(How) Can openSUSE and Ubuntu share /home?

Has someone done a thing like this (especially sharing /home partition) with openSUSE and Ubuntu? Is there a How-To anywhere?

Until now I have the /home folder of Ubuntu not on a separate partition but under the system/root partition “/” of Ubuntu.


Well, for a try, mount the /home partition on Ubuntu (before any user logs in of course). Something like:

mount /dev/sd... /home

log in and see!

Things to understand:

  1. the contents of your original /home directory (the Ubuntu on) will be hidden away and can not be reached until you umount again (and as such is save from any changes during your experiment).
  2. the contents of the home directory of the user you log in with (the openSUSE one) can be changed. It most probably will be. When you have different DEs, or even the same, the different configuration files may give you some problems. Remember that e.g. openSUSE uses ~/.kde4 for personal KDE files, which may not be the case on Ubuntu. Thus it may be wise to create a test user on both systems and ony use that one until you got some experience.

Again: it is important to have the same userid numbers for the same users. Else user aap (uid 1001) on Ubuntu would use the home directory of user noot (also 1001) of your openSUSE system.


This seems to be a wise recommendation. Thanks.

This (the same user ID numbers for the same user names if they exist) is already done so.

Is there a way to share only the same folders for /home/pistazienfresser/Documents , /home/pistazienfresser/Download etc. and NOT for the other content of /home/pistazienfresser and /home/pistazienfresser/bin ? I just want to share data easily, for sharing bookmarks I have xmarks in firefox, for emails I will use IMAP (like between XP and openSUSE)…

Should I mount/“hang in” Suses /home partition just in Ubuntu as “/homeSUSE” and

  1. enter a link in “/home/pistazienfresser/Documents” on “/homeSUSE/pistazienfresser/Documents”?
  2. mount “/homeSUSE/pistazienfresser/Documents” on “/home/pistazienfresser/Documents” ect?


A very wise and convenient starting point when having more systems closely knitted in a common organisation!

I am not sure if I understand completely what you describe in the points above, but it seems at least to hint at the solution.

In this case you mount the Home partition on a place of your choice (e.g. /mnt/susehome. And you make symbolic links from your home directory. Thus when in the home of user aap first delete Downloads and then make the link:

rm Downloads
ln -s /mnt/susehome/aap/Downloads Downloads

For production mode (every day usage of this), you do not execute that mount after every boot of course, but add a line to your* /etc/fstab*.
And when making the mountpoint, see that it is:

drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 jan  5 19:28 /mnt/susehome

BTW I am now going for some fresh air. So feel free to come back with a question, but the answer (at least from me) may take a few hours).

Out of topic: Frißt du wirklick ganze Pistazien oder nur die Nüße?

Thanks for your answer! As it is now a bit sunshine around Frankfurt/Main I will go out, too.

I maybe a bit nuts but I eat only the kernel of the nuts (Nüsse) or if I am botanical right of the drupe (Steinfrucht) both the embryo (Embryo](http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embryo_(Pflanze))) and the endosperm (Endosperm](http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endosperm)) maybe with a bit seed coat.

If you refer to the shell (as part of the fruit) I do also not eat the hard shell. I think the nuts with shells are called in German “Pistazien” (,too) but every time I ordered “Pistazieneis” I got something without shells.

The adult/tree seems normally to be called “Pistazienbaum” in German (see in Wikipedia)](http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistazie) but the botanic genus (Gattung) with this species in is also called Pistazien.

In English there seems to be all three/four meanings of “pistacio” if I look at the pictures descriptions there: Pistachio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . If I understand the nl-wikipedida artikel right the text refers to the tree/adult but the picture shows the fruits…

But I think like in general (see kernel) it mostly will depend on the context what is meant (at least in German and English).


Thank you for your explanation. I think that the use of “fressen” gave me the image of some monstruous being swallowing whole trees. And yes, temperatures are rasing to “Pistazieneis” levels.

You can have a common /home partition shared between distros, but one thing to remember, unless you are running the same versions of distro, they all have differences in the way they set up the DE, whether it is gnome or kde. (Ubuntu gnome desktop is totally different to suse, as is fedora) Perhaps the easiest is to have different login ids for eac, but have common shared data folders for things like email, firefox and other data you save. You can create links to these if you like.

Fist thanks for your (plural) help so long.

Will this not make trouble with the permissions? Or do you think of a solution with full permissions for all users / members of the group users?
(How? Will root be the owner? By default he has no valid password in Ubuntu.)

Or should I consider about a complete partition for my (linux) data? And put the other data under /home just in the “/” (root) partition of the different linux systems?


I think your own first proposal (on which I commented) is feasable, but the different systems/DEs may have their impact on things in the users home directories.

You own second proposal (on which I eleborated/clarified a bit) is very good. Link to all the non system/non DE configuration things like Documents, etc. I know this is done by other people. You must however be carefull that when users (I do not know how many you have and how sophisticated they are) create something directly inside their home directory (and not in one of the shared ones), it is on one system only.

And always bear in mind: it is the uid/guid numbers and not the names that matter.

If you use separate partitions, you can mount them wherever you want for each os.
As for ownership,you can have a small /home on each distro, you can then use the larger partition for the bulk of the data and link the ownership of the common files to either a group or user:
eg: the user fred on each distro links to /data/fred on the data partition.

This is what I had decided to do, if I ever were to set up a dual boot computer again (which seems a bit unlikely, currently).

So SUSE sets up KDE4 in .kde4, KDE3 in .kde. Ubuntu (last I heard) sets up KDE4 in .kde, never having made co-existence of kde3 and kde4 on the same system an officially supported variant. You can see how this has the potential to go badly wrong when you just share /home in a very straightforward way.

The disadvantage of the scheme seems to be that all your actual data is under ~/documents, but that is something that you’ll rapidly get used to (I think).