Originally Posted by Torr
I don't know what you mean by "full effects", but you shouldn't expect to have more than just standard audio functionality. X-fi compatibility has only existed on linux for less than a year (in a production version).
Sound quality should be unaffected since it all happens in hardware.
Rather than asking all these questions, I recommend you grab the latest Ubuntu CD and go ahead and run it for a while off the CD. You can run it from the cd without installing anything and only install it once you are sure you want it.
I used a Linux desktop exclusively for about a decade. Back then it made sense because Windows was not very robust. Nowadays Windows is fairly solid and there are few reasons left for anyone to use Linux as a desktop. I still have Linux at home (and in fact, I am tunneling through that box right now), but it's on a headless box with no desktop. Just about the only reason I could see ever recommending a Linux desktop is in order to learn to be comfortable with Unix environments if you are entering a career in IT.
Stating things that way - that there are "few reasons for anyone to use a linux desktop - is more than a little extreme. How about: "a lot of people just PREFER linux." Go into some screenshot threads and compare windows to linux. All windows screenshots are basically the same: a different wallpaper, with different icons (if some application isn't covering them up, requiring you to close/move the application to be able to get to them
). Everything is the same. Unless you buy some add on programs, you are basically stuck with whatever microsoft tells you your desktop should look like and how it should work.
Now look at linux screenshots: the vast majority of them are totally different. There are dozens of window manager choices, including traditional or tiling managers, two or three major desktop environment choices, infinite variation in taskbars, docks, window and widget designs, number of desktops, and on and on and on. I'd say that in itself was a good reason to prefer linux. The UI of windows is substandard, inefficient, and non-user friendly. Again, nested menus and dialog boxes are *poor* user interface design (if you've ever studied GUI design, as I have). More often than not they set up barriers to getting your task done, like the example I just gave of having to move windows to get to application icons. That's poor design.
Aside from UI reasons, even with window's "improvements," linux is still arguably more stable and robust than windows. Linux is also much less susceptible to spyware, viruses, and malware of all kinds. It's also free, in both senses of the word, there is no DRM, no "genuine advantage" crap, and no privacy concerns from being beholden to a major corporation. In short, there are MANY reasons to recommend linux over windows, not few, regardless of whether the person is "entering a career in IT."