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Old 06-27-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
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Please convince me to use Linux

I've Googled reasons to use Linux and I'm here as a last resort. I've never actually used a Linux os but I'm already impressed by the security, customization, support, and small size. Unfortunately I like games. I know about programs like Wine and the hundreds of native Linux games but that isn't enough. I have been researching Linux for days now and would hate for this one fault (inability to play many games)to turn me away from such a lovely os.

Dual-booting seems like my only option atm but I don't have enough knowledge about Linux to understand the capabilities of this option. It would seem that if I am going to constantly be using a Windows OS to play games Linux would become little more than a section of unusable HDD space.

With ^ said, is Linux just not for me or am I overlooking something?
Old 06-27-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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Linux isn't for everyone. If you're an avid gamer, Windoze might be the right OS for you. There's not much (IMHO) Windoze is good for...well, the install disks make nice coasters. But games is one area Windoze might have an edge.

You could also try running Windoze in a virtual machine like VirtualBox instead of dual booting. That's what my kids do and they're happy with it.
Old 06-27-2009, 06:06 PM   #3
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Unfortunately I like games.
Well, you can buy a console, PS3, PSP, Wii, DS, XBOX360, iPhone...
Old 06-27-2009, 06:46 PM   #4
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My primary reason for using Linux is because it is not Windows. I don't like having everything dependent on one OS. Linux is like my spare tire and I use it to stay proficient just like one should put air in a spare tire on occasion.

I've found that Linux is faster at some things. I've gotten in the habit of using it for web browsing, music and video because it has very good applications for those.

Some Windows programs that I like run in Linux using WINE. Examples are Eudora E-Mail and mIRC chat client. Other programs such as Windows Live Messenger have Linux equivalents like aMSN.

I use VirtualBox to run Windows as a virtual PC in a Linux window. I can also combine the Linux and Windows desktops so that both task bars are stacked at the bottom.

Games are really the main issue and that isn't completely solved by virtual machine programs. Most VM's don't support Direct 3D (the Windows 3D acceleration). So it may make more sense to run Linux in a virtual machine in a Windows window.

There are some things possible with Linux that are not possible with Windows. Windows limits the number of clients that can access a computer and home versions of Windows do not support server applications for Windows. Linux does not impose any arbitrary limits on using the PC as a server and only the performance of the hardware limits that.

Linux can be easily moved (or cloned) between computers and that may be helpful if one needs to get computers up and running quickly with a known set of applications.

Linux will run completely from RAM without a hard disk, and without leaving a boot CD in the drive. That can be useful to create rescue disks and other tools to recover from problems. The closest you can come to that with Windows is either the Recovery Console/Setup CD or a custom made Windows PE CD. Either of those must be left in the drive the entire time that the computer is booted. That makes writing DVDs out of the question if there is only one DVD drive.

Linux does not impose any arbitrary requirements to update the OS or applications. Open source software tends to be more backward compatible and one is not forced to buy new applications just to upgrade the OS.

Linux fully supports the capabilities of the hardware. For example, 32-bit versions of Linux support the full 64GB of memory provided by 32-bit CPUS (since around 1990). Windows has never supported more than 4GB on 32-bit versions because it would affect sales of Windows Server (that does support more than 4GB). Now Windows 64-bit is being marketed as the solution to the memory limitation and that makes money for Microsoft upgrading 32-bit versions of Windows. In fact 32-bit versions of windows could, and should have supported 64GB of memory starting with Windows Vista since the driver model was redefined. With Windows you get what Microsoft wants to sell you not what your hardware can support.

Linux gives you choices about the user interface. You can have a lean and simple or full featured desktop environment and you can select that when you log in to Linux. Windows does things the way Microsoft wants and that is even more true with Vista and Windows 7 than it was with XP. Linux gets more customizable and flexible as software is improved. Windows gets changed to look different and difficult features are simply stripped out to meet schedules rather than putting them in the new version of Windows. Eye candy replaces features that make the OS more useful and convenient since those features don't add to the sales appeal of the product.

The last two versions of Windows (Vista and Windows 7) are a blatant and shameless attempt to sell flash instead of substance. A few new features were added but many more useful features from Windows XP were removed. For example, Windows XP allowed customizing the folder toolbars with the buttons that one wanted. The only reason for those two versions of Windows is to have something to sell.

Linux does not have to be constantly sold to make a profit and changes are not made simply for the sake of having something new to sell.

When I have strange problems in Windows, Linux provides a way for me to prove my hardware and perhaps do the job at which Windows failed. I can have more confidence that the problem is a software problem and not faulty hardware. I can get things done even when something in Windows breaks. As a good example, while I was traveling Windows suddenly refused to perform dial-up on my laptop. If it hadn't been for Linux on my laptop I would have been unable to access e-mail through dial-up. I did eventually fix Windows, but meanwhile that didn't interrupt my work.

The quality of Windows applications is getting increasingly worse. That's partly because companies rush to release a new version every single year to make more money. Linux applications keep getting better because things are released when they are ready, not because money has to be made.

For me those are enough reasons to want Linux. Linux doesn't replace Windows, but Windows also doesn't replace Linux. I've found that Linux can do at least 90% of what Windows can and often does it better.
Old 06-27-2009, 07:13 PM   #5
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If i were to dual boot a windows os and probably Ubuntu, how much space should i give the linux partition? The hdd is 320 gigs and I like my UI to be very clean so there wont be many programs for the linux partition (at least initially). And would it be possible to start the Linux partition small, say 20gig, and later increase the partition size without reformatting?

