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Portables Linux Business Hardware

Linux Desktop to Appear On Every Asus Motherboard 471

Posted by timothy
from the positive-move dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We first heard about Splashtop back in October, when the instant-on Linux desktop was announced. At the time it was a really exciting concept but Asus only rolled out the technology on high-end motherboards. Splashtop just announced that Asus will be expanding the desktop to the P5Q motherboard family and later on to all Asus motherboards. That's embedded Linux shipping over a million motherboards a month! The release also mentioned that the technology will be appearing on notebooks this year as well."
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Linux Desktop to Appear On Every Asus Motherboard

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  • I RTFA and cursed (Score:5, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:18PM (#23405786) Journal
    It's that damned juvenile geek.com, and TFA's not much longer than the summary.

    And it ends with "Read the press release" that the submitter should have linked in the first place rather than that incredibly BAD geek.com) "here" [prweb.com].
  • by joggle (594025) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:31PM (#23406074) Homepage Journal
    I thought the way they're doing this is this is a minimal Linux distro and is embedded in the motherboard. At boot, you would have the option of booting off your hard disk as usual or you could chose to boot off of the embedded OS if you just want to check your e-mail, talk on skype or browse the web. Seems pretty neat to me, especially considering it would boot in just a couple of seconds.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:32PM (#23406104)
    > This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support
    > for an install mechanism...

    By writing this you reveal yourself to be clueless. The kernel would never do anything so complex, that is what userspace is for. But anyway, assuming you really mean a Linux distro....

    > ..where by I can double click on a single file and have it install a
    > whole program including notifying and automatically installing
    > programs it is dependent upon.

    And just where have you been the last five years? Most RH/RPM based distros will do just that. Click on an RPM package and it will ask if you want to install it. But nobody smart does it like that. At most you would use the click to install bit to install a REPO and then just use the same package manager you use to install the distro supplied packages.

    Why limit yourself to the old painful way Microsoft and Apple do things when technology is being innovated over here in Linux/UNIX land? What could be more convienent than adding a repository once and then making that 3rd party software collection a seamless part of the system. You get automatic notifications through the update widget, exactly the same as if it were included from the original OS vendor.
  • This is not Linux (Score:5, Informative)

    by JeremyGNJ (1102465) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:33PM (#23406146)
    People get so excitable every time they hear the word "linux". But the fact is, this is not really Linux, not in a form that people would run as an OS.

    It's just a way that Asus found to leverage something that is free, in order to avoid having to write their own own code for motherboard diagnostics and such. No one is going to "switch to linux" because their motherboard has a linux based diagnostic included.

    Maybe Asus will put the work "Linux" in bold letters of the mobo box, but this will not do anything. It will not "bring linux to the masses", because anyone who's actually buying a motherboard (as opposed to buying a pre-built computer), already knows what Linux is and will either run it, or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:38PM (#23406236)
    UH???

    I think you completely ignore what Slashtop is.
    Slashtop is a minimal OS on a ROM physically mounted on the MB, it has nothing to do with the REAL OS you're going to install on the hard drive.
    When you boot up normally, the OS on hard drive is loaded, just as usual. I suppose that to open up Slashtop a particular key combination is needed during the boot process (just like entering the BIOS).
  • by AmaDaden (794446) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:51PM (#23406518)
    Well at least I know who to call when i'm having problems installing an OS.

    In all seriousness I've been there. my best advice is dual boot but set some ground rules on what you permit your self to have in windows(or what ever OS you work best in but want to get off of). Personally I have the "no casual web browsing in windows" rule. Not doing anything that is windows only and want to browse the web? time to reboot. It keeps me in Linux 90% of the time so i (finally!) learned a lot about keeping a Linux system running. It hurt at first but I've gotten to the point where me in Linux is more productive then me in Windows.
  • by basiles (626992) <basile@st[ ]nkevitch.net ['ary' in gap]> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:59PM (#23406676) Homepage

    This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support for an install mechanism where by I can double click on a single file
    This will hopefully never be the role of the Linux kernel. Installation mechanisms (such as package managers like aptitude) are in user land (they are ordinary programs doing system calls). Also, the kernel does not manage mouse clicks. It manage only peripherals (like USB mouses) which are sending bytes. Some application (like the X11 server and toolkits) has to understand these as meaningful clicks.
  • it isn't bundling .. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:01PM (#23406720)
    "Don't get me wrong, I'm a Linux-ite through and through, but .."

