAs just fine. Also it is capable of playing MP3 streams so it should be able to do what you need for internet radio and SHOUTCasts/ICEcasts. I myself use audacious to listen to music that I stream from my home box over the internet using gnump3d (that program is so useful because it lets you access ALL of your music from any computer with internet access). Also, if you are looking for some sort of class on the basics of Linux usage (i.e. using bash to admin the system and intro to the graphical environments), and you are currently a college student, check to see if they offer like a 1 hour / week class at your school. I signed up for one at my school and I found it to be fairly useful. You could also look at a local community college and see if they offer such a class (which would be cheaper). I think at this point you probably wouldn't get very much from a "Linux for Dummies" book so your only other option barring the above two would be to scour the internet for reference materials or start reading man pages ;)

Ask a new question

Read More