Ty for the speedy and incredibly detailed responses. This isn't the first forum i tried but it is def. the best.
Old 06-27-2009, 07:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by G.Freeman View Post
If i were to dual boot a windows os and probably Ubuntu, how much space should i give the linux partition? The hdd is 320 gigs and I like my UI to be very clean so there wont be many programs for the linux partition (at least initially). And would it be possible to start the Linux partition small, say 20gig, and later increase the partition size without reformatting?

Ty for the speedy and incredibly detailed responses. This isn't the first forum i tried but it is def. the best.
20 gigs is more than enough, Debian on my eeepc is only 1.8gigs. It depends on what desktop environment and other apps you install.

You might even try wubi.
Wubi - Ubuntu Installer for Windows

Or just install vmware or virtual-box and install ubuntu in one of them.
Old 06-27-2009, 07:36 PM   #7
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Yes, your partition can be resized at any time. Don't worry, linux can handle ntfs so you can use your windows partition to store data that should be accessible to both systems.
Old 06-27-2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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I won't be able to use Wubi because the comp I'm going to Linux hasn't actually been made yet. The parts should be at my house sometime mid next week. I've heard that installing a windows OS first can cause problems.

Jay73, nice sig.

Now that i know the Linux partition can be resized, could the same be said for the Windows partition? I've never dual booted a comp before and am unsure whether the OS would effect the partition being able to be resized. For example, if craigevil is right and i make my linux partition too large, after reducing the linux partition size would i be able to add the extra space to the windows partition or would it be stuck as a third?

Edit: thank you everyone for the help. I'm now pretty sure that I'll be using linux at least part time on my new comp.

Last edited by G.Freeman; 06-27-2009 at 08:35 PM.
Old 06-27-2009, 09:54 PM   #9
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Yes, Windows partitions can be resized. Windows Vista and Windows 7 both make this easy to do in the disk manager. Depending on what I'm doing with a Linux install, I usually allocate between 20-30GB for Linux. And, I've never decided to shrink a Linux partition.

Also, installing Windows first is the recommended course of action. Windows never has played nice being second, and hates having other operating systems installed on the system.
Old 06-27-2009, 09:58 PM   #10
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I second armanox's suggestion. If you're going to dual-boot, you'll be much better off installing Windows first. Because Windows doesn't play nice with others ... but Linux (if second in the gate) will.
Old 06-27-2009, 10:42 PM   #11
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You may also want to format your Linux partition using 128-byte inodes so that you can use the free ext2ifs driver in Windows to access your Linux partitions. The default for most distros is now 256-byte inodes. You format the partition manually to do that.

mke2fs -j -I 128 /dev/hda2

Replace the "hda2" with the correct device name for your Linux partition. Do this after you create the partition. You can leave off the "-j" if you don't want ext3 (journaling) and want ext2 (no journaling).

There are many on-line tutorials for dual-booting. You can either have the Windows or Linux boot loader start first but it's easier to install if the Linux boot loader starts first (you install Linux last).
Old 06-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #12
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Ty for the correction about which OS to install first.

Erik FL, I'm probably confusing this with something else but wouldn't reducing to 128 bytes limit the maximum file size? I had this problem with a FAT32 file system(I think) where i was unable to save a file larger than x(i think 4gb or the file i was unable to save was 4gb which was larger than the max file size). IF what i wrote in parenthesis doesn't make sense ignore it as it is kinda irrelevant.
Old 06-28-2009, 05:43 AM   #13
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I have used the ext2fsd driver in Windows to read ext3 filesystems. It did not require any special formatting options.
Old 06-28-2009, 07:18 AM   #14
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@ G.Freeman

I first installed linux to dual boot with XP. I used to have the same issue as you have now - I love games, and that was the only reason I kept Windows. When I installed wine, I had to configure it to run some games and most of the games I could on the existing ntfs drive I had for windows, and some other games I had to reinstall on linux but I moved my save files and such. Now, I repartitioned my NTFS drive, all my games on moved to my other drives are running almost perfectly and most of them even faster than on windows. Hell even steam works. Although now I am having difficulties with my 3D support after I upgraded my linux OS, I'm really close to fixing it though. I would recommend you to keep windows for a while, play with linux and try wine on it with different configurations for your programs and games so you are sure they are supported. The UI on linux can be uncomfortable ( It was for me ) at first, but after a couple of days you will be as comfortable with it as you are with windows. If everything works, you can get rid of windows - but, of course, copy your games, documents, user folder and other important files to your local ( or other linux drive ). As for the programs, there are so many free, and sometimes better alternatives for linux that you will rarely use wine for such programs.

One of the things I really love about linux is that everything is not as dependent to each other as it is in windows, so if your GUI crashes, which is as rare as in windows or maybe even more rare, you don't have to reboot and close all your programs.

Good luck!
Old 06-28-2009, 07:44 AM   #15
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I would use a 'VM' instead of 'WINE'. The 'VM' will be better than a emulator. I prefer 'VirtualBox' as my 'VM'. You could use the new machine as a host to whatever client OS you wish to install to your 'VM'.

This link and others are available from 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!


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