Linux…on a stick

In light of having and enjoying Vista, I am still drawn to alternate operating systems. The problem with owning a normal, pre-made, computer, is that you are limited in what choices you have. Well…not exactly…but yes. Windows, or Linux.

I enjoy Linux a lot. The only thing really keeping me from moving over full-time is the lack of mainstream games and software. Yes, there are alternates…like Gimp. I absolutely LOVE Gimp. Without the specialized tools of Photoshop, Gimp does everything else. Everything!

Ummm…Microsoft Office? Openoffice.org I tried it, and yes it works just fine, but for some reason, things look wrong when I create them at home, then use them at work. It just doesn’t have the full compatibility with Office documents for the government yet. When it does, I’ll probably switch.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

The issue with Linux and Windows has been a largely debated one. Dual boot, multi computers, etc. I’ve done it. Vista PC and Laptop. Dual boot Ubuntu and XP on another laptop, Mac Mini with Debian, iBook G4 with Leapord, and tons of flash drives with many different versions of Linux. But finding the right one has been hard to do.

The flash drive linux install is new to me. Booting from a USB stick into a fully working version of Linux? Sounds cool, and it’s something to keep me busy.

Lately I’ve been using http://www.pendrivelinux.com/They have guides for Ubuntu, Knoppix, SUSE…most of the good ones. The problem is trying to find drivers for my specific hardware. Most of the time the included wireless drivers don’t work, so I end up plugging it in to find out that there aren’t wireless drivers for this card. It’s a standard Dell wireless WLAN mini card, but it’s the way the motherboard uses it that seems to boggle most installations of linux. I’ll eventually get it figured out though.

The one good reason to do this? It doesn’t mess with your existing windows/mac installation, and it gives you and easy way to try out new versions of Linux. Maybe I’ll find one I like enough to leave windows forever.

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