Why Multiboot?

First things first: why would you even want to multiboot? Here’s a short list of the reasons you might consider, starting from the most practical to the most outrageous.

1. Data security

Remember the time when you had to get to that important document and Windows simply wouldn’t start? It’s times like this that having one more operating system installed can be helpful. Thanks to the variety of sizes and shapes in which operating systems now come, it is possible to fit a “rescue” operating system in less than a gigabyte (at current hard disk capacities that would be less than 1% of your storage space)

2. Software testing

If you’re a software developer, developing for multiple platforms, it would be essential to have multiple operating systems installed to test your software on. Unfortunately, the number of such multi-platform developers are rather few and far between. But having multiple OSes is also helpful if you’re a web developer. Even cross-platform browsers like Opera and Firefox are known to render pages slightly differently in Linux, BSD and Windows.  To make sure that your pages look good in all contexts, it would be a good idea to have different operating systems at the ready. (Of course, in this particular case using virtualization might be more productive than actually multibooting, but that’s a different matter altogether.

3. You want to know what makes your computer tick

Certainly a reason for the more technophilic type, but not a bad one at all. Installing and using different operating systems will give you an idea of what makes them work individually and how they are different from each other.Of course that is only going to happen if you pick the right operating systems and take an active interest in learning about what’s going on. not for the faint of heart

4. You’ve got time to kill and nothing better to do

For many of us, that would be all the reason we need.

Tomorrow: Getting the Multibooting tools

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Published by

Shrutarshi Basu

Programmer, writer and engineer, currently working out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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