Zfsbootmenu multi distro

I have a Debian 12 install with ZBM, but I struggle to understand how can I add multiple distro to this.

Do I just create a new child datasets under the root pool and install from a live image into the new mounted datasets, or generate an install with ext4 and rsync the data to the new dataset. Then give it the zfs flag so that ZBM picks it up?

I am assuming then the same needs to be done for home.

Thoughts welcome! and practical example would be appreciated.

Assuming your pool structure looks like this: rpool/ROOT/debian and you wanted to add a Fedora install, you’d do zfs create rpool/ROOT/fedora and then chroot into a Fedora installer and follow the normal instructions from there. No need to monkey around with the boot configs or anything, the ZBM executable will automatically detect anything with the org.zfsbootmenu:commandline property set on it (which is one of the steps you follow while doing the installation).

If you’re not sure how to chroot into the installer, you can also just reboot from a Fedora installer thumb drive after creating the dataset as above–or, reboot into the Fedora installer, install all the ZFS bits into the live environment (as you’ll need to do anyway), then ignore all the partitioning and pool creation bits, and jump straight to the dataset creation. You get the picture.

Thanks Jim, I made it working as you say it’s basically a normal live install chroot / zfs as per guides but just create a new dataset and continue the install in there.

I have a couple of questions, is the commandline property effectively like kernel parameters in grub? org.zfsbootmenu:commandline="quiet"

How can I change the default dataset that boots in ZBM?

I currently have 1 shared rpool/HOME dataset, which gets mounted to /home in every distro, is this a good way of doing it, or should I have separate homes per distro. assume it would be a layour like rpool/ROOT/debian and rpool/HOME/debian. What about dedup? is it a good ideal in a scenario like this.



You can set the default boot dataset from within ZBM itself, at boot time.

I do not recommend sharing /home between multiple distro’s.

I do not recommend dedup at all right now, but that could change in the relatively near future; Allan Jude over at Klarasystems did quite a bit of work on it recently, which I should be performance testing soon.