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Windows 98 creates a file system called FAT32 on entire hard disk, DOS and Win95 use FAT16. Linux has many file systems-on most popular is ext3. But you could have Linux installed on Fat32 partitions also.
Linux is geeky and based on text command
Linux has come a long way from being system of geeks. It has an extremely advanced X Windows systems that has a complete graphical user interface-you know, like Windows. It also has a large number of window manager that let you work with different levels of customization of your desktop. Linux has a robust character-cell interface where commands need to be typed in. x Windows is a free program that runs with Linux to provide a GUI where mouse and keyboard can be used extensively. But X system itself is quite primitive and needs a window manager, or a desktop environment- like GNOME or KDE- to be really usable. Window managers are programs that let you interact with underlying X system and LinuxOS by relaying commands. The popular window managers are Sawfish, Enlightenment, Black box, after step and Window maker. As for desktop managers, they have their own window manager and other tools that make you feel that you are working in Window! GNOME and KDE are most popular of these. GNOME stands for GNU Network Model Environment and KDE for K desktop Environment. They have tools that allow drag and drop, have panels and taskbar- almost like clones of windows.
Hardware compatibility problem and few applications that run on Linux
Well, most new distributions will detect and configure your hardware in a jiffy, unless you have some really old or exotic piece of hardware. Only Win modems (internal modems driven by Window drivers) face problems.
As for software, there's plenty. And most of it comes free-free for you to use, modify and configure according to your needs. Other packages are commercial and you have to buy software-but this is mostly for software and training you need, and not for support and training you need, and not for software itself. Sometimes, if you have Windows version (as a doom) you can download a small program that will allow you to play game in Linux. Here what's available? Office suites: Star Office, Open Office, Applixware, Corel WordPerfect Graphics: GIMP, Corel Photo paint Music: XMMS, Free amp, Real Player Video: MTV, Xine Games: FreeCiv, Tux racer, Doom, Quake, Heretic, Unreal And list is growing.
•Debian : One of oldest and still most popular distros is Debian. This Project is a voluntary effort of a team of programmers who developed GNU system. Debian is not very easy to install, and that has been its problem, Debian also has its own software comes with a. DEB extension. Updating and installing new software is very easy. The applications bundled with Debian are great for even a power user. •RedHat: Probably most popular and in many ways leading distro. It's currently in version 8. The installation and configuration is easy. A blue curve file manager and default GNOME desktop make it look simply stunning. It comes with a host of tools that allow usage as a server and as a workstation. The Red Hat Package Manger(RPM) format developed by Red Hat has almost become defector for software distribution in Linux world. Installing new software is a breeze. It also has an advanced and easy font management system that makes fonts in X Windows look cool. But being leader comes at a price. Red Hat charges a little more than others for its istro. •Mandrake: Mandrake Linux is now in its 9 version. This distro can be installed on a native Windows Partition using Lin4Win tool, but this may slow machine down. It also lets you do a traditional Linux install into its own dedicated partition. Mandrake's configuration and software installation is painless. It follows a slightly modified RPM architecture called mdk.rpm but most Red Hat software can also be used for Mandrake. The outstanding feature in this distro is collection of window managers-eye-candy freaks will have a great time. •SUSE : From Germany comes Chameleon Distro, SUSE. Now in its 8.1 avatar, it has one of most extensive software packages compiled, and getting them installed is easy with yast (Yet another Software Tool) which gives a centralized interface from where you can pick and choose software to be installed. Among other things, SUSE comes with some stunning 3D games that showcase Linux's gamming prowess. •Corel/Xandross : Corel entered Linux distro market with Corel Linux a few years ago. Now it has merged into Xandross OS, which is based on Corel Linux. This is a Debian-type distro, and can be installed without much fuss after resizing Windows partition. Xandross contains Crossover office, which is a refined retail version of WINE that lets you install and run many Microsoft apps.
Windows applications in Linux
Some applications have been ported over to Linux, other run with a program called WINE (Wine is Not an Emulator). Crossover, commercially available software also lets you use your Windows programs Linux. VMWare is another program that lets you run Windows under Linux.
The cool thing about Linux is that most software is free, and you can legitimately use them without worrying about piracy. If you're worried that Linux won‘t look as pretty as windows can, all you have to do is check out some of cool Linux interfaces and Window managers. But you don't find a lot of multimedia titles for Linux. And if you're into a lot of these, Windows in way to go. So if you have a PC that runs both, you can easily switch between two, and get best of both worlds.
Pawan bangar, Technical Director, Birbals, India. www.birbals.com www.ebirbals.com www.hbirbals.com www.seobirbals.com