Yes, along side your current operating systems.
In most cases when you purchase a new personal laptop, a Windows-XP operating system is already installed (oem). Or if you are considering changing to Linux on an existing computer, then you already have Windows-XP. And as of service pack 2 it does the update maintenace by itself. How secure your personal laptop will be is depends partly on your security software and how you set it up. In both cases you CAN have Linux for free, BUT you will already have paid for Windows-XP.
Wheather Windows-XP or Linux, what you do on a daily basis to produce work that you can share with others are the results of the specific applications running on that operating system. If it is just emails, text documents, images and spreadsheets then you can run firefox and open office among others on either operating system. If it is just for a good user experience, a newer look and feel, then there is even a third option. Flyakite OSX makes Windows 98,2000 and XP look and feel like Apples OSX operating system. With todays capacities on hard drives there is enough room for Windows-XP, Linux Ubuntu, and Flyakite OSX on a single computer. And you can use them like you use your shoes. What you put on now depends on where you intend to go. Commute to work, Jog in the park, or ride a horse.