hi do i need xp or vista running on my pc to install linux or can i install it with no operating system thanks for your time
GNU/Linux is an operating system - just like windows - so the short answer is: No, you don't need xp or vista or win7 to install Linux on a computer. The long answer to your question is that even though you don't NEED windows on a computer to install Linux, it can be done that way. If you use the "Wubi" installer for Ubuntu Linux, you can install it like you would a normal windows program. Or, you could get a program like VMWare or VirtualBox and make a virtual machine on windows upon which you can then install Linux.
I suppose the fact that you can do these things that I mentioned may make things a little confusing, but think of it this way: the question you asked is like asking "Do I need xp or vista running on my pc to install windows?", to which the answer is - of course - no (provided you have the disks to do a clean installation).
My advice to you: Go download an Ubuntu LiveCD and try it out. All you have to do is download and burn the CD and the operating system will then boot right from the cd after you restart the computer. This is a really good way to see if you are going to like it before installing anything.