Accessing Ubuntu 6.10 from openSuSE 11.0 and viceversa


I need help on this, since I am a new Linux user since a year ago: I have bought a new hard disk drive some weeks ago because I have no space on my previous 250 GB drive where Ubuntu 6.10 is installed.

The new HDD is 160 GB in size. I decided to install a new distro on it and I choose to install openSuSE 11.0. Now here is my problem: I want to access both systems home folder from each other. I mean, if I am on an Ubuntu 6.10 session I want to access my files on the openSuSE home folder and viceversa… How can I do this? With mount command? How?

I was advised to use the Ubuntu home as the openSuSE home, but other people told me that it would be a bad decision… Is true?

Thanks a lot in advance for your attention…



The absolute best thing to do is to have /home as a separate partition.

You tell Ubuntu to mount his parition as its home folder by editing /etc/fstab

And you do the same thing for openSUSE. During the install when you set up partitions, you point openSUSE to the existing /home partition and tell it to mount /home there (without formatting it!)

You tell it to create/use the exact same user account from Ubuntu (case sensitive) and there you go.

I will do that on the next new HDD… but now, can’t I do it with mount, to use the existing partitions that I have now?

Ubuntu 6.10 is on the SATA0 HDD with his home and openSuSE is on the new HDD, SATA1 160 GB, with its home. So I want to access each home from the other OS…

Can I do it with mount? How?

You can probably get away with this: reboot to Suse and log in as root (thus /home is not used while you do surgery because root’s home is under /root, not under /home). Then unmount the Suse’s home partition with this command:

umount /dev/sdbx

where sdbx means on drive number 2 (b=2) and replace x with the true partition number, likely 2 or 3, obtained by inspecting output from this command:

fdisk -l

Then remount the partition that is Ubu’s home as Suse’s new home: Suppose Ubu’s home is on sdaz (you gotta figure out what z is). In Yast → System → Partitioner locate the entry for the old device /dev/dsbx and highlight it and “delete” it. BE SURE YOU UNMOUNTED IT FIRST!!!. Then locate the Ubu home partition /dev/sdaz and “edit” it and select in the “mount” slot → the option /home.

Then OK or whatever to make it happen and reboot to log in as you.

Yes, you can do this with mount. You can also have it done automatically by placing a new entry in /etc/fstab.

I don’t know your partition layout or anything so I can’t give you the exact commands. If you just want to use mount, it’ll be something like …

sudo mount -t ext3 -o user /dev/sd?? /path/to/mount/point

An fstab entry looks very similar to that.

I was advised to use the Ubuntu home as the openSuSE home, but other people told me that it would be a bad decision… Is true?

Yes. This is a bad idea unless you use different user names in each distro so that the .config files within your home folder won’t step on each other. Lots of times it’s OK to use the same /home partition in different distro’s with the same username, but it’s not recommended. Having different user names will prevent any problems though.