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Old   October 21, 2010, 14:20
Default Dual Boot Windows and Linux and Go Open Source
Andy Jones
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Many people seem to want open source Windows programs. However, the vast majority of open source is written in Linux and porting to Windows is laborious.
The is a lot of very high quality open source CFD and scientific software out there. In fact, the most sophisticated software is open source.

Dual or Multiple Operating Systems on one computer is easy if you read a bunch of online how tos and study and plan your actions ahead of time.
Neosmart Easy BCD is an excellent free program. You can let either Windows or Linux control the boot process. However, you do not want to make any mistakes, so you need to read beforehand, and install and look at Easy BCD before hand, as well as look at the installation screens (online guides and/or manual) for the version of Linux being installed.

It is not something to be taken lightly, as you can ruin your existing Windows or Linux installation. You can also dual boot more than one type of Linux OS. Or triple boot Windows 7, XP and Linux.

My suggestion is to read and plan it for a few days and look at everything involved carefully, the Easy BCD screens, the directions (and screenshots) for installation of your version of Linux. Read several online guides, not just one.

Have a second computer or the directions printed out before you start.
Know what grub is and what Grub 2 is. If you use Ubuntu, it uses Grub 2, most other Linux distros use Legacy Grub.
For Windows to be in control, you do not install Grub on the Master Boot Record, but on the first Linux partiton.
One of the best info sites is A must read.

Easy BCD-Free Multi-Boot setup software
Dual boot Ubuntu, great sites with screenshots
Good site on Dual or Multiple booting various Linux Distros, using Easy BCD:
General articles on Dual boot XP-Linux:

You need a minimum 30 Gb of hard drive space, 4Gb ram, 64 bit, Quad core preferred.

Open Source is free. A Linux OS with CFD and Science/Eng software already installed is the fastest easiest way. It is difficult to install a big open source CFD program by yourself. CAELinux has a Linux distro based on Ubuntu that works very well. OpenInnovation also has one. CentosFoam is Centos with OpenFoam. There are others, or download the targz files and build from scratch (a little harder! and requires Linux expertise)

OpenFoam is a great program. If you must use Windows, Elmer is a great CFD program as well. Salome Meca and Code Aster/Code Saturne are very good also. CAELinux comes with OpenFoam/Elmer/Salome Meca/Code Aster/Saturne and about 20 other Math Eng/Science/CAD/LaTex programs. Free CAELinux Download is 3.7 Gb and you burn an ISO image to a DVD to install.

If you work in Academia or Science, you will need to know something about Linux. 90% of Supercomputers run on Linux. Open Source programs are used on the vast majority of Supercomputers.
That is where the opensource cfd/sci programs came from, they were built for supercomputers in academia/government and then given to the public. Development costs were in the 10's of millions.
For CAD, you can use open source also. Salome-Meca/Code Aster/Saturne does CAD.

There are a bunch of free CAD apps on CAELinux.
Academic CAD programs watermark everything in the program as academic, so you do not want to use academic cad, or most likely any thing academic anyways. Employers do not want their CAD library contaminated with Academic watermarked CAD libraries/models.

Salome Meca/Code Astra/Code Saturne was developed by a French company that developed Open Cascade, the 3D graphics engine. They also run the nuclear power plants. The software was built to run the nuclear power plant industry and design nuclear power plants. It has been exhaustivly tested. Code Aster for example is a 1,500,000 line program. And thats just Code Aster! Documentation is 14,000 pages. The software has been under extensive development for 20 years. Elmer has also been under development for a long time 15 years or so.
OpenFoam is also astonishingly well developed and advanced. Paraview is an incredible Visualization package.

Commercial CFD, CAD, Math programs are extremely expensive!!!! They are good, but out of reach for many, especially when you consider you need Math, CAD, CFD and other programs.

Linux has a learning curve, but its not difficult, just slightly different. You need to know something about the Linux command line.

I would seriously consider going open source.
good luck

Last edited by andyj; October 21, 2010 at 14:39. Reason: added spacing for readability
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Old   October 21, 2010, 15:37
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Dennis Ernens
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Why not use if you just want to play around with different flavours of Linux. Also, it is fast enough to use the software you posted.
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Old   October 21, 2010, 16:49
Andy Jones
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Most of these programs are way too big and complex to trust virtualization. I agree it would allow you to look at them, but you can do that with a live cd or DVD. Linux is free anyways, so why bother with virtualization.

Some of these open source CFD and Science programs are the most complex software programs ever devised by man. Go directly to using the software, no play involved
CaeLinux for example, when it is decompressed and unzipped is 12 Gb of mostly C++ and fortran apps. Its just asking too much of virtualization.
when I think of virtualization, I tend to think of Microsoft Windows 7 and XP in Virtual mode. It works, and works well, but for something as demanding as CFD or Computational Chemistry, I personally would install natively to the hard drive. Most hard drives are big eneough anyways, and most people have some extra space. My dual (actually triple) boot has been trouble free.
I do not think there is a whole lot of difference between Linux distros, just the or Gnome. There seems to be two basic types of software managment..RPM (Red Hat, Centos,Suse), DEB, used by Debian and Ubuntu. If you have one specific app you want to use, then its best to se if they have precompiled binaries and use the distro that they compiled for. Different compilers may not be compatible, according to MIT's MEEP, for example.

Most open source programs will never be ported to windows.

You can build an open source app from scratch, and it proably would go well, but if something goes wrong, then its difficult. The easy way out is to go with a complete Linux OS with the programs preinstalled and fine tune from there.

Nothing wrong with a Virtualbox, there is no need for it. Excess code. Would make sense on a space limited SSD drive though.
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caelinux, dual boot linux

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