andLinux – For those people who simply want access to some of the Linux experience, minus the desktop, I suggest looking into andLinux. I'd go so far as to suggest that andLinux is the biggest blurring of the OS lines available between Windows and Linux on the desktop.
A full Ubuntu experience within Windows minus the Ubuntu desktop itself is what andLinux has to offer. I believe andLinux to be beneficial for anyone wanting access to specific Linux functionality without wanting to actually boot into the Linux desktop itself.
Unetbootin – When faced with a Windows PC that cannot share its drive due to company policy that also lacks a CD drive from which to boot from, Unetbootin offers a useful alternative. Unetbootin makes it simple to create a bootable Live Linux installation on a USB flash drive.
Once installed, just boot from the flash drive and enjoy your new Linux installation. Unetbootin also provides its users with a variety of great Linux distributions from which to boot from. You will also be provided with the option to save files on the flash drive in between boots.
Wubi – Despite its speed limitations on a fragmented Windows hard drive, Wubi offers a viable alternative to dual-booting or running from a LiveCD. Installing Wubi is done from within Windows like any other program.
Once it's installed, the Windows boot sequence will display a new Ubuntu boot option. Uninstalling is also a snap. Just remove Wubi like you would with any other program.
LiveCD – Without a doubt, it was the LiveCD that really blurred the lines between Linux and Windows for me personally. Years ago when I first discovered a LiveCD distro called Knoppix, I was amazed at how "available" Linux felt to me.
For the first time, I was able to run a Linux distro without creating a special partition for it. Flash forward to now, LiveCDs are still very helpful as they allow us to test hardware before installing new distributions.
Is the future web software?
One thing that comes up in discussion groups is the idea of web applications blurring the lines between platforms. Some even suggest that platform loyalty won't matter much longer.
I happen to think that this won't happen until we see better support for offline access to web applications, in much the same spirit as Google Gears. Without a broadband connection, web apps just aren't that impressive. So the idea that web-based software is a replacement platform for specific applications might be a little premature.
Clearly, though, we're getting closer to "cloud" applications becoming something we can reliably plug our PCs into. And with many new enterprise solutions being offered through our workplace LANs, the barriers between Windows and Linux PCs will become less important with each passing year.