    Is there ever anyone who posts here who isn't a 'Linux-ite' :)

    "if bundling is wrong for one, how can it be right for another? Just because you don't have the majority of the consumer market, doesn't make the practice any more justifiable"

    Because Asus doesn't hold a virtual monopoly on the OS, the Applications and the server protocols. And it isn't as if they are forcing you to use it.

    "Within seconds of turning on the P5E3 Deluxe motherboard, you can boot [slashdot.org] into this Linux environment"

    And unlike MS and BeOS, they won't force you to boot from a floppy [theregister.co.uk] to access Windows.
  • Re:Great timing! (Score:3, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:08PM (#23406848) Journal
    But really, how many appliances are truly instant-on besides the fridge and the coffee maker?

    Neither one is instant-on. It takes the fridge up to 24 hours to initialize (get cold) before you can store food in it, and coffee takes five to twenty minutes to perk.

    The radio is instant on. The light bulb is instant on, unless you get a really cheap CFL.

    My generation is weird; befor the transistor nothing was instant-on, after computers were built into everything nothing is instant-on. They shouldn't call us the "boomer generation" (even if some of us did blow stuff up REAL GOOD), they should call us the "instant-on generation".

    But an under five second computer boot? That's PDQ!
  • by belligerent0001 (966585) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:12PM (#23406906)
    Instead of dual booting why not virtualize. Then you can install many different distros and try them out, when you get fed up you can go back to the host OS for a while until you decide to try another. Plus you don't have to constantly dump you installs, keep them for year that way. Plus you can clone it, screw it up then us the clone to fix what you screwed up. Just a thought. Try virtual box from sun, its free
  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:22PM (#23407084)
    1) No it hasn't, it's been pretty steady once they were past the bubble burst.

    2) The only big fall is there because you cherry-picked a timeframe that included the last-gasp of the tech bubble, thereby ensuring it'll show a huge drop. Any other tech company's stock price graph will look the exact same way. Bump your graph forward to 2001, and suddenly it looks... pretty steady.

    Cherry-picking values to show what you want to see != "roller coaster decline."
  • by L Boom (1274024) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:37PM (#23407360)
    I don't think they're misunderstanding, they just disagree. I'll put it this way: I just switched to Linux this past January and I'm extremely happy with it. With the exception of the wireless in my laptop (Broadcom), it was incredibly easy to get Ubuntu (and a few other distros I was messing around with) up and running, and be able to play around with it.

    I was completely illiterate with regard to command line stuff, but I've figured out a great deal along the way. Even when I first began, installing packages was probably the single easiest thing to do in the OS. Installing a package from Synaptic is ridiculously easy, and it grabs all the dependencies an application needs. Anyone with so little knowledge of how computers work that they can't figure out a package manager is someone who wouldn't be doing anything like installing their own programs in Windows, so that's really not a fair comparison.
  • Re:Bad Precedent (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:39PM (#23407382)
    Well your Mac has a boot operating system called Open Firmware (written in Forth, gack). It's a little different than this ASUS idea but not much. Sun machines have something similar in firmware. It's not intended to be a primary OS.
  • by Taibhsear (1286214) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:46PM (#23407528)
    This is how it is implemented. I have the P5E3 PREMIUM. The Linux boot is called Express Gate. It boots in about 5 seconds and gives the option to go into bios, the installed OS, or the express gate. You can use email, web browser, skype, and use flash drives (I believe this was first implemented to help update the bios more easily). Uses Splashtop desktop. Here's some quick info on it [computerhope.com].
  • by wampus (1932) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:53PM (#23407666)
    A few STB's may be running Linux, but a good chunk of them are running SARA or Passport.
  • by thelexx (237096) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:03PM (#23407804)
    I'm not sure about that. On PC's I'm familiar with anyway, you aren't 'entering the BIOS' when you hit F10 (or whatever) at startup. You're entering the part of the BIOS code that allows user configuration. The BIOS is in fact what shows you and allows certain key presses to do things at startup to begin with. If the BIOS is altered to not show and not act on those keypresses, then Slashtop won't be available.

