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Total Posts: 461
Joined: May 2004
Posted: 2006-01-10 20:07

I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 notebook with Windows XP Home edition, and want to install Linux on a partition to get familiar with using C++ financial development on Linux.

When I looked at ,there are so many varities  available for download and I am getting confused . Can someone please suggest what version of Linux is normally used for C++ financial development . Also is it ok to install it on a Wirndows XP (with Intel Pentium processor)  partition and will it be safe and not cause harm on the hardware for 5150 notebook?

Many thanks in advance.


Total Posts: 566
Joined: Dec 2004
Posted: 2006-01-10 20:25
most banks have some old sun/os or solaris computers. however i've seen redhat linux installed (i have no idea what that machine does though)

I think redhat linux will be the distro of choice because redhat is a trusted brand in the commercial world and can provide loads of support after you've installed it. also I think some dell computers come with the option of having linux preinstalled rather than XP, and they use redhat, so i'd imagine the hardware compatibility issues will be less of a problem for some dell hardware.


Total Posts: 1049
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2006-01-10 23:31
i've heard that windows makes sure to make it impossible to install linux on other partitions so you have to install linux first and then install windows on the other partition. i am no expert however.


Total Posts: 1677
Joined: Aug 2005
Posted: 2006-01-10 23:35

i agree w/ akimon, redhat is a pretty safe choice.  the installer will help you partition your drive, and will install a boot loader of some type (so that when you boot you choose which OS to boot into).  Mandrake, Suse, and  Debian are other favorites, and I imagine you'll find a lot of opinions on the pros and cons of each, I've fallen a bit behind.

although there are different 'versions' of linux, when you are choosing the vendor, you are choosing a 'distribution'.  it's just a collection of software based on the same operating system, the look/feel are different, and some of the included software, but you'll do c++ development tasks in exactly the same way.

If you're only interested in development, perhaps you should start with cygwin?  it's linux tools that can be installed on windows (  You can use gcc and all the other 'linux tools' without leaving the comfort of XP. 


the only reason it would be easier to program in C is that you can't easily express complex problems in C, so you don't. -comp.lang.lisp


Total Posts: 155
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2006-01-11 00:06
One should install Windows first, then Linux because Windows will overwrite what other OS bootloaders put in the master boot record.


Total Posts: 189
Joined: Aug 2005
Posted: 2006-01-12 00:35

good article on bootloaders that i have in my bookmarks from when i did this myself, might be useful to others: here.

also, asd, we run redhat linux on many of our production servers at my bank.  the heavy-duty numeric stuff is all run on the linux boxes.  so it's definitely worth learning, but i don't think it should be a primary goal, as it is far more common (in my limited experience) to develop in windows and deploy xlls to plug into excel.  but if you're comfortable with all that, the linux stuff is definitely worth it.  and, anyway, running linux on your home computer is more fun.


Total Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2005
Posted: 2006-01-12 20:02
If you don't want to mess with the hard drive on your existing win xp system, you can first check out a "live" distribution.

It's basically an entire linux distribution that loads in the comuter's RAM from a CD, so nothing is installed. Once you're finished, just pop out the CD and after a reboot, voilĂ  !, you're back in windows.

Live distrib of choice : Knoppix, here

This is useful in the sense it can help determine if all your hardware is supported in Linux. No harm will be done of course.

If you want to actually install Linux after that, it's up to you : there are many tutorials all over the web.

Basically, it all goes down to this figure :
Industry choice #1 : Redhat (Fedora distribution for the "public")
Academia choice #1 : Debian

One thing to mention : Knoppix includes the tools that can resize your partitions to make room for Linux. See this tutorial for example.


Total Posts: 523
Joined: Jun 2004
Posted: 2006-01-17 16:49
Major ressource on linux is therThe Linux Documentation Project

if you want to code C++, check FreeBSD as well.

regarding Linux, Debian is more anti-windows spirit : ie. you know what you do. you don't let system to mess everything up by itself.
with Fedora (ex RedHat) system changes your config without warning...

/* Trust is good, no trust is better. */


Total Posts: 574
Joined: Aug 2004
Posted: 2006-01-18 10:23
Your choice will be a function of how much tinkering you are prepared to do just to get started. As a first step into Linux, an easy choice is Linspire. It is painless to install and get started (not including the 50 bucks you have to pay) and you can still do everything your heart desires from the command line...once you get warmed up, you can try other distributions, as you like...


Total Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2006
Posted: 2006-01-21 15:56
I would not advise you pay for any version of Linux as paying for software goes against a lot of what the open source ethos that GNU/Linux was built around. Plus, the pay services do not offer anything to a home user that the free disto do not. For that reason I would discount Red-hat and linspire (red-hat anyway is not a desktop OS, it is aimed at the server market - running websites etc.)

