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I currently have FC3 Linux which installed itself on the hard disk using LVM partitioning, so it is basically all one big partition. I would like to try some other distributions and upgrade to something newer, but don't want to lose my current capabilities and data files, and I know nothing or less about LVM.

Is it possible (and if so an example would be nice) to install a non-LVM-based distribution on the LVM disk and have multi-boot options? Or do I have to start over new and drop the LVM?

My guess is that I should save my /home (data files and .rc files) on a backup device first, then somewhere/somehow create a new partition for installing another distribution. Any LVM experts out there that have tried anything like this--well I sure could use some pointers and advice...

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Distros are not "LVM-based". Either they support / on LVM, or they do not. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Dec 27 '10 at 4:06

It's possible, but a bit complicated. Basically, for each Linux distribution you've to create a separate logical volume for storing the root file system. You'll also need a separate logical volume for /home so that it can be shared between different installations. The main issue with this approach is to get boot loader working for both distributions. You've to do it by hand for the second distribution (i.e. copy kernel and initrd images to the /boot partition of the first distribution).

If you just want to try out different distributions then alternative is to install them in a virtual machine, such as VirtualBox.

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