Sunday, 23 February 2014

Dual-Boot SliTaz Linux and Linux Mint

NOTE: Although this is based on installing SliTaz alongside Linux Mint it should work for almost any Linux distribution.

WARNING: This procedure involves resizing partitions and as such has risks that data may be lost. Backup everything before proceeding. This is just a guide on how I completed the procedure and is in no way a guarantee it will work for everyone. If you follow this procedure you do so at your own risk.

Things To Do Before Starting

In Linux Mint (I'm using Linux Mint 13 - the Long Term Support version) Install Grub Customizer (directions here) and GParted (available through Synaptic package manager).

Download the SliTaz ISO (available here). I am using the version 4 ISO.

Download the GParted Live ISO (available here).

Burn SliTaz and GParted Live to separate CDs. (You could use a single USB drive - directions for this is here).

The Actual Procedure

My 320GB Hard Drive started as:

  • /dev/sda1 - Ext4, 297.10GB
  • /dev/sda2 - Extended, 1014.00MB
  • /dev/sda5 - Linux-Swap, 1014.00MB

Boot the GParted Live CD

Resize /dev/sda1 from 297.10GB to 100GB (This took about 15 minutes in total).
Once complete Exit and reboot.

Boot into Linux Mint

Open Gparted and it should display:

  • /dev/sda1 - Ext4, 100.00GB
  • Unallocated - 197.10GB
  • /dev/sda2 - Extended, 1014.00MB
  • /dev/sda5 - Linux-Swap, 1014.00MB

In the Unallocated area I created a 80GB partition for SliTaz and a 20GB partition for the Home partition which left the partition layout as:

  • /dev/sda1 - Ext4, 100.00GB
  • /dev/sda3 - Ext2, 80.00GB
  • /dev/sda4 - Ext2, 20.00GB
  • Unallocated - 97.10GB
  • /dev/sda2 - Extended, 1014.00MB
  • /dev/sda5 - Linux-Swap, 1014.00MB

SliTaz will be installed to /dev/sda3 and the Home partition will be /dev/sda4. This is worth noting for when you install SliTaz.

Boot the SliTaz CD

Select your keyboard layout.
Select SliTaz Live.
Once booted go to Applications - System Tools - SliTaz Installer.
It will ask for username/password. The default is root for both.
Select 'Install SliTaz'.
Select 'Contine Installation'.
You are then given some options. The options I used were:

Source Media - Live CD
Destination - /dev/sda3 (ext2).
Home - /dev/sda4 (ext2).
Hostname - "testmc".
Root Password - "password".
User Login - "user".
User Password - "password".


Select 'Proceed to SliTaz Installer'.

It took about 2 minutes for it to install and set things up.

Once it has completed select 'Back to installer Start page'.
Close the Installer.

Reboot into Linux Mint

Run Grub Customizer. It will find SliTaz and list it as "SliTaz GNU/Linux distribution (on /dev/sda3)".
Save and Exit Grub Customizer.

Reboot and select "SliTaz GNU/Linux distribution (on /dev/sda3)"

Enter the username and password you chose.
Enjoy using SliTaz

That is the whole procedure. Excluding downloads the whole procedure from start to finish took a little over 45 minutes.

Things Not Mentioned But Worth Mentioning

After resizing the initial /dev/sda1 partition down to  100GB I did a few boot/reboots of Linux Mint. This is not entirely necessary but I had read a while back that it was a good idea just to check things were working fine before proceeding.

When running Grub Customizer to add the SliTaz entry it may be necessary to adjust the default timeout so that the Grub menu shows long enough to make a selection. This was not done by me because it is a test machine and has the timeout already set to 60 seconds. Pressing enter starts the boot of selected entry you do not have to wait 60 seconds obviously.

SliTaz is like all Linux distributions and may need some tweaking once installed. In my case there was an issue with the network driver (Broadcom). Something I am used to with this particular test machine. So, if in doubt before installing SliTaz play around with the Live CD before doing the installation.

As mentioned it does not have to be Linux Mint. It doesn't have to be SliTaz either although installation instructions for other distributions will vary.

And once you have that complete you can then go on to multi-boot setups with various Linux distributions. I have one test drive that has 6 different Linux distributions and Windows 7 setup on it.

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