I was wondering if it is possible to have three operating systems on my machine -- namely Windows, Linux and Solaris -- and then have an option while booting. If the answer is in the affirmative, I would like to know the following things:
- What will the cost involved be, apart from the basic cost of the operating systems?
- Will I need an external boot agent or would LILO of Linux solve that problem?
- What specifications does my computer need to have, in terms of memory, storage space, etc.?
- How would I go about doing it?
- How can I know if my disk is already partitioned? And if it is partitioned, do I need to remove it?
Multibooting is usually best done with a third-party utility (such as BootIt Next Generation) that has been designed to be aware of all the operating systems you have loaded into the machine. LILO itself may not be enough, as it cannot automatically detect any changes to partitions and reconfigure itself to match. You will need at least one logical partition for each operating system you plan to install; some operating systems, such as Linux, may require more than one (in Linux's case, one for the OS and one for swap space).
Note that you need to be careful about operating systems that use the same partition type, such as Solaris and Linux -- if you install both of those on the same machine, the Solaris partition will often be damaged if you boot Linux. Sun has documentation about how to get around this problem on their site.
This was first published in October 2002