OpenSuSE 12.1 + Other OSs

Hi OpenSuSE community.
I was dual booting a Linux distro and a BSD base OS when I noticed I had 10 GB free in my Hard Drive so I thought it was perfect for OpenSuSE.
So, my question is. How can I have OpenSuSE to use the home partition from the other Linux in there and leave that 10 GB just for OpenSuSE’s ROOT partition.
When I installed YasT was able to identify that 2GB were already there for swap and it already sharing it with the other distro.

The other distro also have its onw 10GB ROOT partition, and there is a larger partition just for /home.

I will appreciate it your advices. Thank you.

I wouldn’t say perfect (noawdays). It’s not that much.

The easiest is to use a different login name under openSUSE. No problem at all! Otherwise you can change the default base home directory … but you’ll have to do it BEFORE creating any user … You would just create a dummy user during setup. That’s what I do (on any distro actually).

You have to use “Create partition setup”. This is the only way. If you do that, no problem! Select the home partition, mount in /home and DO NOT FORMAT it!

So, when you boot from the openSUSE disk, you will get to the partitioning section, you will need to pick custom, not based on anything else.

  1. Existing SWAP partition are automounted (the mount point will already say swap) and no need for a separate one for openSUSE.
  2. You must select an existing /home, elect to mount it as /home and to NOT FORMAT IT, which is the default.
  3. Select the free space, create a 10 GB partition, mount it as / and allow it to be formatted (the default if new).
  4. You must decide where you are placing the Grub Boot loader (MBR or into the / openSUSE partition). You can only boot directly from the first four partitions so if openSUSE is in an extended partition, select the MBR.

Be aware that 10 GB is kind of small, so do not install anything more than the default and no extra desktops over the KDE or GNOME one you select. Here is more infor on partitioning you need to read:

Each hard drive can have up to four PRIMARY partitions, any of which could be marked active and bootable. No matter what you might hear, only one of the first four primary partitions can be booted from. That means you can boot from Primary partitions 1, 2, 3 or 4 and that is all. In order to boot openSUSE, you must load openSUSE and the grub boot loader into one of the first four partitions. Or, your second choice is to load the grub boot loader into the MBR (Master Boot Record) at the start of the disk. The MBR can be blank, like a new disk, it can contain a Windows partition booting code or generic booting code to boot the active partition 1, 2, 3, or 4. Or, as stated before, it can contain the grub boot loader. Why load grub into the MBR then? You do this so that you can “boot” openSUSE from a logical partition, numbered 5 or higher, which is not normally possible. In order to have more than four partitions, one of them (and only one can be assigned as extended) must be a extended partition. It is called an Extended Primary Partition, a container partition, it can be any one of the first four and it can contain one or more logical partitions within. Anytime you see partition numbers 5, 6 or higher for instance, they can only occur inside of the one and only Extended Primary partition you could have.

What does openSUSE want as far as partitions? It needs at minimum a SWAP partition and a “/” partition where all of your software is loaded. Further, it is recommended you create a separate /home partition, which makes it easier to upgrade or reload openSUSE without losing all of your settings. So, that is three more partitions you must add to what you have now. What must you do to load and boot openSUSE from an external hard drive? Number one, you must be able to select your external hard drive as the boot drive in your BIOS setup. Number two, you need to make sure that the external hard drive, perhaps /dev/sdb, is listed as the first hard drive in your grub file and listed as drive hd0. I always suggest that you do not load grub into the MBR, but rather into the openSUSE “/” root primary partition which means a primary number of 1, 2, 3 or 4. If number one is used, then that will be out. You will mark the openSUSE partition as active for booting and finally you must load generic booting code into the MBR so that it will boot the openSUSE partition. I suggest a partition like this:

  1. /dev/sda, Load MBR with generic booting code
  2. /dev/sda1, Primary NTFS Partition for Windows
  3. /dev/sda2, Primary SWAP (4 GB)
  4. /dev/sda3, Primary EXT4 “/” openSUSE Partition Marked Active for booting (80-120 GB)
  5. /dev/sda4, Primary EXT4 “/home” Your main home directory (Rest of the disk)


  1. /dev/sda, Load MBR with generic booting code
  2. /dev/sda1, Primary, booting NTFS Partition for Windows (small < 500 mb)
  3. /dev/sda2, Primary, NTFS Partition for Windows (Main / Large Partition)
  4. /dev/sda3, Primary EXT4 “/” openSUSE Partition Marked Active for booting (80-120 GB)
  5. /dev/sda4, Primary Extended Partition (Rest of Disk)
  6. /dev/sda5, Logical SWAP partition(4 GB, inside Extended)
  7. /dev/sda6, Logical EXT4 “/home” Your main home directory (Rest of the Extended partition)


