Today, James writes:

I am running a Windows XP based system and I am considering moving on to Ubuntu. The only thing holding me back is application support. I need to be able to use applications like my Zune media player, Reason, etc. If there are any ways to get programs like these to work on Linux, please let me know. I’ve enjoyed using Windows XP for years now, but I’d like to try different things. I am beginning to feel a bit “shackled” to Windows.

If you are completely serious about taking Linux for a test drive, I would point you to Wubi. Unlike so much of this dual-boot nonsense, this allows you to install Ubuntu without touching any of your MBR or your partitions. Best of all, it can be uninstalled from Add/Remove programs as well.

As for getting the Zune to work under Linux, it is possible, be it very geeky as MS has shown no interest in seeing their product gain a larger market outside of the Windows world. This is not to say that it cannot be done, but compared to the plug-n-play simplicity to a Video iPod with Linux.

Having said this, it might be fun to try a trial version of Parallels and use this for running Windows from Linux. This would mean that you could run XP inside of Linux itself, then sync up your Zune with the desired contents whenever you like. And of course, if you want to get extremely geeky, you could even run your Zune locally in Linux, while having zero access to anything DRM protected. I guess what I am saying is that running Wubi with XP is what I would do in your shoes. The Zune is a fine piece of hardware, it’s just a shame that it is so cut off from the rest of the platform choices out there. And of course, with regard to Windows applications, having native access to the OS they are designed for is always better.

Windows users will often point out that making things work is generally easier with Windows. Well, in this particular case, they would be right. But using Wubi might give you an opportunity to learn a little more about Linux, how it differs, what it’s like not to have everything you do dictated by one company, it’s actually a lot of fun.

Do you have an IT-related question? Perhaps you are just burnt out on writing on the walls with crayons? Whatever the comments may be, drop me a line, and you too can “Just Ask Matt!”

Also, don’t forget to check out “Just Ask Matt,” Linux Edition!

[tags]Linux, Ubuntu, Zune[/tags]