nickdanger wrote:Hope it is OK to add my comments:
I have a 64bit box with two SATA connected hard drives that are identical except for their serial numbers. I only load one OS per drive, and I switch between the two operating systems, by changing the boot device in the system BIOS settings at startup. Not sure if this is an "approved" method, but it has always worked. Usually one drive has my "Sabayon Stable Install" and the other has something I am experimenting with, like a "Sabayon Daily Release." For example, I had Sabayon 4.0 G-64, working on sda and I installed Sabayon 5.1 G-64 on sdb with no problems, and could switch between the drives when I booted the PC by entering the BIOS setup screen and selecting the drive I wanted to boot from. I must have done 15 fresh installs this way. When I installed Sabayon daily 5-8-2010 G-64, from DVD to sdb, it trashed my Grub on sda. This is not of great concern, because I rsync everything to my server, and nothing was lost, so i did not waste much time troubleshooting the bootloader. I used the 5-8-2010 daily release until the 5-22-2010 G-64 daily release was mirrored, and then I loaded it on to sda. I checked the previous version install on sdb and found that once again Grub was trashed. In each case, I verified the DVD burn against the MD5 posted. In each case, the installer displayed both sda, and sdb (including their unique serial numbers) as being available to be mounted, but I only selected the one drive I was installing to. The installer always picked the correct location to install the bootloader, so I went with the default both times.
Next install, I will disconnect the SATA cable for the unmounted drive, before doing a new install, because Anaconda must have a problem with the way I have my system set up. Now that I know about it, I can accommodate it easily.
Please do not read this as a complaint, I know exactly what "bleeding edge software" is, and I would not try it if I did not enthusiastically support your efforts. I just wanted to add what little information I could. If you need a pastebin of my hardware setup let me know.
Although it is somewhat time consuming, the way you are selecting your boot drive, it's not a bad way to go. However, I've always depended on the assistance of a boot loader application. But as time goes on, this is getting much more difficult. The complexities are expanding. And much more knowledge has to be gathered by the user. My experiences with Grub lately, have been abysmal! Needless to say, it's knocked my attitude down a few notches. Similar to you, I also have separate hard drives for each OS. And my box is also a 64-bit machine. My concern is if you system is a box, and not a laptop, and you physically unplug the plug from the rear of the un-selected drive, those plugs are designed for only a few yanks. It will break on you. And they also become loosely connected with frequent manipulation. If you don't want to use a permanently installed Grub in your system, to select the hard drive(s), perhaps you wouldn't mind using one of those SDG CDROMS. The program can be installed into a floppy, or a USB flash drive, or in a CDROM. Once you've selected your hard drive, the CD can be removed from the disk drive, 'till your next bootup. Or, if you don't need the CD player, then it can stay there.
I was amazed yesterday, when I downloaded SDG, and burned, it, then tried it. It did what I couldn't do! It picked out and made alive any hard drive that I selected. It will do it even if the MBR or Grub is borked. Trouble is, I'm not satisfied until the boot loader will be working as it should be. I don't really want to be tied to an external CDROM for my booting purposed, even though it does an amazing job!