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Old 3rd March 2003, 14:30   #14
Mostly Harmless
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 2,319
I've dual-booted Linux and Windows for years, but I always seem to carry on using Windows. Windows just works, linux seems to always need something tweaking. Case in point: I bought a little USB CompactFlash drive a few months back. On Windows you just plug it in and it recognises it. In Linux you have to patch the kernel because for some odd reason that model isn't included in the supported devices list. Then recompile. Then reboot, and if you're lucky you'll only have to reboot once.

Linux is great fun to fiddle with - however far you get you'll learn something, but don't expect it to be fast and easy to configure. Some of the newer distributions are like that on the surface, but if you use them for any length of time you'll have to delve into the command-line.

As for Gentoo, it's great for those with a lot of patience, but the 48-hour installation time isn't for the faint of heart. It's fun - I'm running it at the moment, but it's just about to be replaced with Debian because I don't have time for recompiling everything.

Lindows is widely regarded by the open source community as a bit of a gimmick - their claims that it can run Windows software, and what's inferred by the name, will no doubt leave unsuspecting users of it with a bad taste in their mouth about linux in general. It's not able to run all Windows software, and they're trying to infer that it's an all-out alternative for Windows, which it isn't. I think this is more or less true for all Linux OSes - don't consider them as an alternative to Windows, because they aren't.

For a new user, I'd recommend Mandrake or Lycoris. Alternatively go with a CD-booting distro like Knoppix or the Gentoo LiveCD (which doesn't require you to compile it ), which won't touch your hard drive at all, and are fairly well-featured.

For long you live and high you fly, but only if you ride the tide, and balanced on the biggest wave you race towards an early grave.
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