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pwhitey86 03-21-2006 08:10 PM

linux for a mechanical engineering student??

I am going to grad school for mechanical engineering and I am getting a new computer system. I am debating whether or not I should run linux. I really want to break away from Windows all together so that I don't have to worry about dual booting. I am fairly comfortable with running linux but I am not so sure what the drawbacks would be to running linux over windows.

My biggest worry is application support .. I know there are decent open source clones for Matlab and Maple. In the case of CAD software I am not so sure.

All general insight relative to helping me decide which OS to run is greatly appreciated.

So should I make the switch :Pengy:

tamoneya 03-21-2006 08:15 PM

there are many clones of those programs for linux. Especially for CADing. Take a look at sourceforge.

pwhitey86 03-21-2006 08:35 PM

thanks - i will check them out - hopefully they have file formats compatible with commercial software.

Also .. I plan to get a laptop .. any suggestions .. I am looking at the Dell D810, Lenovo/IBM T43p, and HP nc6230 .. I am looking for a laptop that will be the linux friendliest and of course have plenty of computing power.

And .. distro suggestions also appreciated

again thanks in advance

Matir 03-21-2006 08:47 PM

I like the D810.

As far as applications go, if you find some windows applications you need to run, I'd reccomend using the VMWare Workstation Trial to setup a Windows VMWare image, and then running it (and your application) through the free (as in beer) VMWare Player.

Gato Azul 03-21-2006 09:07 PM

As for which type of computer - I'd HIGHLY recommend the Lenovo Thinkpad. We have all Thinkpads at work (minus one eMachines laptop...yuck :rolleyes: ) and they are NICE. They're really built with the consumer in mind. Linux support is very good on them, especially in SuSE (probably also in other distros, just haven't used any others on the Thinkpads - never had any reason to).

As for running Windows applications - Matir recommended VMware and I'd have to second that. Granted it might not be as speedy as running Windows natively, but if you're not doing extreme number crunching then it's usually fairly tolerable, especially on decently new hardware.

Also, most people don't seem to know this but VMware released their GSX server product for free. Even though it's geared toward servers, it works just fine for workstations. The only thing I've seen different between the server and workstation editions is that the server edition has more features such as remote access to virtual machines. I've been using the beta version for quite some time now without any issues - in fact I've found that VMware betas generally are quite stable. Even after VMware Server goes out of beta it will still remain free, so it's definitely worth checking out:

Hope that helps! :cool:

tamoneya 03-21-2006 09:08 PM

take a look in the HCL they have many reviews on how specific laptops work with linux. Reviewers will tell you what problems you might run into

ethics 03-22-2006 01:54 AM

I'm a mechanical engineer, we use solidworks mostly. I'd love to switch my office over to Linux but Solidworks have no plans to release anything but windows binaries. They just don't have the demand for it, i imagine this is the same for most systems like catia and solid edge, pro engineer might still have a Unix version, i'm not sure.

If you get a laptop that's HW is compatible with both, you can try native windows, and linux with windows under VMWare, see which is most productive.

Electro 03-22-2006 03:56 AM

Sager's 5720 at is much better because the video card has the power to handle geometric objects when doing huge CAD projects. Yes, it can run Knoppix, so it should run any Linux distribution. Include nopcmcia at the boot loader screen so it does not have any problems booting up.

A good CAD program is quickcad.

I always recommend VMware instead of using WINE and Crossover Office.

Khalinsar 03-22-2006 07:32 AM

Matlab, Maple and Pro-E have linux versions.

pwhitey86 03-22-2006 12:12 PM


Originally Posted by ethics
If you get a laptop that's HW is compatible with both, you can try native windows, and linux with windows under VMWare, see which is most productive.

Good suggestion .. has anyone had experience running a program such as SolidWorks with VMWare .. if not I'll try to post back after I compare SW on Windows native vs. Windows via VMWare

ethics 03-22-2006 12:35 PM

Let me know on your results, i'd REALLY be interested if it turns out ok

pwhitey86 03-23-2006 10:17 PM

any thoughts on the HP dv5000t .. ie for use with linux

noob aside: do you have to get a special kernel for an intel duo :Pengy:

prozac 03-24-2006 12:42 AM

vmware Workstation 5.5 is as good as any-if you have plenty or RAM. otherwise plan for plenty of RAM-you will need it. i have oracle db server running inside my vm box and so far its doing good for my personal use. i definitely recommend using vmware than running wine or crossover-separates your native os from your guest os. keep a fresh copy of guest os (i.e windoz) with everything you need freshly installed. it comes very handy-take my word for it.

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