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I want some advice on how to make the partition for Arch Linux and FreeBSD. I want the two systems to share a swap partition, but I don't know if it can work. And I also want a partition to share data between them. Any ideas?

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migrated from Apr 17 '12 at 21:02

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The native filesystem for linux is ext(2/3/4), for freebsd, ffs, which linux supports as ufs. If the correct modules are present, you should be able to mount the bsd partition via mount -t ufs ... WRT swap, have a look at: – goldilocks Apr 17 '12 at 15:07
cant the partition be just fat32 ? – user36582 Apr 17 '12 at 15:12
Linux can mount fat32, but I don't know if having it live there will be very good. Archlinux almost certainly does not have an install option for this, so if you want to try it, you're going to have to work around that, which will not be easy. My advice: DON'T. Why do you want to use fat32 anyway? – goldilocks Apr 17 '12 at 15:18
But … the swap partition isn’t a filesystem, so most of the above is moot, right? – Scott Apr 12 '13 at 17:56

1 Answer 1

I want the two systems to share a swap partition, but I don't know if it can work.

Easy. Use fdisk to make the swap area into a separate slice -- not partition. That way, all operating systems will see the area: FreeBSD as something like ada0s1, Windows -- as D:, Linux -- as whatever its conventions.

Then, in FreeBSD you can just swapon on the entire slice. In Linux you'll have to first explicitly mark it as a swap -- a safety feature. And on Windows too you'll need to quick-format the "drive" before telling the OS to use it to host the page-file.

As for sharing the data partitions, both Linux and FreeBSD can read each other's filesystems in theory. In practice, however, the undestanding is limited to the old(er) formats with default parameters. For example, a FreeBSD filesystem created with newfs -O1 should be accessible from Linux. But if you use the UFS2 (-O2 is the default for newfs now), or if you use the non-default values for block- or fragment-sizes, Linux will fail.

Similarly, FreeBSD's access of ext2 and ext3 has plenty of caveats -- and raiserfs does not have even a rudimentary support.

If you only need some of the files shared (such as the /home), make that a separate slice too and use a filesystem, that's well enough understood by all the OSes you need. Which one, probably, depends on which OS you'll be using most often.

That all said, I hear, support for ZFS on Linux is finally there. Maybe, you can use that superiour filesystem from both OSes on the same slice? Now that'd be cool!

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