I’ve been using Linux as a ‘Companion OS‘ to Windows OSes since Windows Vista. During that span, from then to now, I have mainly used Puppy Linux in combo with other Linuxes because the Puppy Linux JWM Desktop (DE) never felt right to me. However, since discovering the many benefits of Porteus Linux, starting with Porteus 5.0-rc3 Cinnamon DE around 3/31/2022, I now have a fulltime Linux Companion OS‘ for Win 11 Pro without the need of other Linuxes.

Having a single Linux OS as my only ‘Companion OS‘ to Windows is a totally new ‘n different experience for me. In the past, if I needed to ‘rescue‘ or fix something, I would grab Puppy Linux. If I needed to prep a disk for Linux or reformat a test disk or reformat a ‘Live‘ USB I would probably go for Fedora (until recently). Granted, no Linux OS I have ever used handles a difficult ‘rescue‘ or fix something like Puppy Linux, but those occurrences happen a lot less often than they did in 2007, i.e. I haven’t had a chance to test Porteus on a ‘rescue‘ situation yet.

Right now, Porteus-v5.0 Cinnamon is my main ‘Companion OS‘ & secondary OS to Win11 Pro, but I have Puppy Linux, Sparky Cinnamon Linux, and Fedora Cinnamon SPIN on standby as secondary OSes to Porteus-v5.0.

As I have mentioned before, most people in this modern world are already using at least two OSes, e.g. their Windows PC’s OS and their phone’s OS, so it is not a big step to having another OS like Linux or Chrome OS as a third OS.

Linux and the ‘Competition

Let’s face it, Linux has been around for about Thirty-years and has never came close to being a reliable replacement desktop OS to MS Windows. They are struggling now to stay ahead of the ChromeOSa browser OS at its core – and by “They” I mean all 3,000+ versions of the Linux OS:

Linux at 2.76% and ChromeOS at 1.5% of the Desktop Operating System Market Share Worldwide.

  • BTW, ChromeOS has only been around for about Eleven-years, having been released on June 15, 2011.

Want to see some more of the ‘Competition‘? Go around to some of the Linux forums and then mention – on the Distro X forum that you like Distro Y better. Over 3,000 versions of the Linux OS when you include Distros, Distro-based, Flavors, SPINS, DE’s, etc.

Linus Torvalds says Fragmentation is Why Linux Hasn’t Succeeded on Desktop: ‘I still wish we were better at having a standardize desktop that goes across all the distributions … It’s more of a personal annoyance how the fragmentation of the different vendors have, I think, held the desktop back a bit … It seems to be that Chromebooks and Android are the paths towards the desktop.

Yes, somehow, Linux has managed to have over 3,000 versions of ‘Itself‘ literally competing wid ‘Itself‘ and wid each other!?!

How to find your Linux ‘Companion OS

Thirty-years and some 3,000+ versions of the Linux OS later – you could try this:

I’ve been dealing wid Linux since 1996, and it keeps getting better, but not many happy Windows users are going to bother finding a Linux OS amongst some 3,000+ other versions. There are over 1.4-Billion happy Windows 10 users, then there are the new Windows 11 users, and the old happy Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, and Win8.1 users. 99.9% of the Windows 10 users and the older Windows OS users are eventually going to move to Windows 11.

Windows 11 will remain your primary OS handling your printing, scanning, bill paying, most shopping, most surfing, most blogging, gaming, and basically all your normal computering needs. So why bother looking for another OS as a Companion OS‘ or just a secondary OS?

Well, maybe you’ve been interested in trying out some new open-source software or apps, but don’t want to mess up your primary OS by testing those new software or apps. Maybe you have been thinking about checking Linux out, but have never figured out where to start wid so many options and new terms confronting you. Maybe you have been waiting for that new Windows 11 PC’s price to come down, and it just dropped $250 on a ‘Back to School Sale‘ at your favorite shopping site ‘n now you have an extra computer. Maybe you have used VirtualBox in the past ‘n want to start using it again. There are all kinds of reasons, but it boils down to your needs, desires and/or imagination.

