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Dual Boot or dedicated Linux Computer?

  1. Feb 8, 2012 #1
    Hey guys,

    I've just started at grad school, and I'm going to upgrade my laptop for graduate school. I'll be doing a lot of coding in FORTRAN, so I definitely need to be running Linux on it.

    The question is, is it preferable to get a PC and dual boot it or to get a linux laptop, and not even bother with windows.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2012 #2


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    "preferable", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
  4. Feb 8, 2012 #3


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    I'll give you my experience in a similar situation. About a year ago, I bought a Dell laptop pre-loaded with Windows. Because I needed Linux in grad school, I loaded on Ubuntu Linux in dual-boot mode. As I got more proficient with Linux, and found more of the programs I needed, I found myself using the Windows side less and less. After about 6 months I erased the Windows side completely (I needed the disk space) and now I run exclusively Ubuntu Linux. I can do everything I could do on Windows, plus a whole lot more, and the software is all free.
  5. Feb 11, 2012 #4
    Hhhmmm...you make it sound that because you are going to be programming in Fortran, you need Linux...that's not necessarily true at all.

    At some point, I made it a point to support 3 different platforms (Solaris, Linux and Windows) and so I looked for a way so I could use the exact same compiler and compiler options and same make files, etc....I found g95! I also loaded cygwin on my pc for a linux-like command line and all the commands I like.

    g95 is a fine fortran compiler and free! You can download it for either Linux or Windows.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Linux.

    Other than that, you may find yourself in a pickle at some point where you may wish you had Windows...like if you want to stream Netflix to your computer...that won't fly.

    So, as somebody said earlier, you can probably find most everything you want on Linux; but may want to keep the ability to run Windows, either continue to keep dual boot or install Linux and then via some virtual box install Windows there...this latter option is convenient for when Windows gets a virus and gets infected...just wipe it out and copy a back up of the Windows image.

    my 2 cents
  6. Feb 11, 2012 #5


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    I'm currently dual booting Ubuntu and Windows XP, but use Ubuntu all the time, unless I really need windows for whatever reason.
    In the past I used to brainlessly upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version without checking out compatibility with my graphic card, etc. I messed up my Ubuntu so badly that at the end I couldn't open any program and had an invisible terminal that I could call via alt+F2 if I remember well. I had to call a friend for a total formating+reinstalling Ubuntu on my computer. I had used Ubuntu forums to get help but when solving a problem I used to get like 3 new problems, leading to a totally unusable Ubuntu.

    I personally prefer to use Ubuntu (with Kate) for Fortran than Windows.
    I would suggest you to use a dual boot. If you mess up with Windows you still have Linux and if you mess up with Linux you still have Windows.
  7. Feb 12, 2012 #6
    Hmmm. So I guess my question for you is, do I have any benefit getting a primarily Windows PC? Or can I get a (cheaper) Linux based PC and run windows via the virtual box without too many problems?
  8. Feb 12, 2012 #7
    Hhhmm...this is always not an easy answer...it depends on personal preferences, circumstances, etc.

    First, how cheap are you planning on going? How powerful are today's cheap computers? Can they handle a virtual box? At home, I have a couple of old computers and so I only run Linux, by now...the Windows I had became too old to maintain and infected a couple of times...and I wasn't going to go out there and pay 2or 3 hundred dollars for an updated version of Windows so that my kids can surf the net and do homework.

    If you go Linux and can do most of what you want on Linux...is it worth paying for Windows when you will rarely use it?

    If you have the inclination, money and the technical knowledge and computer to handle both OS, I would say go for a primarily Linux PC and put Windows on top of it in a way that you can easily wipe it out and re-image it whenever it becomes infected or corrupted or whatever.

    Or, if you are going to have other compatibility issues with the people you need to interface, well, stick to Windows. Like I said, you can do Fortran there, too, just fine...many Linux applications are being ported to Windows and many open-source/free-apps are also available on Windows.
  9. Feb 17, 2012 #8
    I run a Windows system, and Linux via Virtualbox. The reason it's not the other way around is because I play the odd Windows game and I like the performance. I use Linux exclusively for programming, and it's nice to keep all my uni stuff tucked away in it's own little VM. I did dual boot initially, but rebooting every time I needed to switch OS was painful.

    I've been running Linux Mint 10 for quite a while, but I'm about to install Fedora 16 for the coming semester, to try something new, and because I don't require most of the multimedia fluff that comes with Mint (which is a Ubuntu derivative).
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