Problems with YaST while trying to install Suse 11.1

Hello, I’m trying to install Suse 11.1 alongside Linux Mint 7. I have one HD which is 74 GB. 73 GB is used by the Mint root partition (dev/sda1) while the other 1 GB is used by the extended partition (dev/sda2).

When I boot from the Suse DVD, I have no problem with the installation until I get to the partition editor. Normally, YaST should automatically offer to shrink the Mint partition and format the remaining space for Suse, which is exactly what I want to do. Instead it just comes up with the name of the hard drive in red letters, with no other options. I assume that means that YaST wants to wipe all existing partitions and format the entire disc.

This could be because the disk space is already taken up with a linux system. The extended sapce is too small to be used.
When you get to the partition info, choose expert mod and then shrink the mint partition.
Personally, though, I would make a backup of the /home and then do fresh installs with a better partition layout and put /home on its own partition so you can mount it in whatever flavour of linux you use. This saves you having to duplicate your firefox bookmarks, mail settings and other data.

Hmm…I figured out the problem by using the Mint Live CD and gParted to shrink the Mint partition…so what you’re saying is that I should have just one /home partition and several root partitions for whatever distros I use? How would I go about doing that? Isn’t /home already tied to the root partition / on dev/sda1 (Mint)?

I confess I prefer to have a separate /home partition for each Linux distribution I have installed.

Linux is different to dos/windows in that it has a file system that is able to mount each part of the directory tree on different discs or partitions.
The Root or / partition is the main container for the filesystem and each part of the structure can either exist on the same drive/partition or on a separate drive/partition mount point.
In a simple way, this means that say you have discovered that the /home contains too much data for the disc/partition. You would then copy all your data to a new drive or partition and then mount the new partition as /home.
The effect of this is that as long as you have enough space on the drive/partition for each operaring system, /home can be shared/common to all the distros you install.
That is why is said you need to backup /home or personal data and then re-partition.
Have a look at and read the linux install how-to for a bit of an insight. It’s distro independent, so only covers the basics whereas your distro install how-to will cover different methods of installing the distro.

This is the link you want to read about the linux file system: General overview of the Linux file system