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Windows - Linux Dual Boot: What is Linux

Image couresy of DoodleADayDual booting Windows and Linux isn't as much trouble as you would imagine. In fact it's a piece of cake.

I've been a dual Windows/Linux user for as long as I can remember. I prefer the flexibility of Linux but I still need to use Windows because it's 'the norm'. Everyone else has Windows so I need to have it as well. But it's more than just that - it's also that a lot of great software is Windows only software.

With Linux you get free and open source at the heart of things. Almost everything is changeable to how you like it, it's modified and improved by thousands of people and in a very organic 'let's make it better for everyone' kind of way.

Windows needs little explanation  If you've used a PC you've probably used a version of Windows, in fact your probably using it now! Windows is by far the most popular desktop operating system. Windows 8 has been released but currently there are still more people using Windows 7. I'm still using Windows 7 on the laptop I'm writing this on now.

What is Linux

With Windows you know what your getting and you know how it will work but that's not exactly true of Linux. The normal thing people say to me when I tell them I use Ubuntu Linux as my primary operating system is:

"Isn't that just a black screen that you type commands into?"

And that is most certainly not the case. Linux has a full graphical interface, just like Windows. Actually there are quite a few of them for you to choose from if one day you decide you don't like the default look and plenty of awesome dynamic wallpapers for you to choose from. The unity desktop is the current default Ubuntu desktop, and it's the one I use.

There's everyday programs for browsing the internet, reading email, and listening to your music but you can also work with ISO files or PDF's on linux too. Heck there's even a pretty far advanced official Ubuntu for Android project bringing desktop level power and functions together with mobile phone levels of portability.

Linux comes in an abundance of flavors (and that's not a typo, they are actually called flavors lol). My personal flavors of choice are Ubuntu or openSUSE for a desktop and CentOS for servers. One of the best things of all about these operating systems is that there is absolutely no licence fee for any of them - which makes them perfect for any enterprise solution requiring many licences to run. 1000 Windows 8 licences for a large office building would cost a a lot money.

Ubuntu is my primary operating system of choice. It's the most popular version of Linux and it's the most supported, and like I said it's completely free, but it is backed by a commercial entity by the name of Canonical. They pay engineers and staff to build and support their free open source software, sure they do make money by other means but their software is great, well supported, has decent tech support, regular major updates every 6 months and a thousand other good reasons for you to install it.

Canonical LogoCanonical works alongside many OEMs like HP, Dell and Intel to make their operating system work as fast and as well as possible with their hardware. You're actually likely to see performance increases when using Ubuntu compared to other operating systems due to that fact. When it comes to netbooks and lower powered hardware Ubuntu really shines in terms of performance.

It's also one of the most secure operating systems ever built  with them pushing out more security updates than any of it's other  competitors. It's got a built in firewall and antivirus and it even goes a step farther than that and provides AppArmour which prevents hackers piggybacking on your programs.

With Ubuntu there's even a Windows installer so you can actually install, run an use Ubuntu from within Windows almost the same way you run any other program. Running a whole operating system as a program is a crazy level of power.

Throughout this week I will be testing a multitude of ways to install Ubuntu alongside Windows, ways to make use of both of them and why it's a good reason to use both Windows and Ubuntu as a dual boot.

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