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Joined: 03 Jan 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:16 am    Post subject: How to install on partitions already present? Reply with quote

Some time ago I installed a Linux distribution and left space on my HDD to try other ones in the future, alongside with it. Now I am trying to install Gentoo following its installation handbook which asks for the following partition table:

/dev/sda1    (bootloader)       2M          BIOS boot partition
/dev/sda2    ext2 (or vfat)    128M         Boot partition
/dev/sda3    (swap)       512M or higher    Swap partition
/dev/sda4    ext4         Rest of the disk  Root partition

Running GParted I can see the partitions I have now:

/dev/sda1 fat32 2 MiB             bios_grub
/dev/sda2 fat32 512 MiB /boot/efi boot, esp
/dev/sda3 ext2  512 MiB /boot     legacy_boot
/dev/sda4       8 GiB             linux-swap
/dev/sda5 ext4  30 GiB  /         Manjaro root
/dev/sda6 ext4  200 GiB /home     Manjaro home
/dev/sda7 ext4                    (free for Gentoo root)
/dev/sda8 ext4                    (free for Gentoo home)

I'm confused about the way to install from the Gentoo CD using the existing partitions (I'm guessing, because I don't understand very well, that I can use the swap already there, and maybe the /boot and/or the /boot/efi already on my disk). BTW, I want to have independent stand alone distributions, I don't want to share kernels or things like that. I'm also confused about the setup I have, since I thought I installed Manjaro with GPT/EFI/UEFI stuff and I'm seeing some bios/legacy information. Should I make a new 2M BIOS boot partition and a new 128M Boot partition or can I stick to the ones I already have?

I tried to stick to the Gentoo handbook but it only gives instructions for an empty HDD. I don't understand how to do the installation without breaking the one I have running. Probably there is more info on the forum, but I couldn't find it. Is there any documentation I'm missing? Or any advice on how to go on? Thanks!
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The Doctor

Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 2618

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to Gentoo.

Rule #1. The handbook is a book of suggestions. If you deviate, it should be because you know what you are doing, but there is no reason not to. In fact, must of us do at some point for some reason. This is a common one. All that will change is the entries in a few files, notably /etc/fstab. The handbook will explain, you shouldn't have too much trouble.

You are fine. Your proposed table looks fine to me as long as sda7 and sda8 have enough space. I'd say 40 Gig is very comfortable for /, 30 would be acceptable. Less may be problematic for Gentoo, but tell us how big it is and we can tell you if that is okay or not.

Do not add any booting partitions or software. You should handle that from your primary distro, whatever that is. If you are running grub form your other Linux, modify it's config to see the Gentoo kernel and specify the Gentoo root.

You can share the swap. Nothing is stored there.

In fact, you could do this install from your existing Linux altogether and not bother with a live media. All you need is a linux environment with chroot. Of course, using the live media won't hurt anything unless you mess up, but that is true either way.
First things first, but not necessarily in that order.

Apologies if I take a while to respond. I'm currently working on the dematerialization circuit for my blue box.
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Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Posts: 1969

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The swap partition is sometimes used for hibernation, depending.

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Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 15452

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minor nit: swap can be shared among distributions, provided that none of them store a hibernation image in it or that, if any do, you resume from the hibernated image before trying to boot a different distribution. When you hibernate to disk, it is common, though not mandatory, to write the hibernation image into the swap partition. If you hibernate distribution A, then boot distribution B, then distribution B cannot use the swap space because it is busy holding the memory image of distribution A. This should be harmless, other than the inability to use swap in distribution B until you either shutdown A or decide to wipe the memory image of A. Wiping that image will prevent you from resuming A, meaning you would lose all open programs in A and may need a filesystem check of A's filesystems.

As a related point, if you hibernate in distribution A, then no other distribution can safely mount any filesystem that was mounted when A hibernated. If you do, then when A resumes, it will be unaware of the changes and corruption could result.
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