Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to
I don?t know where this originated?the old saying
became the title of
a song that was a minor hit in 1973 for now-Alberta-based Ellen
Huge numbers of computer users are in that situation--
alternative operating systems like Linux?but not prepared to take the
step of throwing away Windows and adopting an alternative.
Knowing that, all Linux distributions include the Lilo
letting a user choose between booting to Linux or some other operating
system. But in most cases, that still means fussing with drive
Perhaps buying a non-destructive partitioning program like Partition
All in all, more than many users want to deal with.
There are, though, some easy ways to stick your toe
into the water without
having to jump right in?to install another operating system onto your
partition, and start it by double-clicking on an icon.
ZipSlack is a version of the classic Linux
designed to be installed on a standard DOS/Windows partition in under
MB of drive space. As such, it?s a pretty bare-boned Linux?think
line terminal window. I gave ZipSlack a brief triy-out?and it worked as
advertised?lean, mean terminal mode Linux environment. If you have 800
MB free, there?s now the BigSlack version, complete with the graphical
KDE environment preconfigured.
WinLinux (www.winlinux.com) claims to be the only
Linux that installs
a Windows program, setting itself with the correct hardware and
settings based on what you have configured in Windows. Sounds good. On
my system, though, it failed to properly set up the video, even though
my installed ATI All-in-Wonder 128 is one of its supported video cards.
As a result, it was unusable. Maybe you?ll have better luck with it!
be prepared for a 215 MB download.
Not a version of Linux, BeOS is yet another
created by Be, a company started up by former Apple bigshot Jean-Louis
Gaspe. It?s aimed primarily multimedia developers?an early claim to
was being able to run multiple video clips all at once, even on fairly
modest hardware. The new version 5 can be freely downloaded
it?s a relatively modest 45 MB download that expands to take up 500 MB
of drive space. While I had to enter networking information manually,
one ran as promised?clicking on its icon rebooted the system into DOS
then loaded the Be OS. And it was fast and slick. Too bad there?s
little software for it.
While the others I?ve listed restart your computer,
booting the new
system, VMWare (www.vmware.com) runs the secondary operating system on
top of your existing OS. As such, it needs a hefty operating system to
begin with?Windows 9x users need not apply. But you can use it to run
on an NT/W2000 system?or to run Win 9x on a Linux system. But that
you need enough RAM to have both operating systems running at
128 MB or more. Oh yeah, it?s a commercial product?US$299 ($99 for
with a free 30-day evaluation license available.
Mac users need not feel left out. Connectix, the
makers of the popular
Virtual PC (www.connectix.com) comes to the rescue. While in the past,
they?ve released version of VPC that allowed Mac users to run DOS,
95, or Windows 98, they?ve recently released a version that comes
with a licensed copy of Red Hat Linux. Like the other versions, it
and runs under the existing Mac OS. Double-clicking the VPC icon boots
an emulated PC?complete with ram check, configurable BIOS, and
Only this time, the boot leads to the Red Hat log-in, with choice of
or Gnome desktops. As with the Windows versions, installation is far
than actually installing Linux, since Connectix controls the
know what sort of pretend video, sound, networking (etc) are
installed. It comes with Netscape, Star Office, and more applications
The Linux version requires quite a bit more from your Mac then VPC
Windows, however. Where the Win98 version is quite happy making a 500
virtual hard disk, the Linux version wants a full gigabyte of space.
while the VPC/Win98 runs at a tolerable speed on my iMac-266, the Linux
version request at least a 350 mHz G3. It installed on my 266 mHz
but the company was right?it was too slow to be usable. Still, if
Mac enough to run it, this US$99 product will let you see what all the
fuss is about.