Multi boot with Fedora, XP, and second Linux distro

Jonathan Berry berryja at
Sun Jun 5 03:40:06 UTC 2005

On 6/4/05, Claude Jones <claude_jones at> wrote:
> On Sat June 4 2005 10:45 pm, Jonathan Berry wrote:
> > Hi Claude,
> >
> ......................snip.........section on partitioning
> I'm going to be installing to a third drive, so no fancy partitioning required

Cool, that simplifies things greatly.

> > When you come to installing the boot-loader, install it to the boot
> > partition instead of the MBR of the disk.  We'll let the FC3 GRUB
> > chainload to the other distros, just like it does with Windows (or
> > pick your favorite to be primary, you'll just have to reinstall FC3
> > GRUB to its boot partition then).  This will let each distro manage
> > its own boot-loader.  Then just add entries to the FC3 /etc/grub.conf
> > like:
> >
> > title Fedora Core 4
> > rootnoverify (hd1,3)
> > chainloader +1
> >
> > The (hd1,3) should be changed to match the disk and partition where
> > FC4 is installed.  You can do the same thing with Mepis or whatever
> > else.
> This is the clearest I've seen it described anywhere, and it makes perfect
> sense - thank you. I do have a question or two - I post the relevant section

You are welcome, though from your question below maybe it isn't quite
*perfectly* clear yet :).  Let's see if we can clear it up some more.

> of my grub.conf:
> title Fedora Core (2.6.11-1.27_FC3)
> root (hd1,0)
> kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.11-1.27_FC3 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 #rhgb quiet
> initrd /initrd-2.6.11-1.27_FC3.img
> title Fedora Core (2.6.11-1.20_FC3)
>         root (hd1,0)
>         kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.11-1.20_FC3 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet
>         initrd /initrd-2.6.11-1.20_FC3.img
> title Fedora Core (2.6.11-1.14_FC3)
>         root (hd1,0)
>         kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.11-1.14_FC3 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet
>         initrd /initrd-2.6.11-1.14_FC3.img
> title Fedora Core (2.6.9-1.667)
>         root (hd1,0)
>         kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00 rhgb quiet
>         initrd /initrd-2.6.9-1.667.img
> title XP
>         rootnoverify (hd0,0)
>         chainloader +1
> As you can see, there's a bit more data in each entry than what you suggested,
> above. Apart from putting in the right hd/partition info, do I need the
> kernel line, and the initrd line for each of the new distro entries?

In short, no.  This is because, with the way I told you, the FC3 GRUB
will not be booting the other distros directly like it does FC3.  It
will do the same thing it does for XP: chainload the other
boot-loader.  Notice my snippet is almost identical to the XP entry. 
The grub.conf for your other distros will then have all of this other
detail that you see that deals with actually booting the OS.  GRUB can
actually directly boot any other Linux, that is what the kernel and
initrd lines do, they tell GRUB where the kernel is that it should
boot.  But if you have your FC3 GRUB do this, the other distros won't
automatically update the FC3 grub.conf to point to new kernels
whenever you get an update.  The chainloader scheme allows each OS to
manage it's own bootloader, and one OS will have the primary
bootloader which will chain to the others.  Is it more clear now?

> ....................snip,..........caveat emptors on sharing partitions
> I intend to keep this simple, so I don't intend to share anything for now.

Yeah, it mostly helps if you have limited disk space.  If you aren't
concerned about that, just keep them separate.

> --
> Claude Jones
> Bluemont, VA, USA


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