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Linux (w/parallel WIN OS) vs WIN vs Mac (w/parallel WIN OS)





killianvillian
I am about to start pricing and planning a computer shift. I have a Windows, and only really feel comfortable with it, compared to when i sit in front of a mac. I have no experience with a linux.

BUt the more i hear about a virtual WIN OS's running on Linux platforms and on Mac platforms, I think it seems kind of backwards to setup anything but a Linux or a Mac and run windows on it.

Aside from comparing Linux version Mac, what are the comparisons of a WINDOWS OS vs. Linux WINDOWS OS vs. Mac WINDOWS OS.

Is there a big difference between them?
tocapa
Well, if you're not comfortable in front of a Mac, then you certainly won't be in front of any Linux distro. That being said, I think just because you don't feel comfortable now doesn't mean you won't get used to it; I mean, obviously if you just switched you wouldn't get the hang of it right off the bat (I didn't and I consider myself pretty good with computers).

What it really comes down to, though, is do you really need Mac OS X or Linux? Chances are unless you're either big on computer graphics or audio and video editing, you'll do perfectly fine with a Windows machine. Linux, on the other hand, is best for people like me, who understand computers better than the average user. Much as I hate Windows, it is perfectly fine for most people, as long as they understand how to be safe.

Another thing to consider about a Mac is that they are much more expensive than equivalent Windows machines; in addition, if you want to install Windows you have to have a copy of it for yourself, which may mean having to buy one. While personally I think Macs are great, I can't just sit here and blindly tell everyone to get one.
ocalhoun
Running a virtual machine will be slower than a physical windows installation.
That will be fine normally (with overpowered hardware), but if you want to play games on it, you'll regret it.

If you want to transition yourself to Linux or Macintosh, then this is a great way to do it: you can still fall back on windows when you need it, but if your only goal is to run windows and play around with the others occasionally, then it would be better to install windows on the physical machine, and run Linux or Mac in the virtual machine(s).
Fire Boar
Or, alternatively, set up your computer in a dual-boot configuration. That's what I did and indeed still have. I occasionally need Windows for some things (about once a month, if that), the rest of the time I just use Linux.

Windows is a bit virulent though. So I'd suggest using a Linux partitioner to split your hard drive depending on what you want (in the Ubuntu live CD, for example, you can press Alt+F2 and type "gksudo gparted" (without quotes) to start the partitioner). You should make the first partition large enough to hold Windows, and have its type set to either FAT32 or NTFS. Leave the other half blank for now.

Then install Windows on the partition you just created, as you would normally.

Once it's installed, then load up your Linux distribution of choice and install it to the empty stretch of hard disk you left. This is very straightforward with modern distributions that focus on user friendliness. Let it install a bootloader (it'll probably do this automatically, the option to do so is always the default) and you're done. When you reboot you'll be presented with a menu asking you which operating system to boot up.
ocalhoun
Fire Boar wrote:

Windows is a bit virulent though. So I'd suggest using a Linux partitioner to split your hard drive depending on what you want (in the Ubuntu live CD, for example, you can press Alt+F2 and type "gksudo gparted" (without quotes) to start the partitioner). You should make the first partition large enough to hold Windows, and have its type set to either FAT32 or NTFS. Leave the other half blank for now.

Then install Windows on the partition you just created, as you would normally.

Once it's installed, then load up your Linux distribution of choice and install it to the empty stretch of hard disk you left. This is very straightforward with modern distributions that focus on user friendliness. Let it install a bootloader (it'll probably do this automatically, the option to do so is always the default) and you're done. When you reboot you'll be presented with a menu asking you which operating system to boot up.

To put it much more simply:
As long as the linux version you're using has a good installer, just make sure you install windows first, and everything should be fine automatically.
I don't really like doing a dual-boot though; switching from one to the other is time-consuming.
froginabox
If you really want to run more than one operating system, I'd suggest dual or triple booting rather than using virtual machines. Yes, I can run Windows and Linux on my Macbook Pro while I run OS X, but it is geared towards multitasking. Really the biggest reason I even do virtualization is for the radio station's automation software - the controls are all Windows-based. Everything else (Adobe software, Microsoft Office, ProTools) is Mac... really I don't see the need to virtualize if you don't need to. Running one at a time is faster.
killianvillian
Thanks everyone for responding with your advice.

I have decided to plunge into a Ubuntu OS and use a virtual machine for my windows needs. I think for my aims its the best this way, because if i do a dual boot, i will have to decide which i want to use at the beginning of my session. Based on habit, it would probably be windows more often than not, and i would quickly fail at my attempt to learn a new way of doing things.

Also, I think if I do a virtual machine, i will be forcing myself to learn things that will eventually ween me off of a windows-based tunnel-vision of how effective it could be to work on other platforms. While this could fall the other way towards trying a Mac OS also, that wont happen right now, since Im not able to buy a new system, only reorganize my current one.

Thanks again, all the advice was helpful in deciding.
killianvillian
Just to update this decision.

I was a little nervous, but I went ahead with the install of Ubuntu Desktop 8.10 using Unetbootin to make a bootable USB.

Basically I spent all day trying to figure out how to make a USB that will boot, so that I can reinstall windows without a cd. My problem is probably pretty common, but my CD drive doesnt work. When all that seemed impossible, and I didnt want to wait to receive an adapter for making a laptop harddrive connect to a standard IDE port, i gave up.

This http://sourceforge.net/projects/unetbootin tool made a bootable USB drive for a linux install pretty quickly. I have only tried for Ubuntu, but it seemed to work on almost any type of Linux distribution. It was also commented on at the Ubuntu site that I would need a working Linux install to make the bootable drive, but it wasnt the case.
Fire Boar
Good luck!
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