|Originally posted by naiahbingee
what are the pros and cons in havin linux instead of xp and also can i have both
Yes, you can have both, it's called dual boot. Generally, Windows is not too happy about being dual booted, so it doesn't provide a boot loader (except with the Pro editions, and it's sort of hard to ferret out how to enable it) so generally, people wipe their hard drives, partition so that Linux has some space and Windows has some space, and then install first Linux on one partition, then Windows on the other. Linux's boot loaders (lilo
, grub, etc.) can generally boot you into Windows install(s) on your system, and Windows generally is totally oblivious of not being alone on the hard disk.
As for pros and cons, it typically boils down to what you plan to do with your system. If you plan to game, there are a lot of games you can play on Linux (e.g., the Quake
series) but in general, it seems most games come out first for Windows. If you are a designer and use Photoshop constantly, you might find that the GIMP
does the job for you, but it hasn't yet reached Photoshop's level of maturity. If you are doing professional work, then you might find that all of your contacts and colleages work with Excel and MS Word files
, and then you may be out of luck when you try to read and edit those on Linux.
BUT, if you are working with software that is platform independent or has support on Linux - like Web applications, most databases, blogging, email - or if the people you know use GNU
(or other free software tools) - then the advantages Linux offers are:
- No outrageous licensing fees - Most distributions are free.
- Smaller, faster, and more advanced technology than is available in Windows: better memory protection and management, journaling file systems, a modular kernel architecture, etc. This is possible because of the high number of skilled contributors to the code.
- Depending on the version/distro of Linux you choose to install, it can be rock-solid stable and secure, or stocked with all the bleeding-edge innovations in operating system technology, or even sometimes both.
- Command-shell scripting is far more extensible and useful than DOS batch files or AppleScript. With cron jobs, you can schedule and automate almost anything.
- A large and active documentation and support community, giving you recourse for when you are stuck. Some distros also offer support commercially.
- Totally customizable and optimizable, limited only by your knowledge and the time you are willing to devote.
A major obstacle facing Linux is that its market share is smaller, and it doesn't have the leverage to bribe hardware manufacturers to favor them and write drivers. So, a lot of hardware makers don't support Linux, and users have to come along and contribute drivers for new hardware, which can take longer. Some manufacturers do offer official Linux drivers - like ATi and several others (Kudos to them!)
There is also the factor of what you are used to. If you grew up using Windows or Mac OS, then you may never feel quite at home using anything else. Conversely, if you were started on Unix and X Windows, then that would similarly form your basis of comfort. Personally, I started on the Mac and used to be a 'Power User'. Then, I sold my mac and dug into Windows since that's what it seemed like everyone in the business world uses. But, I started to migrate myself to free OS's ever since I was first introduced to Unix in college and learned the power of the command line. True, there is more of a learning curve, and the greater variety of available implementations can make it bewildering to know how to get started. But if you decide to give it a try, good luck! I believe that free software
is the way of the future and that the investment of time and effort would be well worth it.
The impression I have, BTW, is that most people who try Linux have a Windows box, buy a Red Hat disc and throw it on as dual boot, get a kick out of surfing the web on it for a while, and then get tired of booting back and forth and just stay in Windows from then on because it's easiest.
In my view, the best solution right now is to have a Linux box and Windows machine side by side on your desk.