A good site to read is which keeps very up to date reviews about many of the Linux distributions available and on the right hand side you can see a list of the most popular. As the list shows, I would suggest you start off with Ubuntu if you want to install Linux onto your hard drive. Ubuntu is really aimed at getting people who have no experience with Linux into learning the ins and outs as quickly as possible without all the heartaches that come with something like a Gentoo install where you have to spend a good few days manually setting up everything yourself.

Re your concerns over harm that may be caused: There is absolutely zero chance of any damage coming to your hardware (unless you smash the computer in a fit of rage when the 10th driver for your mouse didn't work). There is a very very small chance however for data loss as sometimes problems can occur when you are repartitioning your hard drive, so it is best to back up any important information you have on your Windows partition before setting out to install Linux. This chance is very small, so small infact that I've never seen or heard of it happening and I've installed Linux a good few times now, but the chance is there, and I wouldn't want to take the chance on losing some important documents for the sake of 20minutes backing up.

Where someone above said that Windows does not allow you to install Linux, however much the people at Redmond may love that to be the case, it is unfounded. There are no extra complications for having Windows installed before hand, and as someone said above, installing Windows after Linux will overwrite the MBR giving you a bit of a headache having to install a new bootloader, so Windows first, Linux second works quite well.

I must say though, if you're writing good portable C++ code, the code that you write for Windows should be able to run on Linux no problem. The idea of high level languages like C++ is to abtract the underlying OS/hardware so all that is needed is a recompile on a compiler for that OS/hardware and it'll work fine. There will compilations if you're using some Windows specific stuff of course (usually by including windows.h) or if you're using the Win32 API to do your GUI's rather than a cross platform library such as GDK+ or qt. If you want to learn Linux for the sake of knowing, install ubuntu and force yourself to use it for a few weeks and you'll soon pick it up, but if you only want to code, write portable code and just remember 'gcc -o file filename.cpp; ./file' to save yourself a bit of time.


Total Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2006
Posted: 2006-02-12 02:32
Why not install ?


Total Posts: 1582
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2017-09-04 15:50
It's been a while ... what's the best linux distribution these days? The mission is to revamp an old laptop and dump windows. Thanks.


Total Posts: 986
Joined: Nov 2004
Posted: 2017-09-04 16:28
"Best" does not mean anything. But with ubuntu you should cover all needs you have. Better opt for a long term support version (LTS), currently 16.04.

Mind the 32/64 bits issue if the laptop is really old. If power and memory are issues, go for a light ubuntu (lubuntu).

How is windows these days? I haven't even touched it in more than a decade now.

If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much space.


Total Posts: 1582
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2017-09-04 17:09
Thanks. What about Mint?

Windows sucks big fat moose dick, same as always. They are now using the operating system for direct marketing to the consumer to sell "apps", still trying to emulate Apple I guess. And if you want to peer in through the gates of productivity hell, check out SharePoint.


Total Posts: 986
Joined: Nov 2004
Posted: 2017-09-04 21:46
Mint is fine too. Anyway based on debian and ubuntu...

But you know, nowadays picking one distribution or another is more a question of habit than religion.

After the tremendous demonstration of incompetence they made with Win95 and its need for a reboot with any change of IP, the only versions I could accept to deal with were Win NT and Win 2000 that were going bust ONLY under heavy load, and not for whatever reason. Their end of life meant end of Windows use for me.

If you are not living on the edge you are taking up too much space.


Total Posts: 237
Joined: Jan 2015
Posted: 2017-09-04 21:50
Mint vs Ubuntu effectively reduces to the question of GUI: Unity vs Cinnamon. That's pretty much just a question of personal preference. There's no single right answer.

My suggestion, before going through the hassle of installing, try each one in a VM. Get a feel for how you like each desktop interface, then decide based on that.


Total Posts: 1582
Joined: Sep 2006
Posted: 2017-09-04 22:02
Thanks. I was going to boot to a USB stick first to make sure everything worked before I wiped the machine.


Total Posts: 464
Joined: Mar 2007
Posted: 2017-09-05 15:41
Over the years I have used Ubuntu then moved to Fedora - which I found mildly annoying - then settled on mint which I recommend. I have also installed Ubuntu on my wife's laptop and she is happy with it.


Total Posts: 1089
Joined: Feb 2007
Posted: 2017-09-05 22:01
I've used mint-KDE as my main desktop/laptop OS for years now. The only downside is major release upgrades aren't clean, so keep your /home on a separate partition and use the latest LTS version.

"Learning, n. The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious."


Total Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2014
Posted: 2017-09-06 00:50
About a year ago I moved from Fedora to Ubuntu. I, too, found it a bit annoying.


Total Posts: 2
Joined: May 2017
Posted: 2017-09-06 09:47
I second lubuntu, since you mentioned that you intend to use an old laptop. I recently managed to revive a 10+ years old netbook by moving it from XP to lubuntu.

I might be partial, though - I'm used to debian-flavored distros...
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