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I am considering moving from Ubuntu to another Linux distribution, most likely Fedora. I'm generally familiar with classic command line tools, and I'm comfortable using both of these distributions, and I've got some general ideas how to proceed. I'm looking for criticism of the approaches I have in mind, tips, or hidden gotchas.

My current system is a dual-boot system, with Windows 7 on a separate hard drive; GRUB2 boots to Ubuntu 11.10 by default. On the drive I use for Ubuntu, I have four partitions: the swap partition, a partition mounted at /, a partition mounted at /home, and another partition containing VM images.

The provisional plan I have is something like this:

  1. Using a LiveCD with Gparted, reduce the size of the /home partition and the VM image partition to a bit more than the size of the used space, and move them to the end of the drive.
  2. Delete the partition that was mounted at /, which includes /boot, /bin, /usr, etc. Possibly delete the swap partition as well, since it's trivial to recreate it.
  3. Install Fedora (or possibly a different Linux distribution) in the unused space, using LVM.
  4. After configuring the new Linux installation and creating user accounts, mount the old /home partition at some temporary mount point, and copy over stuff like /home/[user]/Documents, but not things like .bashrc that will just confuse matters. Likewise, copy over the VM images.
  5. After some time has passed and I'm sure I haven't missed any files I want, delete the old /home partition and add that space to the new one via LVM tools.

Criticisms? Tips? Warnings?

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Better safe than sorry I suggest you make a full backup of your most important files to an external media, which is not connected to the machine while you are doing the changes. Deleting and specially re-sizing partitions is a risk, not a high one but things can go wrong.

I would definitively keep a copy of the old system /etc as well is probably some if not all /var to look in old configuration files for hints reconfiguring the new system.

Im not sure what you keep on the home partition, but if no useless stuff, I would just mount the old home partition under the new system in /home mountpoint and chown -R /home/username to set correct uid and gid. I do not think .bashrc would confuse anything unless you have some settings in there very specific to the old system. Depending on your window manager .gnome or .kde can disrupt more. You can easily overcome these anyway by renaming them before X (re)starts.

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