Well there might be something you can do! AND IT’S FREE!
As most of you know there is more than one Operating System that you can choose from. The Marketing Department at Microsoft has done a great job of shoving Windows down our throats while treating Mac users as Artsy Nerds and Linux users as Freaks n Geeks. But guess what? Apple has come a long way(I heart my iMac) AND:
Linux is blowing up & it’s Free!
There’s plenty of websites that can justify it’s use better then me, such as Why Linux is Better. I like it because it’s free and will pretty much run on anything you have sitting around.
* Another great feature about Linux is the Live CDs that alot of Distros have now. You can try Linux for real without even needing to touch your hard drive, without harming your existing Windows install!
A Live CD works the following way :
* Download a CD image, called an .iso or ISO, from the web (Links to Live Distros at the end of this article).
Burn the ISO onto a blank CD.
* Put the CD in your CD drive, and reboot. Almost any PC that will turn on should run the Live CD, should(key word). The more RAM the better, since Linux is actually running in the RAM.
* Your computer will boot on the CD instead of booting on the hard drive (where Windows is), and will not install anything, unless you decide to install.
* If your computer still boots Windows (the CD doesn’t seem to have any effect), then your BIOS configuration needs adjusted: you need to set the boot order to first scan the CD, and then the Hard Drive. You can access the BIOS by typing “Del” or “F2” while booting and look for the boot order. The directions for maneuvering thru the BIOS are usually listed along the border of the screen. If not just watch at Bootup for the BIOS ID and google your BIOS for explicit directions. But you will probably not even need to do this, so stop sweating it.
* And voilà, Linux runs on your system, you can test it and see how you like it! Don’t worry if the system seems a bit slow right now: it takes some time to load everything from the CD. Your Linux system will be much quicker once actually installed on your hard disk.
*Linux has a huge support base too. You can always google the problem. Almost any issue that you might have, someone has already had it, searched it, solved it and most likely left info on how to fix it. Tons of info is located in Forums, IRC chatrooms and many web sites.
Another interesting note about Linux: Almost everything made for Linux is programmed by enthuisists, like homebrewers making beer. Not to say that there aren’t any company’s developing Linux software, like brewery’s make beer. But, there is a huge base of developers working on their own time to make these various projects happen.
Licensing in Linux also allow you to make adjustments to the software or distribution, repackage and distribute under any other name(pretty much).
So, where can you download those CD images ? There are a lot of Linux Live CDs available on the web ! How do you choose? Well I usually goto Distro Watch and look at the right column where the Ranking is located. I’m going to recommend a couple that have a lot of support and that are fairly popular. There are hundreds to choose from, literally. I have installed probably over 20 of them, just for fun, haha.
* Ubuntu– Is dedicated to making Linux easy<>
* PCLinuxOS – I’m typing this on a PCLOS install right now, i like it alot.
* Fedora – One of the oldest and best supported
Ubuntu is blowing up right now. Probably a good first Distro for you, with a great Starter Guide to help you out.