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Hi all, I have a few questions befor making the decision to add or maybe fully switch to linux from windows, but first ill talk a bit about myself. I am presently learning java and have a bit of a C++ background(I tried to learn C++ a few years ago but was too young and when it came to polymorphism i couldnt understand it and gave up(but now i seem to understand the concepts explained in my book about the java language, im about to start learning how to do GUI, but first im doing a big revision of evrything ive learned))My linux experience is not that great(i fool around on KNOPPIX and thats how i learn)but i have ordered a book to learn red hat9.Anyway here are my questions: -1 I just bought a PC and it comes with some built in software(recovery and backup tools ect...) and the OS, presuming I install linux and partition my hard drive is it easy to keep all this software intact and if i decide to remove linux will it be easy to restore my pc back to its original state. -2(presuming i getr rid of windows) I enjoy playing games on my pc and have done reaserch on playing PC games on linux, I found Cedega and heard it was the most performant but the fact that it costs turns me off is there a way to get it free or for a really small price(under 20 bucks). -2.1 Is there exceptions for Cadega(certain games it wont run) -3 If there is any comon things that i should know before installing linux plese tell me. And what will i gain and/or lose by switcing from windows to linux? Thank you all for your replies, Francis...

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1)It depends on your recovery software. The best thing to do is to make a partition on your harddisk and installing linux there, so you don't touch Windows (try using partition magic).

2)Cedega works, but it has a lot of issues with certain games. Do what most people do: use Windows like a gaming machine, and linux for serius work.
In my personal case, I dont do Windows. I only play open source games or games with Linux port, like Neverwinter Nights.

3)You will gain a LOT. First of all, you will have a real OS :P, an stable work-machine and server. You will have a lot of control over your OS (if you want) and free support from an incredible large community. I recommend you using Ubuntu or Fedora Core 5, and if you are very brave or very stupid (like myself for several years) give Gentoo a try. _Today_ is very easy to use a Linux box, the windows managers are very powerfull (kde, gnome, enlightment) or minimalist (*box, xfce, etc), your desktop even can be in real 3d with xgl extensions (why waiting vista for an amazing desktop if you can have something similar today). You can loose some of your hardware support (creative x-fi soundcards and some digital cameras), but everyday the gap is closing (even Intel has release graphics drivers).

Well, If you have any other question, go ahead and ask ;)

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First, Redhat 9 is old. Really old. The linux experience has improved dramatically (at least in terms of game development) since then. I would suggest Fedora Core 5, as that is what I personally use for all of my development.

In answer to your first question, I would suggest you buy another harddrive (it doesn't have to be big. I have 15 GB. 30 would be more than sufficient). This way, you don't have to run any risks of screwing up your windows install, you don't have to resize any partitions (potentially dangerous). Best of all, you don't have to get rid of Windows. I moved over to using Linux nearly exclusively a couple years ago, but there are still occasions where I find myself wanting to have a Windows install to play games or whatever. Cedega is nice, from what I hear, but why would you want to use it when you can just have a dual-booting system and reboot when you want to play games? It just doesn't make sense. And yes, there are games Cedega can't run.

As for the trade-offs involved, there are many. You'll find yourself in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by applications, but unsure of what most of them do. If you have an nVidia video card, you'll have to do a bit of work on the command line to get a proper driver installed. If you have an ATI video card, I would steer clear of linux altogether, frankly. Their linux support is less than optimal, according to my most recent experience (about 6 months ago). With all that said, I have found very very few things that I cannot do on Linux that I can do on windows. The development environment on linux is certainly more pleasant, in my opinion. On the other hand, there is a bit of a hellish situation when it comes to libraries. If you're looking to install linux, and get right into developing, I doubt you'll be able to do that. There will be a learning curve. You'll need to learn a lot, ranging from how to install libraries and applications, all the way to command line switches for the compiler. There are IDEs that take care of much of this for you, for your own work, but there are still the packages that others distribute that you must install. If you use Fedora Core 5, most things can be taken care of using RPM (not my favorite method, but it works). Other things you will need to install from source. Generally that just involves:
./configure
make
<become root>
make install

You'll have to get used to the concept of the root user, as well. One of the first things that I suggest you learn is how to use pirut/yum. They will make your life so much easier.

