Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Long story short: Have one laptop, need to multiboot FreeBSD/OpenBSD as well as a number of Linux distros.

Which one do you think should go first? FreeBSD offers a bootMgr, but I'm not sure how it relates with GRUB.

How am I supposed to make the partitions knowing that a harddisk can take up to four primary partitions, perhaps make one primary, one extended and make logical partitions?

If so, how to do that with fdisk because the options aren't very clear about that.

share|improve this question
IIRC there's one of the *BSD that can't be installed on a logical partition, and another where you have to do nontrivial stuff when installing. I also remember a past thread on the topic on this site or perhaps Super User (if you find it please leave a comment or add it your question). The simple option is to install each BSD on a primary partition, and Linux on logical partitions (or LVM). – Gilles Jan 15 '11 at 16:23
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Grub can boot FreeBSD and that's the way I'd do it because I'm more familiar with Grub. I gave up on FreeBSD because of driver problems but I was able to dual boot it with Ubuntu and you should be able to do so as well. Here is a post found by googling.

Regarding partitions, you can make any setup you want because both Linux and BSD can boot from logical partitions. So you can have 1 extended partition with lots of logical ones, or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition. It's up to you. Update: in a comment AlexD stated that FreeBSD can only boot from a primary partition. I'm not entirely sure about this but he is probably right. In that case you should spend 3 primary partitions for BSDs and logical ones for Linux (I'm pretty sure Linux can boot from logical partitions).

fdisk deserves a separated question, but have you ever really tried to use it? I find fdisk pretty straightforward. If you find it complicated you can try a live CD with GParted. The openSUSE live CD should have a GUI partitioning tool as well, but I'm not sure (I'm more familiar with Ubuntu).

share|improve this answer
fdisk is straightforward indeed, but it only gave me the choice of creating a slice (I'm running it off FreeBSD CD), so I don't remember seeing the term extended and logical there, but I'll check back anyways. Thanks – Orca Jan 15 '11 at 11:45
@Voulnet: BSD slice = PC primary partition. – Gilles Jan 15 '11 at 16:19
According to its documentation (Handbook 2.3.3) FreeBSD must be installed into primary partition. While it could mount filesystems from logical partitions pretty fine, it can boot only from primary partition. – AlexD Jan 16 '11 at 9:28
@AlexD I read from some installation instruction of a BSD (long ago, I don't remember) with examples of /dev/sda7 so I assumed it worked with logical partitions... Will edit my answer to include this notice. – phunehehe Jan 18 '11 at 4:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.