  • by timbck2 (233967) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2kcbmit>> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:27PM (#23408248) Homepage

    Well now come on, there's been embedded versions of windows for quite some time now
    My car's (Acura TL) navigation system runs Windows CE [linuxkiddies.com]. Not that you'd ever know it, there's no hint of a Windows-type interface at all. I think all Honda nav systems are the same.

  • Set-top box (Score:3, Informative)

    by HeroreV (869368) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:39PM (#23408446) Homepage
    STB means "Set-top box" according to Wikipedia.
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:52PM (#23408648) Journal

    Very well said. I like to think of myself as well informed, but you can't pay me enough money to run Linux on a games machine I share with my teenage son. It's just too much damn work for a lower framerate.
    Not trying to convince you otherwise, but, oddly enough, two of the three games I've played on my desktop in the past 3 years actually run BETTER in linux.

    Oblivion doesn't (or didn't) like Cedega when I tried it. WoW and Guild Wars would blue-screen in Windows, but ran without many problems in linux (other than WoW breaking every 3 weeks because of some weird patch)

    Of course, I've ditched WoW and grew bored with the mechanics of Oblivion, so now GW and I live happily in Linux... though I may have to switch back to windows for awhile, depending on whether or not TexMod works under wine as well...
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:54PM (#23408672) Homepage Journal

    but my new Vista machine boots up to the desktop

    Sure, it looks like it's booted to the desktop...but have you tried doing anything?

    Windows has been progressively delay-loading more and more, so while the upfront cost is cheaper, and it seems to be quicker, the time until you can actually do something of use hasn't really improved.
  • by TwinkieStix (571736) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:57PM (#23408732) Homepage
    Windows is a class of operating systems - Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Mobile. Linux is a class of operating systems - Ubuntu, Fedora, Slackware, etc.

    Each distribution of Linux aims to achieve a different goal just as Windows Mobile and Windows Vista are inconsistent and aim to achieve a different goal. You can't install just any Windows Vista package on your Windows Mobile phone can you?

    Linux is not inconsistent. Linux distributions are inconsistent, but that's ok. What we really need to do is stop calling our distributions "Linux" and start calling them by their proper names (Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian). Then the myth of inconsistencies will start to fall away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:09PM (#23408914)

    According to the Census Bureau [census.gov], there are about 4.8 million businesses with 2-500 employees, and about 19.5 million companies with only a single employee. They don't have the clout of IBM, but there sure is a bunch of them. It'd be interesting to see what they do to the statistics.

  • Re:Huh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Znork (31774) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:44PM (#23409432)
    It depends on the board. Some MSI boards are flashable with the metod you mention; for the K9N Neo-F I can't even get a bios file to download from MSI. You apparently _have_ to use Live Update to update it.

    Had it supported the method you mention, that would have been perfectly acceptable (I went through the whole read-manual-'Ok, no load from USB disk, well, I'll just use a CD... oh, no CD, I'll write a bootable floppy, uh, where's the download link for the BIOS... uh... there isn't a download link for the BIOS. I have to use _WHAT_? An ActiveX control or a XP program??);

    That not even DOS based updates are possible is what had me quite appalled, the very idea of making a motherboard that cannot be updated without being up and running in a full copy of windows had previously struck me as unthinkable.

    I've had no problems with MSI boards otherwise, and as long as you do your research to avoid the Live-Update only boards you're probably fine. For me, however, the mindset that produces products with that kind of issues leaves me with a bad taste.
  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @06:24PM (#23410900) Homepage
    One is a user-friendly version, one is a developer-friendly version. Complaining about Synaptic Package Manager is like complaining about Registry Editor or Library entries on OSX.

    A number of the developer packages (like Apache) aren't available in Add/Remove Applications because there's no way to provide a default install which would satisfy even most users, nor are normal users going to want a local web server. Putting them in here would needlessly clutter up this interface with packages only advanced users would be interested in - thus there's a clear need for separate package managers (though I'd buy the argument that it would be useful to put an "Advanced" button in the Add/Remove Applications which drops you into Synaptic, and vice-versa with a "Simple" button).

    Even still, "apt-get install apache2" (or selecting apache2 from Synaptic) is still an order of magnitude easier than Windows or OSX.

    I agree that collision between "Synaptic Package Manager" and "Synaptics Touchpad Driver" is unfortunate. At least they qualify the menu entry fully.

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