I dual-boot. My 60 gigabyte hard drive is split into five partitions:
- a NTFS partition, for Windows XP
- an ext3 partition for Gentoo Linux
- a swap partition to improve performance in Linux
- two FAT32 partitions for sharing documents and multimedia between the two operating systems
As the above list shows, the structure of my hard drive would be a lot simpler if Windows XP could read various Linux journaling filesystems, and if the Linux kernel had full NTFS read/write support (I'm too afraid of corrupting the entire NTFS partition to try writing to it, even though it is theoretically supported).
But the incompatibility extends further than the hard drive's filesystems. Even applications that are the same under Linux and Windows have problems. From Gaim
to Mozilla Firefox
, application preferences and the like are stored in different folders, and it takes specialized configuration changes to modify these default settings.
Therefore, after more than a year of dual-booting, under Mandrake 9.0, RedHat Linux 9.0, Mandrake 9.1, and finally Gentoo, I no longer have the heart to split my computer into two competing operating systems. Next year, I think I will try to have two computers -- hopefully a laptop running Windows (and maybe even with one of the new 90 nm Centrino processors), and a desktop running some distribution of Linux or BSD.