i would advice you to get a partition manager and run it in xp to partition
In the bad old days, linux repartitioning tools would sometimes do a sloppy job resizing windows partitions - especially ntfs. This is no longer the case.
GNU parted is quite capable of resizing and repartitioning the HDD. Anyone really worried can use parted magic or similar to resize the XP partition - but always leave the empty space. A-priori, Linux installers are as good or much better at this than propriatory tools.
Mind you - this is besides the stock advise: "never mind XP - erase the entire drive: you'll never regret it!"
I hope Linux Stays Open Source For Ever Now That Sun Has Acquired MySQL The Battle is Almost Lost
What do you mean? MySQL is GPL software. Sun cannot close it or make closed source forks. Instead, derived works will have to be GPL also. This acquisition makes the software world more open, not closed.
(Technically, it is, and always has been, in a mixed license.)