Linux or Windows

  DrScott 10:37 19 Dec 04

I'm thinking of building a desktop PC sometime in the new year, and have always traditionally used Windows. The problem is, given how much XP costs, it's almost cheaper just to buy a ready made desktop rather than build my own. So I'm thinking of migrating to Linux with a GUI. My questions are

a) is this a good idea?
b) is it that complicated to learn how to use linux?
c) is there a good amount of software (e.g. office stuff) to use with linux?
d) do any pc games run with linux? (obviously very important!)
e) is there any way, or is it even legal, to transfer the OEM version of XP Pro onto a desktop?

Any advice would be more than gratefully received! I do have some experience with computers, so not nec looking for the most 'user friendly' system, and don't mind a relatively steep learning curve :)


  Forum Editor 11:08 19 Dec 04

a) That's a subjective decision, and only you can answer it. It's certainly worth exploring Linux, provided your first experience of it isn't gained on your primary computer - it's the ideal second-computer O/S, at least until you have familiarised yourself with it.

b)No - not unduly so.

c)Earlier this year IBM announced that they were working with Microsoft to produce a Linux version of MS Office, but that was promptly denied by Microsoft. Sun systems make Star Office 7 which is touted as the world's leading Linux-friendly Office suite, and of course there's Open Office, which runs in Linux. Otherwise there's the Code Weavers emulator - called Crossover Office - which has been available for some time.
click here This allows you to run Microsoft Office from within Linux by emulation.

d) There are lots of games which will run in Linux, but developers write primarily for the Windows platform because that's the big market.
click here for pleanty of information about Linux games.

e) No. The OEM licence is for the machine on which the software was first installed, and isn't transferable - it dies when that specific machine dies.

  BIG Ben strikes 10 again! 11:47 19 Dec 04

buy a linux live CD for about 1.50 from click here and see if you like it.i recommend knoppix,with the live CD you don't have to install anything,just insert CD in the cd drive reboot computer,3 minute wait to load tempory drivers,and explore!.all the linux are pretty much the same,but different flavours and apps.but if you like it,explore the various linux flavours.if you want to keep windows where everything is compatible then go for a windowsXPHESP2 for about £70 online (OEM).

  Valvegrid 14:27 19 Dec 04

You could also do the same as what I've done, I've put Windows 98SE on one partition, you should be able to find a cheap one on Ebay, once that is loaded and working OK then load one of the Linux distributions. Linux will give you the option of retaining Windows and will ask how much of the remainder of the disk you want to allocate for it.

I use Xandros v3.0 click here I very rarely use windows now, you can actually run a lot of Windows applications from within Linux for instance MS Office, in fact if you wanted to totally run Linux you can load Windows 98SE under Linux, apparently it runs much more stable than on its own, you have to pay $40 for the software click here

  Valvegrid 14:31 19 Dec 04

I might just add, I can even run IE under Linux and it works! I've removed again because I've already got 4 browsers that comes with Xandros, plus many more I can download.

  BIG Ben strikes 10 again! 15:20 19 Dec 04

hi,this sounds like a really good idea,but can i run Xandros and then use your $40 software to load windowsXP?.cheers.ben

  DrScott 16:26 19 Dec 04

Thank you all for your advice! I like the idea of testing linux on a secondary device, so will probably try it on my laptop, and see if I can get to grips with it. I knew about running the two OS on different partitions of the HD, so will also try that. But I'm very encouraged that Linux is no longer just limited to those running servers :)

In my innocence, I didn't quite realise you could buy an OEM license for a personal computer... and there was me considering paying £276 odd for the full XP discs! Thank you Big Ben for saving my bank balance.

What a merry christmas!

  Valvegrid 17:11 19 Dec 04

I don't think so, but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if its possible now or in the near future. Although CodeWeavers reckon Wine will be compatible with 95% of all Windows applications by the end of 2005, so why bother with XP on Linux anyway?

click here

  BIG Ben strikes 10 again! 17:40 19 Dec 04

what is the linux application 'wine' if i click it a cursor comes up with a wine glass and does nothing it an emulator or something?.cheers

  BIG Ben strikes 10 again! 17:42 19 Dec 04


  Valvegrid 17:55 19 Dec 04

I can see my 'click here' in Linux :-) No its not an emulator.

Basically what it does is to set-up a fake Windows folder system on the Linux partition which contains all the basic file elements that applications require to run. They run really well, I've tried different applications, MS Office works really well, as does several others. I've been experimenting, I find if you can import the programs and find what Windows files are required to run them, it works. It seems you need to import the correct DLL files, which can be quite time consuming if you have a look at the number of DLL's in the system files.

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