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If I wanted to run different releases (stable, development) of the same distribution on a single computer, what do I need to configure to ensure they can share a /home partition between them?

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It might be a good idea to use the same /etc/passwd file on both installs. – Brad Gilbert May 3 '09 at 23:04
up vote 10 down vote accepted

You need to keep the username to UID, and groupname to GID mappings in sync between the installs.

Add the partition to fstab of both installs.

You might find that some application has configuration file somewhere under your home directory, and the updated package may make changes to the configuration that are not compatible with the previous release used on the other install. As a safety precaution it is important to keep good backups of files.

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Just set it to mount the partition in /etc/fstab on both installs. Similar to this:

/dev/sda3 /home ext4  defaults,errors=remount-ro  0 2
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While I'm particularly interested in best practices for doing this with multiple partitions/drives on a single machine, I'd also like to mention that one option would be to host /home on network attached storage or a separate machine on the network and have it automounted.

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