Hi all. Thank you for the welcome! And I apologize for the messy hurried state of my first post, I was so tired from installing over and over again - grammar and formatting were the first casualties.
I note that you first installed Ubuntu, then openSUSE over Ubuntu. It might be irrelevant but it should be mentioned though, because Ubuntu might have handled the GPT differently (Fedora would).
When I first decided to give up on Ubuntu, I tried to install OpenSuse over the top, but that caused both Windows and Linux to be unbootable. So I went back to the DiskUtility app in Lion and repartitioned, then installed both Windows and OpenSuse from scratch again. I did try to install Fedora16 a few times but always failed, perhaps for the reason you mentioned.
This is great information. Did you download and burn a DVD of the OS first? AFAIK it’s not shipped anymore.
Did the recovery partition appear in the GUI disk utility? Would it have been possible to delete it from there?
I upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard, I did this a few weeks ago by making an install thumb drive using instructions at LifeHacker:
Actually the recovery partition was only visible in the output from the diskutil command line program. I think this is the site where I found how to delete it. There was another site, which I can’t find now, that explained how the master boot record can only have 4 slots, so to have 3 operating systems you need to get rid of the recovery partition, and have the linux install only take 1 partition (use a swap file for swap, not a partition).
Great info too. I read that the Windows partition should be the last one but could never figure out why. Obviously it is not true.
Yes I read that too. It may be relevant if you are using rEFIt. I’m really a little confused about how the various pieces fit together. But this post is the one that worked and gave me a better understanding of how to avoid problems. I think the basic idea is, make sure the partitions you use for windows and linux stay the same size as you set them up in diskUtility (mac GUI). This means don’t choose the free-space option when its time to specify a linux partition, just format as ext4. Then I guess the GPT and MBR don’t get the opportunity to go out of sync.
Some instructions I have seen have recommended choosing to install linux on free-space and gptsync (from the rEFIt menu). However, this post states that there is a bug in the way the rEFIt gptsync works in conjunction with Lion. He recommends fixing the MBR by hand. At one point I tried these instructions but it didn’t work for me. It did at least make me look out for solutions that didn’t involve refit.
Amazing!.. And you didn’t install rEFIt at all? So rEFit wouldn’t let you do that? Or maybe only the MBR partition table has to be synchronized with the GPT, and the boot code in the MBR doesn’t matter. (Why would it ?)
Yes I think you are right. While I did have rEFIt installed from earlier attempts, the solution that worked didn’t use it at all. The intention is that you hold down option, select Windows disk icon, and then choose from the GRUB menu. However, as I have rEFIt installed anyway, I noticed that you can choose either the Linux TUX or the Windows icons in rEFIt and they will take you to that same GRUB menu.
Just a last question: I assume your Mac came with Lion, it wasn’t an update from Snow Leopard?
Actually, I started with Snow Leopard. All my data stayed in tact while I upgraded to Lion (using the method from the LifeHacker article above). And since then, miraculously, after what must be 15 attempts to get triple boot working, that Mac data is still there. At the moment I’m not convinced that Lion is a massive improvement over leopard. In my job I have to compile for Linux64 and Win64, but I really like using TextMate for development, which is Mac only. Finally I can do it all on one machine.
So, again - thanks for the warm welcome here. I’m really looking forward to diving into suse now.