Live distros have done a fantastic job of getting timid Windows users to try Linux. No installation, no faffing around with hard drive partitions and bootloaders -- just pop in the CD/DVD and go. But one of the downsides is performance, with optical-based Linux not running as swiftly as its hard drive-installed counterpart. Well, Portable Ubuntu is here to save the day using a crafty combo of free software technology.
Imagine Linux running inside Windows, but without VirtualBox, VMware or Qemu creating a dividing line between the two OSes. Using a CoLinux kernel, Xming X server and the PulseAudio sound system, Portable Ubuntu puts Linux apps straight onto a Windows desktop, even with Windowsy titlebars. It's persistent, so your work is saved when you shut it down -- oh, and you can access your Windows files from within Linux too.
See this Lifehacker article for more info and a video of Portable Ubuntu in use. Whether it'll lead to the much-awaited Linux desktop revolution is one thing, but without doubt it should dismantle all technical barriers for those Windows users tempted to give Linux a try. Hopefully.
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