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Installing 2 Linux distros on external HDD, how?

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February 6, 2010 3:19:57 PM

I took my brother-in-law's old non working laptop and removed the 60GB HDD from it and put it in an external enclosure. I was wondering if I could connect it to the computer (before powering on) and install Ubuntu and Fedora onto it. The reason for those two flavors are I want to try Ubuntu and a class I'm going to take in the summer about Linux uses Fedora. I've had very little experience wit Linux so any tips, hints, or advice?
a b 5 Linux
February 6, 2010 9:31:17 PM

Fedora and Ubuntu both have Live CD versions you can try without installing on your PC.

http://fedoraproject.org/en/get-fedora-all

http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download

You'll probably want to try Fedora 12 and ubuntu 9.04 desktop, ubuntu 9.10 has some problems.

You'll be able to install onto your 60GB as long as the drive's healthy and your interface type's supported.

What have you got in your rig hardware wise? Please post your full specs.

If you've got a 64bit CPU make sure you get the x86_64 / amd64 ISOs.

You should also check the checksums and digital signatures to make sure your ISOs aren't corrupt and haven't been tampered with.

Make sure you don't use WUBI it's got too many problems.

https://fedoraproject.org/en/verify

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToMD5SUM

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToSHA256SUM

Good luck :) 
Related resources
a b 5 Linux
February 6, 2010 11:08:41 PM

If you're worried about accidentally damaging the OS on your internal drive you could unplug your internal drive temporarily.

Good luck :) 
February 7, 2010 8:09:32 AM

A note on the ram, I though I was buying 2GBx2 sticks but it was 1GBx2. Will be upgrading to 4GB total later.

Galaxy GeForce 9600, it was cheep, better then the 8600 I had, and since I was also going to add a duel tuner TV capture card, it's HDMI will come in handy since the Biostar is my secondary gaming/HTPC computer with another quad core (Phenom 9850) as my main system.

And thanks for the ISO download links and tip about disconnecting my internal boot drive. Right now though it's 4am, time to go to bed and try it tomorrow.
February 7, 2010 9:29:46 PM

I installed Ubuntu (the 9.04 I had made from your link did not work so I used a 9.10 I had already burned) and Fedora 12. It now boots only to Fedora and does not let me choose which one I want.
a b 5 Linux
February 7, 2010 9:38:57 PM

Did you create separate partitions for them? If you did you'll be able to edit /etc/grub.conf on fedora to add ubuntu back in. If you overwrote ubuntu with fedora you'll have to reinstall.

Shoot over to Applications, System Tools, Terminal in fedora and run fdisk -l

Please post of PM me the results. fdisk -l is gonna show all your partitions.

GRUB /etc/grub.conf fedora pseudocode
  1. title ubuntu
  2. root (hd0,0)
  3. kernel /vmlinuz UUID=YOUR_UUID YOUR_OPTIONS
  4. initrd /initramfs


Ubuntu uses /boot/grub/menu.lst while fedora uses /boot/grub/grub.conf aka /etc/grub.conf, it's a symlink, if you've got a shared /boot you can make a couple of extra copies of those files and then carefully copy the first ubuntu grub.conf block similar to the one up top here and paste it into your /etc/grub.conf on fedora.


conceptual example

  1. default=0
  2. timeout=5
  3. splashimage=(hd0,0)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
  4.  
  5. title Fedora
  6. root (hd0,0)
  7. kernel /vmlinuz ro root=YOUR_ROOT rhgb quiet
  8. initrd /initrd
  9.  
  10.  
  11. title ubuntu
  12. root (hd0,0)
  13. kernel /vmlinuz UUID=YOUR_UUID YOUR_OPTIONS
  14. initrd /initramfs


Good luck :) 
a b 5 Linux
February 7, 2010 9:58:53 PM

If you can post or PM me your fdisk -l and grub config files from fedora and ubuntu I'll try to help ya piece them together :) 

Semper Fi
February 8, 2010 4:23:02 AM

I did make 3 different partitions. First one for Ubuntu, second for swap space, and third for Fedora. I think all I need is the command to run in Fedora to tell it to recognize Ubuntu again and let me choose when I boot up which one I want.
a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2010 6:40:29 PM

You've got to make a backup copy and edit /etc/grub.conf to add ubuntu with a text editor like gedit, emacs or vi.

There's some GUI editors for GRUB but fedora doesn't have an official one as far as I know. You might be able to use the one ubuntu comes with from the live cd.

Good luck :) 
February 8, 2010 7:05:44 PM

linux_0 said:
You've got to make a backup copy and edit /etc/grub.conf to add ubuntu with a text editor like gedit, emacs or vi.


What would I add to it? You have to realize that while I know Windows very well; I'm only just now getting into using Linux so I really don't know things like commands or how to compile yet.
a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2010 8:02:58 PM

Click Applications, System Tools, Terminal

Inside the terminal type

fdisk -l

cat /etc/grub.conf

after you've done that please post of pm me the output

Semper Fi :) 
a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2010 8:08:37 PM

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
#
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/mapper/vg1-root
# initrd /initrd-[generic-]version.img
#boot=/dev/sda
default=0
timeout=0
splashimage=(hd0,0)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
title Fedora (kernel_version)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-kernel_version ro root=YOUR_ROOT LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us rhgb quiet
initrd /initramfs-kernel_version
a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2010 8:11:30 PM

title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel kernel_version
uuid YOUR_UUID
kernel /vmlinuz-kernel_version root=UUID=YOUR_UUID ro quiet splash
initrd /initrd.img-kernel_version quiet

### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST

Best solution

a b 5 Linux
February 8, 2010 8:23:35 PM
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These are the grub config portions you'll need.

The first one's from fedora 12 and the 2nd is from ubuntu 9.04. The lines for ubuntu 9.10 should be similar.

All you've got to do is merge the two.

So you'll end up with this

Quote:

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
#
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/mapper/vg1-root
# initrd /initrd-[generic-]version.img
#boot=/dev/sda
default=0
timeout=0
splashimage=(hd0,0)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
title Fedora (kernel_version)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-kernel_version ro root=YOUR_ROOT LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us rhgb quiet
initrd /initramfs-kernel_version

title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel kernel_version
uuid YOUR_UUID
kernel /vmlinuz-kernel_version root=UUID=YOUR_UUID ro quiet splash
initrd /initrd.img-kernel_version quiet




Your merged file will look something like this you'll have to find your ubuntu's menu.lst so you can copy the lines from it and add them to your fedora's /etc/grub.conf.

The kernel_versions and UUIDs vary from system to system so I can't give you those without the output of several commands from your computer.

Good luck :) 
February 11, 2010 3:38:52 AM

With how complex this is. I'm just going to take it to someone I know who knows Linux very well. He run Snow Leopard, Win7, and 3 different distributions of Linux on his Mac. Having it installed on a 2.5" external HDD makes taking it to him so easy.
a b 5 Linux
February 11, 2010 5:08:33 AM

or PM me your im I'll fix it for ya :) 
February 11, 2010 6:39:01 PM

Best answer selected by DJRWolf.
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