/home is it okay to share between 2 distros?

Forum Forums Official Releases antiX-17 “Heather Heyer, Helen Keller” /home is it okay to share between 2 distros?


  • This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated Oct 28-1:33 am by cpoakes.
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  • #895

    Hi There,

    I have Ubuntu installed and want to dual boot and about to install antiX 17.

    During install of antiX 17 is it okay to just mount the same /home from Ubuntu and then share it between the 2 distros?

    Am I going to have a network manager icon in the systray? Is that called wicd? I want to be able to mouse over it and it tells me my ip address and DNS server and how many packets sent/received

    No WiFi, just need Lan

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Jimmy4917.
    Forum Admin

    I would advise against a shared /home with Ubuntu since there *might* be some config files (dotfiles) that conflict. Of course, there might not be.
    Instead I would install antiX with its own home on the root partition and use sym links to the Ubuntu /home. You will need to make changes to antiX (and Ubuntu if you want to access antiX home) /etc/fstab.

    When you boot the live iso, at the boot menu press F4 and highlight wicd. This will put an icon in the tray and it will carry over on install.
    If you do not see the F menus at boot menu, you will have to add wicd manually.

    Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

    antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.


    Cool man, thanks!

    I have the day off and this will keep me busy setting it all up. If everything works I can make it my main distro and leave Ubuntu as a secondary system and for troubleshooting

    Forum Admin

    TL:DR: copy config files. Share data. Don’t mix apples and oranges.

    Even though many people do it, I do not recommend sharing /home between distros unless you use different user account names in the distros so there is no tug-of-war over the config files in and under your home directory. Of course, using different user names often defeats the purpose of sharing /home.

    It is usually okay to *copy* over the files from an existing home directory to a new one in order to give you a starting point you are familiar with. For sharing files between distros I use a large partition mounted at /data. I will add symlinks in my home directory to directories under /data. For example, a ~/Projects/ symlink that points to /data/BitJam/Projects/. This way all the distros have a common ~/Projects/ directory that is shared.

    Sharing home directories between distros often works okay but when it fails due to different versions of the same program requiring different config file formats, the conflicts can be a royal pain and they arise every time you switch the OS you are booting into.

    The shared /home concept is extremely old, dating back to time-shared main-frame systems. Back in those days there were few config files, they were much simpler than they are now and the systems sharing /home were kept in sync. I just checked. I have 3 Gig of of hidden files and directories in my home directory. This is much larger than the entire storage space available back in the main-frame days! This means the chances of a conflict have increased a thousand-fold, maybe a million-fold.

    Sharing a /data partition and setting up some symlinks is a little more complicated than sharing /home but it is a much better and much more robust solution. IMO sharing /home is just a bunch of mysterious bugs waiting to happen. I think it is silly for people to ask for it and even sillier for distros to offer it as an option. I’m not saying your question was silly. IMO it is an excellent question.

    Context is worth 80 IQ points -- Alan Kay


    Thanks for that explanation and details. Symlinks it will be then


    A separate /home partition doesn’t make sense for me since 1) I want to avoid the .dot config problems that may arise sharing between distros, and 2) all my shared data is on a separate partition (not mounted to /home). Rather than linking data into $HOME, I reconfigure the XDG directories such as “Documents” or “Pictures” to the data partition. They are set in ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs.

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