On Wed, 2018-04-11 at 20:05 -0400, Michael Galea via talk wrote:
> Hi All,
> 
> My son is off to university for CS this fall, and will need a
> laptop. 
> I'm looking at purchasing one for him, so he can run Windows and
> Linux. 
> I'm figuring on going the VM route.

My kids run Linux at home and Windows at school. My first will be
headed off to University this fall as well. I asked and the school does
support using Linux so she will likely choose that as her main OS.

> He can use both OS's but is probably more familiar with Win, and his 
> courses mandate a number of windows only tools. I'm heading in the 
> direction of booting Win10 and using a VM running Debian.

If the courses require Windows it is likely best to run Windows. Though
the technically adept can run Linux with a VM machine with Windows.
(Assuming they do not need direct hardware access for gaming). Linux as
a host OS takes up less memory than Windows as a host OS so that is the
route I chose.

> A bit of research indicates that the two most popular free VM
> contenders are VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V.  Can anyone recommend
> one over the other?  Are there better choices?

VirtualBox is another solid choice.

> As per laptop specs, I am figuring on getting something with a late 
> model Intel i7, 32 GB RAM, and 1-2TB storage. I figure many laptops
> must meet this spec.  Is there anything else I should be looking for?

That sounds like a heavy brick of a machine. To be honest 32GB of ram
is overkill in most cases. I might consider getting a USB attached HD
for long term storage and a 512GB SSD for the laptop. That would be a
good mix of performance with the ability to save files for long term
use.

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