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To Linux or Not To Linux? That is The Question...

Should I Migrate My Operating System From XP To Linux?

Our Pcs at home are old. You know you're behind the times when there's a sticker on your pc that says "Designed For Windows 95"! Despite this, our 2 Hewlett Packard Vectra VLs do well running XP. They've been maxed out to 512 mb of RAM each, one running a 40gb Hard Drive (the biggest they can use) and one running 2 40gb drives. Both have cd burners and PCI graphics cards running 17" monitors.

So what's the problem? They're both starting to run very slow. I installed XP about 3 years ago, so despite defragging and clean-ups they both really need wiping and starting again. A clean install is a nightmare job - writing down all the settings, copying all the files to cd-roms, etc. Even if I use the other one to save files, it will still take at least a day.

So I was thinking, why not give Linux a go? If I'm going to start again with a fresh operating system, maybe Linux is the way to go. Time to do some research!

Linux is a development of Unix, an operating system that been in use since the late 60's. Unix is strong on security and stability, hence why it is used on most of the worlds web servers.

Linux takes Unix and makes an operating system for the home user. Its strengths are that it is free, stable, secure, almost virus free, had thousands of free programmes and will run on older machines. Did I say that it was free?

There are thousands of different "distros" or distributions, which are different versions of Linux, not all compatible with each other, but the programmes that run on them often are, with the right patches.

Ok, time to sit back and think "is Linux right for me" "is now the right time for Linux?". I'm not sure. Undoubtedly it is a great Operating System, but has it got what I want? This got me thinking about what I mostly use my pcs for, and whether Linux would be compatible.

Surfing the web. Easy. Linux has firefox and many other great browsers, the same for e-mail.

Word-Processing. Linux has Open Office, a great software suite, totally free.

Now the hard ones.

Website creation. I use Dreamweaver, and as far as I can see Dream weaver doesn't work with Linux. This is a big put off for me - DW is a must.

Connectivity. My Pocket PC, Palm and Psion's must all be able to sync with my desktop, but this seems unlikely with Linux.

Speed. To get the features that I enjoy with XP I'd have to get the latest Linux distros, probably Ubunto or Kubunto, but they need highish spec PCs as well, so I wouldn't gain much speed.

The best option seems to be a dual install, XP and Linux, on one pc, so I can try it out without sacrificing all my Windows programmes and device compatibility.

So after all this, will I switch to Linux & ditch the big M? Call back in a couple of months and I'll write about how I've got on.

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