Our computers at digital effects studio run Linux. The version we use is Ubuntu; very similar to windows interface with nice visual effects for the menus. I decided to install it on my PC so I could carry on working on my assignments in a similar environment at home. There’s a windows installer called Wubi which allows you to install Ubuntu from windows and as an application! so you can easily remove it from add/remove programs option in control panel. If it works(!) the process is extremely straight forward and you will have the options of booting Windows or Ubuntu when the system boots up, however, if it goes wrong, as it did for me, it could take you ages to get it installed properly. I ended up reinstalling Windows 7 again and then trying to run Wubi right away; the trick was it only works if you have a fresh copy of Windows installed without any updates! apparently one of them is messing things up! Although Linux is considered stable but it’s easy to make a big mess there! so you should be a little careful and avoid logging in a the ‘root’ user if you don’t have too. And learn a bit of Shell Screipting as well if you are considering trying Linux since without knowing those commands (programs) you can’t do much! they are similar to DOS commands but with much more control over everything. It took me another 6-7 hours until I was finally able to install Houdini and Shake on Ubuntu; for Houdini only the latest version downloaded from the Side FX works with no problem. It is possible to install some of Windows software/games using Wine emulator. I was able to successfully install Photoshop CS2 and it runs fairly smoothly.