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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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  • Out of curiosity... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:07PM (#23405590)
    How many people "switch" to Linux every month? I mean, if anyone has such a statistic, I'd be interested in seeing just how much this figure could potentially impact that (I know, chances are 99% of the people using these motherboards will still boot windows, but satisfy my curiosity =P).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#23405756)
      1.17 million
    • by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#23405760)
      In total, about 300 million Linux devices are produced each year. About 1% of that are servers and desktops. A larger proportion are laptops. Asus alone, sells more than a million Eee PCs per quarter. Consequently Linux laptops outsell Apple by a wide margin.
      • by neokushan (932374) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:22PM (#23405890)
        Interesting. So 300million linux devices per year, 1% of those are servers/desktops, that makes 3million a year, right?
        That's not as much as I thought it would be, these motherboards should certainly boost that figure.
        I wonder how long before Microsoft start shipping an embedded Windows version....
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ReverendLoki (663861)

          I'm wondering if this figure of 3 million includes all of the small IT shops putting out Linux boxes for their clients, or the in-house IT departments picking up some bare hardware and putting Linux on them. Or even the old "obsolete"* MS Windows boxes that are being repurposed as Linux installs.

          * Obsolete in this case meaning that it doesn't have the muscle to adequately run Microsoft's latest and greatest, but still has enough oomph to run an OS that isn't a resource hog.

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:52PM (#23409546) Journal
            I don't know if it includes it,but I have found that "refurbing" old Windows boxes makes a great way to get reliable computers into the hands of those that don't have them. I often find working with SOHO shops that they have a couple of old machines they are getting ready to toss. Most are happy to donate them to me when i tell them I'll wipe the drive and put a free Linux on them and give them away to single mothers so their children have a way to work at home.


            I found that Puppy seems to be the best mix of size and usefulness,especially on former Win9X machines. I just think it is a shame how many functioning machines end up in the dumpster when they could be given a good home. Hell,my first gaming rig,which was a Pentium 100Mhz with a whopping 32Mb of RAM is still in use at a local lumbar company running DOS 3 as a ISA controller for an ancient lathe they have making custom columns. So the thought that folks will throw out a good running computer still just strikes me a wasteful to the extreme. But that is my 02c,YMMV.


            Oh,and as a disclaimer-I have actually thrown out a running machine in the past. I had a girl bring in her old computer to see if I could upgrade it for her in class. This poor girl had actually been doing her schoolwork on a 30Mhz with 12Mb of Simm RAM running Win 3.11. I took one look at that ancient thing and told her to leave it and I'd see what I could do. When the girl left the teacher asked "you aren't actually going to try to UPGRADE that thing,are you?" I told him HELL no! And when she showed up the next day I presented her with a 550Mhz that one of my SOHO clients had donated. Last I heard her kid was still doing his reports on his "new" machine,just as happy as a clam. I tried for a week to find a use for that 30Mhz,but damned if I could find a use for it.

        • by StarkRG (888216) <`starkrg' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:23PM (#23407112)

          I wonder how long before Microsoft start shipping an embedded Windows version....
          Probably as soon as they can get vista to fit in 1gb of flash memory, make it boot instantly, be cheap, and not be a POS...

          It's one thing to have your OS die and you've got to reboot. It's another if your motherboard dies and you've got to buy another.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by neokushan (932374)
            Well now come on, there's been embedded versions of windows for quite some time now, I believe there was an image floating around of an Embedded XP that was about 50Mb or so, so it's not entirely infeasible.
            Not to mention Minwin, if Microsoft really does pull off a minimalist, modular version of windows, then it's just begging to be stuck on a ROM on a motherboard.
            Plus, what better way to lock down a system than to have the OS as part of the hardware itself?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by timbck2 (233967)

              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.

          • by ozbird (127571) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @06:40PM (#23411096)

            I wonder how long before Microsoft start shipping an embedded Windows version....
            Probably as soon as they can get vista to fit in 1gb of flash memory, make it boot instantly, be cheap, and not be a POS...

            They'd probably push Embedded XP. They've already backflipped on XP availability for the Asus EeePC etc., which does nothing to improve the image of Vista. ("Look, our soon-to-be discontinued 2001 OS can compete with Linux in the 'ultra-low cost' computer market!")

            However, I think they've painted themselves into a corner. If they bully Asus into providing an embedded XP version of the motherboards, the customer is bound to ask: "I don't want Vista; why can't I run XP as the OS on the same motherboard?" The more features that can be crammed into the embedded Linux version, the sillier Microsoft's inevitable justifications will seem ("It's not really XP", "you can't do real work in an embedded environment" etc.)
      • by Ageing Metalhead (586837) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:33PM (#23406116)
        You got to realise that almost all TV STBs are now using Linux, the only exceptions are the one's running MS Mediaroom (al la U-Verse). So I would suggest that it would be more than 300 million per year. AM
      • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @10:39PM (#23413318) Homepage

        Asus alone, sells more than a million Eee PCs per quarter.