To put it in a nutshell... unless you're comfortable with taking up to 6 months to learn what you're doing, I don't recommend switching over to Linux. That is not to say that you should not use it, but making a rapid switch over to Linux as a development platform, with little prior experience probably won't leave you many pleasant memories. Getting into it a little bit slower is probably a better idea, and that's why I recommend you buy a seperate harddrive to install it on.

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I wouldn't recommend getting rid of Windows entirely. Rather, I would suggest dual-booting your PC, which means being able to boot up into either Windows or Linux. I say this mostly because commercial games just work better natively under Windows.

I tell you this as a professional Linux developer who works for a Linux distribution. I would love to be able to lose Windows, but the current state of affairs is that if you want to play, Windows is better and if you want to do work, Linux is better.

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Wow some good this is good info., i am now investigating partitioning software and the prices are quite high(bit torrent could be a necessary option) but if there are any good open source or freeware partitioning programs or a good one with a good price.

Keep Posting

Francis...

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Pretty much any install cd comes with a partitioning tool already. Resizing windows partitions can be a bit harder depending on what distro you choose, but I'd assume fedora core has that as well.

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You may consider buying and installing a second harddisk instead of partitioning the original one. This way you avoid problems in case partitioning fails or if the recovery of your windows installation won't work any more because of partitioning.

To start with linux I can recommend to install suse linux (later on you may probably want to switch to gentoo). Suse has a graphical installation, automatically detects the available hardware and is easy to configure. You can downloadthe complete installation dvd from your local suse mirror or get a student version from your local bookstore.

Having grub installed as bootmanager allows dual-boot of windows and linux. During boot, grub reads its configuration from a text file, so you may easily edit what os are available to boot from. This is a nice feature if you want to dual-boot windows and linux, or if you are playing around with compiling your own linux kernel. In case you want to get rid of linux (or windows) later on, you can keep grub as boot manager.

Playing windows games under linux is possible thanks to the wine project. Cedega and crossover office are based on wine. Right now wine supports most of directx 8 and 9. See http://appdb.winehq.org/ for more information. Most games run fine once installed, but installation is complicated because the copy protection does not recognize the original cd. Cedega promises to get rid of those problems. Other games, for instance UT2004, install and run fine as linux application.

BTW another option to installing linux as standalone os is to install it in an emulator like vmware or colinux. Vmware virtualises your pc, so almost any os will run on that virtual machine (even your own self-writter os, if you are willing to write one). Colinux on the other hand provides linux drivers that map to the corresponding windows device. This requires to replace the linux kernel (drivers, memory manager, etc.), but provides increased speed speed compared to vmware. Other emulator similar to vmware are qemu and bochs.

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Better to install Windows in vmware under linux. Then there is no reboot required when/if something crashes. Just kill and restart vmware.

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I have heard of a linux distro called linspire(actually my granfather uses this) and i was wondering how is this and is it worth purchasing?

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Quote:
Original post by 14 year old
I have heard of a linux distro called linspire(actually my granfather uses this) and i was wondering how is this and is it worth purchasing?


no idea, but there's a free version named freespire.

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Quote:
Original post by DAharon
Better to install Windows in vmware under linux. Then there is no reboot required when/if something crashes. Just kill and restart vmware.


As a user of VMware I suggest against this. The problem occurs in the fact that VMware has little to no 3d Acceleration support (though I do believe they are working on it). Also the performance hit will be a serious issue with modern day games.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by 14 year old
I have heard of a linux distro called linspire(actually my granfather uses this) and i was wondering how is this and is it worth purchasing?


Linspire (formerly Lindows) is a derivative of an early version of Xandros, which used to be Corel Linux.

I would suggest if you're interested in a Linux distro aimed at someone familiar with Windows, you stick with Xandros. It's Canadian, so it's got to be good (!), and it's recommended by Jerry Pournelle (for those old enough to remember BYTE magazine).

And, um (truth in advertizing inserted here) they pay me so I'm as biased as you can get. Don't let that stop you from evaluating it on your own terms.

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