Note: This article is part of my OS Install Experiences series.
OK, so let's start with something simple: Debian. Simple in the sense that there probably won't be too many surprises for me as a Debian developer (or for most readers of Planet Debian). For other people this might be interesting, though, and some facts are probably interesting to one or the other experienced Debian user/developer, too...
A few words on the hardware I'll be installing all these OSes on. It's a cheapo (200 Euros) x86 PC (Intel Celeron, 2 GHz), 80 GB IDE hard drive, 256 MB RAM, ATI Radeon 9200 SE graphics adapter, Realtek PCI ethernet controller, CDROM, USB, and all the other standard stuff. Nothing fancy, really.
Now the funny part starts: partitioning the disk. As I will be installing >= 10 OSes, this needs a bit of consideration.
I have chosen to create a 10 GB (primary) partition for a Redmond OS I'll be installing later (for games, testing, proprietary software I'm forced to use, and similar things). This will be the first partition and I marked it bootable, as Windows might choke otherwise.
For the rest, I reserved 5 GB for each OS — that should do. So the next two (primary) partitions are 5 GB each. I'll leave these empty for now, as I might encounter obscure OSes which must be installed on primary partitions. Let's hope it won't be more than two ;-) As you can only have four primary partitions, I then had to create a logical partition, which will "contain" any further partitions.
The next three (secondary) partitions are 1 GB each, intended to be used as swap. One of those I marked as swap in order to use it for Debian. Other Linux installations will be able to reuse this one. The other two are reserved in case I encounter OSes which have another form of swap and cannot use Linux swap partitions...
The rest is easy: create twelve 5 GB partitions => lots of space for more OSes. Here's the resulting fdisk output:
Disk /dev/hda: 81.9 GB, 81964302336 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9964 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/hda1 * 1 1216 9767488+ 83 Linux /dev/hda2 1217 1824 4883760 83 Linux /dev/hda3 1825 2432 4883760 83 Linux /dev/hda4 2433 9964 60500790 5 Extended /dev/hda5 2433 2554 979933+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris /dev/hda6 2555 2676 979933+ 83 Linux /dev/hda7 2677 2798 979933+ 83 Linux /dev/hda8 2799 3406 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda9 3407 4014 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda10 4015 4622 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda11 4623 5230 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda12 5231 5838 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda13 5839 6446 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda14 6447 7054 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda15 7055 7662 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda16 7663 8270 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda17 8271 8878 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda18 8879 9486 4883728+ 83 Linux /dev/hda19 9487 9964 3839503+ 83 Linux
Update 2006-06-05: Added netstat output and the list of world-writable files.
Update 2006-06-02: Shortened the length of the article on my main webpage as well as the RSS feed. But you can always read the whole article here, of course.
Update 2006-05-19: Updated "why is Debian-exim capitalized?" info as per comments, thanks!