Multi-boot between ext4 and brtfs?

I’m still using EndeavourOS on a virtual machine and it’s been a pleasant experience so far. But I’m kind of worried when it comes to multi-booting between EndeavourOS and my other installed operating systems.

Currently I have 3 operating systems installed on this machine:

  • Linux Mint 20.x (ext4)
  • Ubuntu 20.x (ext4)
  • Microsoft Windows 10 (ntfs)

If I decide to install EndeavourOS too, will I run into any kind of issue here? Also, what if I try to install EndeavourOS with brtfs? Is that even possible?

It should work fine.

You can install with whatever filesystem you want. They don’t all need to be the same.

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But like what about the bootloader? Will EndeavourOS still use GRUB even on brtfs? I’ve never used brtfs before.

Also, if there’s any extra steps here, please let me know.

Yes.

It isn’t some mystical entity. It is just a filesystem. :wink:

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Grub supports also btrfs, it’s no problem from this side.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Arch_boot_process#Feature_comparison

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I use grub, ext4, and btrfs just fine.

For reference, here is my setup:

  • /dev/sdb1 - /boot/efi - fat32 (for UEFI)
  • /dev/sdb2 - /boot - ext4 (I found using an ext4 boot partition gives me fewer problems in grub when using adanced features in btrfs.)
  • /dev/sdb3 - swap (I’m old fashioned and like swap partitions.)
  • /dev/sdb4 - btrfs - / (I do use subvolumes…)

For some reason, my system wants to boot from /dev/sdb, not /dev/sda. No big deal to me.
I do have a /dev/sda1 partition. It is setup to mirror /dev/sdb4 using btrfs in raid1 mode.

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May I ask why do you say that using an ext4 boot partition gives you fewer problems in GRUB? I’m not sure if it’s what you mean here, but I intend to install EndeavourOS (with btrfs) as the last operating system, meaning it will be the btrfs partition which will manage GRUB on my computer.

Is it more recommended to have an ext4 partition managing GRUB?

It depends. Having an ext4 boot partition will allow things like grub SAVE_DEFAULT to work because then grub can write to btrfs.

However, it will make snapshot booting and snapshot recovery significantly more complicated so you need to choose which is more important to you.

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Before I updated my hardware, I used features btrfs has to make multiple disks act as one volume (similar to LVM). However, GRUB at the time wouldn’t boot into this multiple disk setup unless I moved /boot to a separate ext4 volume.

[Note, this may have been due to my lack of knowledge in configuring GRUB, so it may work.]

Anyway, I’ve kept this arrangement on my current hardware as it is what I’m used to.

For snapshot recovery:

  • I use a pacman hook to backup my /boot partition so that it gets snapshoted. The hook is on the Arch Wiki.
  • If I do a recovery (which I did recently) – I restore the boot partition backup manually after doing the snapshot recovery. (This requires a boot USB, btw.)
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Yes, and this is still kind of confusing to me.

Like the only two reasons I want to go ahead and try btrfs is because of the snapshot capabilities and compression. I’ve never used it before.

Maybe I can install EndeavourOS with btrfs and then reinstall Ubuntu using ext4 and let the Ubuntu ext4 partition manage GRUB?

What do you guys think?

That probably won’t work. Ubuntu’s os-prober probably can’t detect an Arch-based distro.

Even if it could, it wouldn’t help anything. The issue is with the /boot partition where the kernel and initramfs are held.

I think you need to stop overthinking/overplanning everything and just go ahead and do the btrfs install.

So Ubuntu doesn’t recognize Arch-based distros? I didn’t know that. It means invariably that the last OS to be installed has got to be EndeavourOS?

It’s not about overthinking or overplanning, I’m just being cautious. For example, if I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, then I risk breaking my entire system. It’s exactly the reason why I’m trying EndeavourOS on a virtual machine first and asking questions on this forum.

Another issue I have run into in the past is trying to mount a btrfs partition in other distro’s. That may not be a problem, but if you make a configuration change in a btrfs file system, and the system fails to boot, it may be harder to fix. You just cant boot into another OS, mount the partition and edit the configuration.
I stopped using btrfs after that. This may have changed, but better to make sure first.

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Umm…of course you can do that. I have done this many times.

I will most definitely have to simulate the whole multi-boot installation process on a virtual machine first, because I want to learn without breaking anything. I’ve never used btrfs before and people say good things about it.

Any further issues involving EndeavourOS installation with btrfs is welcome.