        Huh? Asus reported 350k the last quarter of 2007, and 700k for first quarter 2008. They project 1.2 million for second quarter. However, a majority of that will be the models that come with Windows.

        Consequently Linux laptops outsell Apple by a wide margin

        Not even close. Apple sold 1.4 million laptops first quarter. Asus's 700k plus the rest of the Linux laptop vendors don't come anywhere near that.

    • by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:25PM (#23405934) Journal
      There is absolutely no way of knowing. I know that last year I installed Mandriva on 5 computer newbie machines from the CD I downloaded. So if you're counting distro downloads, that metric is not reliable; one download can and probabally usually is more than one installation.

      Many people have their user-agent say they're using IE on Windows even if they're using Linux, bacsue dimwits still code their pages to not display if you're not using IE ("please upgrade to a modern browser? It's Opera's latest!") So web site metrics can't be reliable either.

      IINM it was Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons) who said "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and ststistics."
    • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:38PM (#23406230) Journal
      I switch to linux every month or so.
      But I get fed up.
      Then I promptly switch back to whatever OS I feel like installing.
      Then I get fed up again.
      And I think 'Oh, someone on slashdot said that this is the time to switch to linux! I should try it AGAIN!'...
      then I switch to linux.
      Until I get fed up...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AmaDaden (794446)
        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 s
      • by fwarren (579763) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:10PM (#23406880) Homepage
        Here let me fix that for you

        I switch to Widnows every month or so.
        But I get fed up.
        Then I promptly switch back to whatever Linux I feel like installing.
        Then I get fed up again.
        And I think 'All the marketing says that Windows is better than Linux! I should try it AGAIN!'...
        then I switch to Windows.
        Until I get fed up...

    • by abolitiontheory (1138999) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:43PM (#23406340)
      This would be interesting to know in terms of other statistics, such as how many new computer users are there every month. If people are "switching" to Linux but that number is outweighed by the number of uninformed new users just picking up a Windows machine, then its just noise.

      The fact is it still takes a very informed choice to switch to Linux. This type of thing could go a long way towards solving that ("what, an operating system already onboard?!"), but at the same time this is only one manufacturer and its the kind of thing only people building their own PCs are going to see, anyway.

      The general market still has so much to learn about other options besides Windows. Mac is gaining popularity because of cool-factor and crossover conversions, none of which Linux has. Honestly, it won't be until you can fool someone into using Linux before they figure out its not Windows that you will see a change in general market trends. Either that or some unforeseen landmark change in the computer landscape is going to have to take place.

      In this regard, the comparison between open source solutions and alternative energy options makes sense here, except that the open source industry has had _superior_, WORKING solutions for the past decade, and the alternative energies industry hasn't. Its kind of like people choosing to stick with their internal combustion engine technology and refusing to try out a hydrogen car because "no body else does." But really, its because there's been no mass awakening to it, and unlike the energy crisis, there isn't likely to be unless someone brings it about.

      Still, this is the extreme value of Linux to me: it's portability. Not *mobility*--we'll have to wait for Andriod for that--but its ability to fit on almost any system in any way. Scaleability and flexibility also apply here. I'd love to have a trusted operating system living at the hardware level of my comptuter. It seems to make sense in a way, even: the logical extension of CMOS in a way. Honestly, you're telling me motherboard hardware has improved for the past 10-15 years but we still have no better built in soft/firmware?

      I'm doing more brainstoming than actual technical analysis here, but these are the kinds of things that get me excited like that: speculating, hypothesizing, dreaming about a more open and inherently good future.

      Technorant, out.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:15PM (#23406972)
        why must someone be "uninformed" to use Windows.

        Maybe instead they are informed of what software they wish to use, what OS it operates well with, and thus make a VERY INFORMED decision to not use an OS that would require substantial work to use with their software of choice.

        Just because someone doesn't use Linux, doesn't mean they are stupid.
        And with this type of prevelant attitude among Linux user's, you can bet that they will remain a very small minority.

        The true competition to Windows isn't linux, not on the desktop. It's Apple, and will be becuase Linux lacks quite a few things that everyday people require.
        • by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:36PM (#23408386)

          why must someone be "uninformed" to use Windows. Maybe instead they are informed of what software they wish to use, what OS it operates well with, and thus make a VERY INFORMED decision to not use an OS that would require substantial work to use with their software of choice.

          preamble:

          • Comp. Sci. degree
          • DOS since 1.0
          • Windows since 3.0
          • Linux since 0.9 (experimental machine current runs Ubuntu 8.04)
          • shipped products written in Smalltalk, C, C++, VB, Python and Java

          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.

