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I'm a CS student at my university, so I typically run a version of linux at my home computer when I do programming in C or other linux specific stuff. I really hate grub (it never seems to work for me), so I installed ubuntu on an external hard disk, and it boots and runs fine with only a few grub issues.

My desktop has and AMD processor and an AMD graphics card. I want to take my laptop to school sometimes (I take my chromebook right now as its much lighter and easier to bike with) when I really need to crank out some work and would like to use ubuntu as well. I guess I am wondering what the best solution here would be:

A) Is it possible to dual boot with these different graphics drivers/hardware? I built a vanilla linux kernel [an assignment for one of my classes] and it inserted its own drivers for each kernel version. Would it be possible to build another ubuntu kernel, make it in my grub file, and install only nvidia drivers, then boot that kernel when I use my laptop? (I don't even know if this is possible?)

B) Just dual boot 2 ubuntu installations on the external disk? Would rather have one install if possible.

Thanks, Mgamerz

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A) Is it possible to dual boot with these different graphics drivers/hardware?

Yes, Linux usually deals with different hardware extremely well and "just works".

I built a vanilla linux kernel [an assignment for one of my classes] and it inserted its own drivers for each kernel version. Would it be possible to build another ubuntu kernel, make it in my grub file, and install only nvidia drivers, then boot that kernel when I use my laptop?

Don't do that. Just use the default Ubuntu kernel, and you should be fine. Manually compiling a kernel just adds unnecessary work and introduces possible security holes (you would need to manually update your custom kernel for every security bug fix; Ubuntu will upgrade its default kernel automatically).

You only need to figure out how both those computers will boot from that disk. I guess you already have some kind of solution there, because apparently at least one of the computers can boot from the USB disk...?

  • The main issue I have is that I want to have the proprietary driver's work. From what I've read I can't have both the AMD graphics driver as well as the Nvidia one installed. I know I can boot both but it's really important for me to be able to have hardware acceleration/good graphics powers as not having a good desktop is terrible for programming. And I use super grub disk to boot from since it didn't seem to write the the boot sector properly. (super grub disk is great!) – Mgamerz Sep 26 '13 at 5:34
  • Hmm, yes, the fglrx and nvidia-* packages conflict, so it's apparently not possible to install them both at the same time. I don't really understand though why you would need 3D acceleration for programming? I assume you're not developing anything 3D-related? – Martin von Wittich Sep 26 '13 at 10:11
  • I use some shortcuts for efficiency like wall switcher and stuff for compiz. I also run dual monitors. – Mgamerz Sep 26 '13 at 21:06

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