Help on triple boot vista, opensuse and Ubuntu Karmic

Hi people,

Sorry if this has been brought up before and answered, but I have searched this forum, ubuntu forums and googled but can’t find a solution…

I have installed a set up with three HDD’s one with vista and ubuntu and the other two with media and documents. The first HDD is dedicated for operating systems only and is an 200gb IDE drive while the the other two are 320gb and 500gb both SATA drives.

I need vista for work so I can’t delete it, I also have ubuntu installed on it which I use to manage my media and Network media tank (which has linux based firmware). I want to try out openSUSE 11.2 and have a triple boot system.

I have tried installing opensuse 11.2 but it did not pick up ubuntu, tried fixing it and reinstalling GRUB but was have not managed to get anywhere, infact its totally messed up my ubuntu install and could not reboot. eventually I was able to reinstall ubuntu and dual boot with vista but could not get it to triple boot, i have also managed to get a dual boot with vista and opensuse but no ubuntu, i.e. I can make it work with any two but not all three.

Is there a guide out there someone can link me to or give me directions on how to make it work?

I have installed GRUB on the MBR and later found out that’s not recommended but has worked for me fine with a dual boot previously.

I have also attempted using gparted to partition and format but unsuccessful in installing all three OS’

Any help would be much appreciated, I’m sure there are people out there who have a similar setup…

openSUSE and Karmic don’t use the same Grub version.
Provided you have a free partition for openSUSE:

  1. install openSUSE in that partition. You can share the swap partition with Ubuntu.
  2. in openSUSE setup DON’T install Grub in the mbr ! Install Grub in the root partition ( / ), the one where you’re installing openSUSE.
  3. You should be able to reboot Ubuntu, since grub in mbr hasn’t change. In Unbuntu, type :

sudo update-grub

It will add openSUSE to the Grub menu.

thanks for the quick response, I have a quick question, seeing that I’m in a position to reinstall Ubuntu and OpenSUSE due to aforementioned mess, so that i can get it right, which do u suggest I install first? I currently have openSUSE installed and Vista dual booting fine and a partition that I can install ubuntu on… i.e. I now want to install ubuntu and see if I can sort it out…

That’s perfect. Just install Ubuntu and Ubuntu’s grub in the mbr (this is the default anyway). Ubuntu will run update-grub and add Vista and openSUSE to the boot menu. Under openSUSE, you would have had to add entries manually. There is no update-grub there. This command belongs to Grub2, shipped with Ubuntu, while openSUSE still uses legacy Grub (the previous version, quite different).


You my friend are a veritable genius! works perfectly, now have a triple boot system with vista, ubuntu and openSUSE sharing swap partition and \home.

For anyone out there who is trying this out here this is what I did:

Install vista (in my case the vista install was done last year)
In vista run defrag and reboot the computer
When vista reboots, shrink the vista partition to the required size. You should be left with a partition thats unallocated (or free space)
Reboot vista - very important!!!
Exit vista and pop in the Ubuntu live cd and run it. when Ubuntu starts, go to system>admin> and start gparted.
Select the hard disk with vista. Select the unallocated space (the one that was created after shrinking vista). Select create extended partition for that section and apply. You could possibly do this in opensuse but I have no idea how to seeing that I’m just trying it out now, have never used it before.
After the extended partition as been created create four logical partitions in the extended partition and format three as ext4 and the fourth as swap (about 2GB for the swap) and apply the changes.
Reboot and insert opensuse dvd/cd and install.
In the opensuse partitioning, select “Edit Partition” option.
select one of the ext4 partitions created earlier and set mount point to “/”
Select another partition and set mount point to “/home”
Select the swap area and set it as swap.
Proceed to the “Installation Settings” screen and select the booting option. Set the boot to be installed on the “/” for OpenSUSE, once thats done make any other software selections you want and proceed with the install.
once installation is complete reboot the computer with the ubuntu cd and begin the ubuntu installer. Once the ubuntu partitioner starts select the manual (advanced option).
Select the other remaining ext4 partition to install ubuntu mount point “/”
Select the /home partion and set mount point to “/home” this will share the home with opensuse.
Proceed with the install until you get to the “Ready to install” screen.
Select the “Advanced” button to select the location for GRUB bootloader installation.
The options there will show several options including partitions which will appear as sdc1,2,3,4 etc or sda1,2,3… select sdc or sda as applicable in your system. Once thats done proceed and complete the install.
when the computer reboots you will have GRUB with a triple boot! you can then boot into each system and run updates.

I Hope this helps, it took me about three evenings running around in circles, could not have done it without help from please_try_again, thanks heaps!!! Managed to do it in about 3hours or so.

Well done sorting that.
Grub2 is quite easy IMO and you’ll find it’s as easy as sudo update-grub

Then if necessary
grub-install /dev/???

It’s ok. But next time, rather create 2 primary partitions about the same size and one extended partition. Then create two logical partitions in the extended space, one for /home and one for swap. Install openSUSE in one primary and Ubuntu in the other one. It’s safer and easier to repare in you happen to screw up your partition table.

Two more things …

It’s great to share the /home partition between two (or more) Linux. It doesn’t mean that you can share your home directory. If you create the same user ( = same login name) under Ubuntu and openSUSE, this user will have (by default) the same home directory ( example : /home/kinuts ) under both OS. For simple programs - or even firefox - it’s not a problem, but for complex applications or desktop environment, like Kde or Gnome, it will be a mess.
So either, use different login names under openSUSE and Ubuntu or if you want to keep the same user name, create two directories (either under Ubuntu or openSUSE) :

 sudo mkdir /home/Ubuntu /home/openSUSE

Then, change the default location of the base home directory in both systems.
Under Ubuntu, type:

sudo useradd -D -b /home/Ubuntu

Under openSUSE, type:

sudo useradd --save-defaults -d /home/openSUSE

Now home directories won’t interfere. If you create a user Mary, her home directory will be /home/openSUSE/Mary under openSUSE and /home/Ubuntu/Mary under Ubuntu.

  1. Sooner or later you will get kernel updates from openSUSE. It won’t update your Grub menu list (the one you’re using, because it’s on your Ubuntu partition). So, after a kernel update under openSUSE, run sudo update-grub under Ubuntu to add the new openSUSE kernel to your boot menu.

That’s all (well not quite, but I’m sure you’ll learn the rest).

Thanks for the additional tips, I did’nt know about them interfering with each other, Have now fixed it as per your instructions. I’ll also keep in mind your tips on partitioning in mind in case something goes wrong or if I decide to reinstall.