  1. /dev/sdb, Load MBR with generic booting code
  2. /dev/sdb1, Primary, booting NTFS Partition for Windows (small < 500 mb)
  3. /dev/sdb2, Primary, NTFS Partition for Windows (Main / Large Partition)
  4. /dev/sdb3, Primary EXT4 “/” openSUSE Partition Marked Active for booting (80-120 GB)
  5. /dev/sdb4, Primary Extended Partition (Rest of Disk)
  6. /dev/sdb5, Logical SWAP partition(4 GB, inside Extended)
  7. /dev/sdb6, Logical EXT4 “/home” Your main home directory (Rest of the Extended partition)

Thank You,

Thank you.
I am aware of the space limitations with 10 GB, and it is fine. I like to keep my OS clean and lean however I do want both of the OS to share /home and swap, I already installed OpenSuSE. I really thought YasT was going to just create a single /root partition. So I will have to find a way to move documents, music, pictures and downloads into the larger partition so 10 GB wont fill up with temp files from firefox and emails from Thunderbird.

I really appreciate all advices.

I have some questions if you don’t mind.
Which BSD are you using? Does gparted give you a warning because of your BSD partition? What’s the partition ID of your BSD partition: 0XA5, 0xA6, 0xA9 … something else? Does your BSD primary show up in nautilus, dolphin or whatever? Do you mount your BSD slices under Linux? Are they UFS1 or UFS2?

And finally … did you ever try to install a Grub2 based distro (such as Ubuntu, Mint, latest Debian, Fedora16) … and did the Grub2 installation fail because of your BSD partition? (or is it just me? … although I’m afraid it’s just me).

Sorry … I bet you didn’t expect to be asked so many questions while looking for help here. lol!

You may run into a problem trying to use the same /home directory with two different distros. Config files might cause an issue.

I thought I explained the OP how to achieve that in post #2

I have installed FreeBSD. The slice was formated by the BSD tool so the format is not compatible with Linux, therefore I can’t mount the files when I am logged in linux. Nautilus see a 26 GB partition there but cant access the content. I didnt installed the BSD boot manager but GRUB takes care of booting it. I will set it up with KDE

The other distro I have is SlackWare I havent set it up yet but I am planning on using Xfce with it WICD for wireless. The boot manager for SlackWare is LILO but I choose no to install it either. GRUB is also taking care of the boot with this distro with no problem.

And finally I have OpenSuSE with Gnome I had to turn on the fallback display because the defaul Gnome 3 is not supported by my video chip. I have this set up in a IBM thinkpad, single processor pentium M. 80GB hard drive.
The main pupose of this setup is plain learning experience. I really appreciate all your advices.
Thank you!

Are you sure? Or don’t you just know how to do it? The Linux kernel has support for BSD disklabels, especially the FreeBSD once. If the kernel detects a BSD disklabel, special devices are created for the BSD slices. You don’t see them with fdisk. But they’ll show up in blkid or sfdisk output, for example.
Do you see them if you type one of these commands:

sfdisk -l

Further, you can mount these partitions read only under Linux, whether they are ufs1 or ufs2.

This is normal (that you can not access the content). This is NOT normal (that Nautilus displays it). This is the primary BSD, a container for the Unix slices, just like the DOS extended partition (that Linux use too) includes the logical partitions. This partition has no content and should not show up in Nautilus. It’s a bug. But you can make it disappear by editing /etc/fstab and you should IMO. If this partition is sda2 (an example), you would add this in /etc/fstab:

/dev/sda2    none    ignore

Then it won’t be in Nautilus.

Here’s the syntax to mount BSD ufs1 and ufs2 slices under Linux. It will be ufs2 in FreeBSD (unless you explicitely set up the slices to use UFS1, but you didn’t):

# openBSD (ufs1)
/dev/sda22               /usr/local/mnt/openbsd      ufs    ro,ufstype=44bsd,noauto          0   0
# FreeBSD (ufs2)
/dev/sda25               /usr/local/mnt/freebsd      ufs    ro,ufstype=ufs2,noauto           0   0

Just in case you want to mount those partitions. Of course, you don’t have to. With the option “noauto”, they won’t be mounted automatically, since there is no reason to mount them automatically.

Thank you for that info.
I just didn’t know. I tried to format the BSD slice in FAT format with the idea to access its contents while running other OS but the BSD tool wouldn’t let me proceed with the installation.

I have to mention that I am very new to this kind of things an my inexperienced will make me run into troubles. So I appreciate all advice.

It might indeed. But why starting with FreeBSD + 2 Linux distros (including Slackware btw). It’s tough! You will learn faster and more efficiently the basics if you focus on one Unix or Linux for now.
Whether you learn on BSD or Linux, you will probably think that the others are crazy. lol!