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We haven’t tried it yet so I won’t be able to provide a definitive answer, however, I don’t see any inconvenient with that. I would suggest you to try and post your results in the Community. It sounds pretty interesting.
I have tried it and it is possible. The main issue you will run into is disk space, depending on what else you have installed. What I did to address that was install a Flash drive and have it mount on /opt. There was an issue however with automount at boot not working for some reason... hopefully just a beta issue with Ubuntu. But for dev tools that can be worked around since you can manually mount the drive when you need the tools.
And yes, under Ubuntu, the desktop version. Other Linux distributions (Ostro, Ubuntu Core) may not/probably won't work.
BTW the "mounting a flash drive" does not really help much with the disk space issue as the dev tools install still pulls in a lot of dependencies that don't end up in /opt, a general issue with Linux. If the Ubuntu install was using LVM I would extend the logical partition across multiple physical drives... but it's not, and unfortunately the Ubuntu installer for Joule does not give you any options on which drive to install it or whether or not to use LVM. I think you could clone a working install (a recipe for that was given on another thread) and move it over to a bigger USB stick, and/or convert to LVM using a LiveUSB boot, but that's a lot of trouble to go to.
Anyhow, extending the filesystem space is a separate topic, I just wanted to clarify that my suggestion (mounting a USB stick or SD card on opt before installing the tools) is not really a complete and general solution to the filesystem space issue.
I intend to give some feedback to Canonical regarding filesystems options in their installer. Fortunately, if they did a few things differently it would make this a lot easier. The regular installer rather than (or in addition to) an OEM installer, for instance, and I would hope they will do that once the beta testing is over.