Here are some of basic requirements for my Win11 Pro’s ‘Companion OS:

  1. Portability is a must! One of the few advantages that Linux has over Windows OSes is the ability to install most Linux OSes fulltime onto a USB, MicroSD, SD cards or other portable media. Check out the Linux ‘n USB Flash Drives page for more USB info and suggested brands of USB’s to use wid the Linux ext4 format.
  2. No password requirements or at least a Fulltime Linux Root User option. My Android phone doesn’t require a password. ChromeOS requires just one password at the login screen, but no more popups or passwords during the entire computer session. My Windows OSes have never forced me to use a password. Those three OSes are all more secure than Linux. Many Linuxes have annoying “Authenticate” popups and/or forced ‘Pesky Passwords’ requirements throughout a computer session. If you like a Login password then create one, but avoid any Linux OS that has the infamous Linux ‘Nanny slowing down you workflow during your computer sessions! Think Passwordless OSes…
  3. Avoid the *BLOATED* Linux OSes. I look for fast ‘n lightweight Linux OSes to use as a Companion OS‘ or secondary OS. Something wid less than a 1.25 GB ISO is about right. My Top 2 Linux OSes in Tier One are #2 Sparky Linux 7.0 Cinnamon @ 1.23 GB and #1 Porteus 5.0 Cinnamon @ just 359 MB. Tier Two has Fedora 36 Cinnamon SPIN @ 2.06 GB, Ultramarine Linux @ 1.89 GB, and FossaPup64 9.5 (AKA Puppy Linux 9.5) @ 409 MB. For Windows users who are totally new to Linux, Sparky Linux 7 Cinnamon might be the best option as a ‘Companion OS‘ for Windows 11, tho I suggest that both Sparky & Porteus be tried.

The Cinnamon Desktop Environment (DE) is not one of my “basic requirements,” but is probably the closest DE to Windows 11, and may make learning a new ‘Companion OS‘ easier. An older second computer is always handy to have around also.

Conclusion

Again, like Linus Torvalds has said: ‘One of the problems Desktop Linux has is it’s not made for normal people, and by normal people I mean, obviously nontechnical people…‘ (NOTE: A brief update to that, i.e. to now define ‘Technical people‘ as Developers, Programmers, Sysadmins, IT Specialists, Maintainers, etc.)

However, Linux can provide many other uses, e.g. as a handy portable ‘Companion OS‘ or other ‘Specialty‘ Linux OS.

I now use LibreOffice as my office suite on all My Computers, and also use many other open source apps. GIMP is used for creating ‘n editing most of my art media. BeeBEEP is used as my free office messenger between computers ‘n OSes (Windows & Linuxes).

In a little over four-months Porteus-v5.0 Cinnamon has completely taken over as my Linux ‘Companion OS‘, and I have recently added VirtualBox to its growing list of ‘Duties‘. Had been using a Win10 Pro OEM license from VIP-URcdkey (less than $20 ‘n which was upgraded to Win11 Pro when it came out) on the ‘Antec Jr.’ test computer, to test and grab installation pics of Linux OSes, thru the Microsoft Hyper-V native hypervisor; however, Porteus is going to handle that job now. I think VirtualBox might actually be easier to use than the Hyper-V.

Here is a pic of the Porteus Panel (Taskbar in Windows) wid the Menu (Start in Windows) window opened:

  • NOTE: I have another Linux OS that I am about to test, a fast ‘n super-lightweight ISO @ just 241 MB, and may update this post if the tests are successful. Newer versions of older Linuxes show up fairly often, and I try to test most of them…if they are close to my basic requirements.

Will add this post to the Porteus Linux, Special *PURPOSE* Linuxes, and Windows 11 pages…

LINUX IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES – you never know what you’re gonna get!