          In fact I would argue that the reason that my game machine is Vista on a quad-core is because I'm very well informed.

          However, I could do all my work on a linux box but since I get 100% IT support with no arguments if I keep using whatever came with my corporate laptop why bother since it only makes my life harder and saves no money until the entire organization gives up on Windows?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by geminidomino (614729) *

            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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by edbob (960004)
      Actually, I don't think it is so much that people are "switching" to Linux as much as additional people are using it. For example, these mobos will probably be sold to people who will then add hard drives, optical drives, etc. and then install some form of Windows. These people would be using Linux without exactly switching to Linux. At home, I have both Windows and Linux boxes for different things. Using Linux does not mean that I've abandoned Windows. As much as I would like to go all-Linux, there ar
  • Huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:09PM (#23405626) Journal
    I always bought Asus anyway; they make good boards, and the few times I've had problems they've replaced them...Once I even got a free upgrade because they'd discontinued the board I had.

    So it's not going to change my purchasing, but it's still nice.
    • Re:Huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Znork (31774) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:30PM (#23406066)
      they make good boards

      I have to agree. I've made some forays into MSI (a relationship that was abruptly and permanently terminated when I discovered I had to have XP to upgrade the BIOS), EPoX and AOpen.

      But after that MSI foray I'll be sticking to ASUS for the foreseeable future; I have yet to purchase an ASUS board that I haven't been perfectly happy with throughout its lifecycle (well, I had one or two die of the bad capacitor issue a few years ago, but that was only 30% of my ASUS boards while 100% of the other branded boards died from it).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by atrus (73476)
      I've learned to buy Asus and SuperMicro boards only as well. You can't beat the SuperMicro boards when you need a solid but still affordable Dual-Xeon setup with 16GB of RAM :)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:10PM (#23405636) Homepage
    ...ACME brick has set up a lucrative partnership with Microsoft. As it turns out, Microsoft brick-shitting production has been increasing over the past few years and their surpluses have been able to yield a sustainable production rate. Microsoft has been unavailable for comment on their deal with ACME brick, but an ACME spokesman has been noted as having quested that Microsoft boost its dietary fiber intake in order to boost the quality of their new product.
  • by ehaggis (879721) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:12PM (#23405682) Homepage Journal
    Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will also be included.
  • Great timing! (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by sm62704 (957197)
    My PC just died; it looks like a power supply failure but I haven't disemboweled it yet to see, most likely the thing's full of cat hair and its fan stopped. If it's the power supply I'll just get a new bare-bones box.

    Now I have to research prices. Tha bad news is since I'm not really into PC gaming any more, the lowest of low end boards will do, and iinm asus is pretty high end, isn't it?

    Linux on the motherboard will free up disk space as well as booting faster.

    I'm intrigued. I guess I better rtfa now!
    • 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].
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gat0r30y (957941)

      booting faster.
      Instant on desktop is hard to beat in boot times! Which raises a question - How are we going to compare boot times with 0 boot time? How long does this splashtop actually take to load? Is it really instant on or just really fast? What can we expect coming down the pipeline? I would like to see a hybrid where most of what you need for an OS is stored in flash but if you need access to a program on the disk, you can get it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dachannien (617929)
        I'm waiting for a machine that turns on before I actually push the power button.
    • and iinm asus is pretty high end, isn't it?
      Asus has boards across the spectrum. I prefer their mid-high range stuff, but this page [asus.com] shows their breakdown of value-mainstream-highend boards (scroll to the bottom). I've had issues previously with the SiS chipsets, but that was 4 years ago so might not be relevant anymore.
  • by melonman (608440) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#23405748) Journal
    Including an OS on the motherboard makes sense for Asus - at least it is then possible to do basic hardware diagnostics independently of, say, Windows diagnostics.

    But, in terms of Linux adoption, it's only exciting if people keep linux once they've finished building the computer, and the precedents here are hardly promising.

    And, even if you like Linux (which I do), would you want to keep the version supplied with your m/b? On my first EeePC, I tried to get to like Xandros, I really did, but in the end I wiped it and installed Kubuntu. My Dark Side Brother played with Xandros until he broke it, and then installed XP. And it's going to happen even more with the EeePC 900, since the Linux version has a larger SSD than the Windows version (at least in the UK), so you buy the Linux version in order to install Windows.
    • 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 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].
    • Also (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:36PM (#23406200) Homepage Journal
      Also, the vast majority of those 1 million motherboards per month are sold to OEM's who may or may not enable the Linux functionality on their finished product. How much do you want to bet that MS will quietly put pressure on said OEM's to disable it?

      ASUS has great overclocking options in their BIOS too...until OEM's get a hold of them and put their customer BIOS in place that leaves out all the good stuff. This will be the same.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      On my first EeePC, I tried to get to like Xandros, I really did, but in the end I wiped it and installed Kubuntu. My Dark Side Brother played with Xandros until he broke it, and then installed XP.

