1. Introduction

As a developer, there is occasionally a need to code and/or test programs on multiple Linux distributions. This mini-howto outlines a neat chroot trick that can, in many cases, obviate the need to reboot into different Linux distributions to do testing or development.

In a nutshell, the "trick" is to place all the files from a particular linux distribution into a single directory and then chroot into that directory to develop/test/debug your program. This approach will work provided that:

  1. The kernel version of the "main" or "primary" distribution that you are running is (at least somewhat) compatible with the "secondary" or chroot'ed distributions, and

  2. Your application is primarily user-space (ie. no kernel modules) and does not depend intimately on any particular kernel features (ie. /proc behavior).

1.1. Copyright and License

This document is copyright 2001 by Ed Hill III. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is available at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html.