I've just devised a temporary fix to the XP dilemma, I installed it on a 8gig drive and I also have a 1.2 gig drive in there. I got XP running but I can't load it up with apps, there's no room. I did put Google's Sketchup 7 on it. I am telling you if you want to model some sculpture, a building, whatever and get a good idea of space relationships, proportion, composition, etc; then Sketchup is "da bomb!" You can stack boxes or detail the heck out of a model. Of course there is a pro version of Sketchup that will let you get all photo-realistic and all. But Sketchup is another one of those apps that runs on Mac and MS but not Linux. It makes me mad! This is why you need two computers, a MS and a Linux , then you can do the Samba to share files and folders on your network and play with platform specific applications and this is why I never get good at anything. Too much fun looking around.
I did look at a Linux app that is similar to Solid Edge, a parametric 3D modelling program. Parametric is another way of saying it is vector in 3 dimensions. So you can draw tiny and scale it up large and not change the proportions. The program is called "FreeCad" and it is still in the early stage of development, yet is workable enough to play with. From the looks of it so far you can make shapes similar to how you can in Sketchup but because it is a drafting app, you have more control to model your part. It has promise because it is based on an engineering platform called Open Cascade. Open Cascade is a fancy high-end engineering drawing engine and library, probably has roots in Unix. In any case, the potential is great, it only needs a sea of users to play with it and give a flood of feedback to the developers. So all you users who wish for Linux engineering software need to step up, be interested in the development cycle.
Another wonderful app is Sweet Home3D, it is open source and Java, so it runs on Mac, MS and Linux. So Sketchup needs to catchup in this respect. This could be the thing to get descent design software on the Linux platform, Java. Gee Google, if you had written Sketchup in Java, then you wouldn't need a Mac version and a MS version or resist my urging for a Linux version. The cool thing about Sweet Home 3D is that it says interior design but it is more that that. I do not think the present documentation says all what you can do here. Parts can be modeled in other softwares and imported in to use in Sweet Home 3D.
Here's my home work assignment to you. The intent is to clear the fog in your 3D adventures. First spreadsheet the names of all the apps you use or are bound to use and then all the formats they can import from and export too. Then notice the symbiont relationships. If it is easier to make stuff in one app and export/import to/from another, this is very cool. If there are conversion apps that convert from one format to another, that also is a plus. Sweet Home 3D has the potential to do a little more than just interior design.
One thing is true, if you want to get good enough to be impressive using graphic software, you have to sacrifice. Somebody goes "hey dude, check out this and check out that", you have got to curve your killer app appetite, dedicate time to getting your chops down on what's before you. There are far too many applications to know them all. It's human nature, once you learn, say Blender, you'll tell everyone the learning curve is not so steep. You spent the time to learn the ways of the force. This is why I get so irked when folks tell me, "you can do that in Blender real easy". Yeah, if you know Blender!! Anyway, Sweet Home 3D will export to Blender if you want photo-real rendering and also to Art of Illusion, another Java app, which has rendering capability. I know, I know, Blender, Art of Illusion, I gotta learn them too!? Yes, you have to, but at your discretion, you may find something more useful for yourself.
This is why there are nerds and geeks. They are a class of people who are not instant know-it-alls with photographic memories and total recall. They manage to cut themselves off from everyday life to immerse themselves into every knook and granny of their chosen fixation. Some find jobs at this stuff, some are so deep they will won't be happy till Ella sings (is it real or Memorex?). Me there is the teleporter and the holodeck and the flux Y capacitor.