I would like to run multiple distros and want to verify a few things. I will most likely run Arch, Kali, Ubuntu Studio and Qube (if it's compatible). I will share /home with all, but maybe not with Kali.

Here are the questions I have:

Using GPT, are all drives primary?

Depending on the answers, I could be using many drives. All drives will be ext4 except for boot, which will be UEFI.

Do I need a separate /boot for each.

If so, should i place them all at the beginning of the disk, and just make enough partitions for future use?

I have 12gb RAM, do I NEED 24gb swap per distro?

Seems like a lot of wasted space, though I do want to be able to save state and hibernate.

How should I calculate my root drive size req?

I have a 1.8tb drive, so space isn't an issue, but I want to have good habits. I use a fair amount of programs, including running different databases.

  • 1
    Wouldn't you consider virtualization? Multiple Linux distros on the same physical machine don't really make much sense in this day and age. Or if you really want to go that way, test on a VM first. First question : UEFI is one thing, ext4 is another. Second : Yes, you will need a separate /boot for each. Third q : No. Fourth : Depends on what you need. Add some more for safety.
    – schaiba
    Dec 23, 2016 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


I would avoid sharing /home with all. User-level conf/preferences files for various applications can change between versions, it may work but it may make some things not as nice as they should be. If you are good about keeping your files in subdirectories of ~/ then you could set up a series of mounts and symlinks to keep ~/Documents, ~/Desktop, etc. "shared" between all distros.

You should also be aware of what the boot loader will do for each distro, and what will happen when you get a kernel updates, etc. that forces a boot-loader rewrite.

Hopefully about now you are thinking "Gee, a bunch of vms in VirtualBox/KVM/etc doesn't sound so bad".

If not...

All of that said, in answer to the partition lay out, you can use a single swapfile between all distros - just remember to NOT format it after the first distro is installed, OR go back and change the fstab to point to the correct uuid once the last distro is installed. You can get away with a single partition for each distro 20gb PLUS whatever you think you need for your data, unless you plan on an extra partition to hold your data files and then symlink them into your /home on each distro.

  • You make a good argument for Virtualbox. I think I will just boot to Arch, then run the others virtually. My one concern was Ubuntu Studio, but with 12gb RAM, this should not be a problem.
    – pekasus
    Dec 24, 2016 at 17:48

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