Multi booting 100+ OSes on a single machine

February 14, 2006
When I wrote an article called Effective Partitioning - The how and why of it, many readers had questioned why I installed over 4 OSes on my machine. Now here is a person who has installed 100+, - I am not pulling your leg - the exact number is 110 OSes on his machine.

Now I can understand someone running 4 OSes ;) on ones machine. But what is the use of running over a 100 different OSes ? Perhaps he is a Linux enthusiast who has undertaken this project for his personal satisfaction. But what ever be the case, reading his experiences throws new insights into partitioning ones hard disk(s) to accommodate multiple OSes.

He has used 4 hard disks (two IDE and two SATA) totaling 900 GB. And all this space across multiple hard disks is divided into 144 partitions (12 primary partitions and 4 extended partitions). Not surprisingly, he has arrived at the conclusion that Grub is the better boot loader and has installed it on its own partition for booting all these OSes.

These are his recommendations to users intending to multi-boot between OSes.
  • Partition your hard disk first before starting to install the OSes.
  • Keep personal data segregated from the OS files. Put another way, it is prudent to have a separate partition for /home.
  • He doesn't find any drawbacks in using one partition per linux distribution.
  • Learn to boot the system manually which will give you a fair understanding of how the system is booted.
  • For all the Linux OSes, he has used one common swap partition.
Not withstanding what I have described here, I strongly recommend reading the original article which will throw new insights into partitioning ones hard disk. And the knowledge gained will hold in good stead when you decide to traverse this path the next time you decide to dual or multi-boot between OSes.

Additional Info
SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment , which is touted as the next big advancement in the hard disk technology. SATA hard drives are said to have a much lower power requirement (of just 250 mV). Delivers increased data transfer rates of up to 300 MB/sec and does away with master / slave configurations and jumper settings. And it is claimed that the technology allows for hot swapping the hard disk - that is removing and replacing the hard disk while the computer is running. Because of these characteristics, Serial ATA is considered to be a good choice for implementing RAID.

2 comments:

  • mysurface

    Goes through the forum posts, impressive!

  • Lunatic

    That was really amazing effort Bro! kool! Keep it up! Even ppl use to think me as crazy coz I used put 5-6 os on my 80gb hdd Suse, Fedora, Ubuntu, solaris n window$. Finally there some other craziest freak with 110 OS kool man kool!