      Noether the FA nor the actual press release they plagarized said if there was a whole distro or just a kernal, but when you have a computer with Linux (say, Xandros) preinstalled and want to change OSes, you can download any other distro of Linux free and legal, buy Windows for (imo) a stupidly high price, or downl
    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@[ ]u.org ['bea' in gap]> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:41PM (#23406320)
      > And, even if you like Linux (which I do), would you want to keep
      > the version supplied with your m/b?

      You would probably keep Splashtop because it is in flash, probably in a larger BIOS chip. It isn't intended to be your primary OS. ASUS fully expects 99% of these motherboards to end up with Vista on a normal hard drive before it is delivered to the end user.

      The right question is how many of those end users will try Splashtop and find it handy for quick excursions into the net. If that number is large Splashtop will prosper and begin to add more and more features. Five years from now will be interesting if that happens.
      • by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:43PM (#23407464)
        The place where this will likely cause the biggest problem for MS is when Joe Sixpack has problems with their Windows install. Whether it is from a virus, malware, or just the natural degradation of Windows, eventually most people end up with some kind of problem on their Windows System. Right now, most of them take the system to someone to fix the problem, just live with what they know is a problem, or chuck the whole computer and buy a new one. With a Linux desktop installed in the BIOS, many will learn the key combination that lets them boot to Linux. They don't care what OS they are using. They just want to access their MySpace page. Once they have spent a year using Linux because it worked well enough to keep them from spending the money on repairs or replacement, the idea of using Linux will not seem so strange.
  • by iamacat (583406) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:18PM (#23405776)
    Why not just include an SD card reader on the motherboard and let OEMs/end users integrate a system of their choice? In their approach, the system is not getting any security fixes. Potentially, the built in browser can be owned by simply visiting a web site. There is no way to install even a single extra application. Sounds like this has more to do with marketing than technology.
  • *Fwooosh!* (Score:4, Funny)

    by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:20PM (#23405842) Homepage
    Somewhere in Washington state, a chair is launched on a direct trajectory towards Asus's offices. Naturally NORAD is confused at first till they calculate the launch location.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Please explain to me how this change from ASUS could possibly affect the number of Windows licenses sold. I'm savvy with the chair-throwing "joke", but it has to at least slightly make sense in context.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:27PM (#23405978) Homepage Journal
    This is only useful if I can make my own splashtop image. Then it's useful for ALL KINDS of things, including media centers and most especially THIN CLIENTS. Also if you have... uhh, kexec I think? That lets you load a linux kernel from a linux kernel? Then you could jump from this right into your real distribution without having to re-POST.
  • VERY useful ! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:28PM (#23406014) Homepage Journal
    imagine your original os crashes and burns. what to do ? go seek out bootable cds - is the cd drive working anyway ? etc.

    no need. go bios, go linux, fix your hd, and install your os. or even, recover it.

    i liked that.
  • wireless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by phrostie (121428)
    if wireless works out of the box, i'm there
  • Right, nice, but when will they include linux drivers for their Sideview implementation, ScreenDUO ? For now, people buying motherboards with this addon tiny screen are left with a non-working gizmo, unless they run Vista or XP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:30PM (#23406070)
    I have one of the ASUS P35E Deluxe motherboards at home, and one of the reasons I picked it was for Splashtop. It wasn't the main reason, but I figured it was a neat addition. But honestly, Splashtop isn't all that useful.

    For one thing, for all that it's "instant on", it still doesn't load all that much faster than XP. Now maybe it's just because I have a hot processor, or a really lean XP installation, but honestly the difference isn't that noticable. Splashtop does load faster, but it's hardly "instant on"; you still need for the OS to boot.

    Then, there's the fact that all my info -passwords, bookmarks, etc.- are on my hard-drive and thus not accessible (at least, not by default) to Splashtop. So I'd have to punch all that info into a second OS (and there's no security on Splashtop, so I'd recommend against leaving any passwords in the browser).

    I suppose for laptop users Splashtop may be marginally more useful, although even they may prefer to load up the main OS, since it doesn't take that much longer to run and then they get access to all their information.

    I do like having a security blanket of having a way to check the web for help just in case XP hoses itself. Boot to Splashtop, surf the web for an answer, and then use that information to fix Windows. But in the end, Splashtop is more of a toy than a genuinely useful feature.

  • Is it possible to replace their pre-installed distribution with something like Ubuntu instead? Obviously, I am not expecting to fit the whole distro on the chip..
  • 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.
    • Re:This is not Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bberens (965711) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:06PM (#23406814)
      I think it would be really interesting to boot my computer into "energy conservation mode" which doesn't even power up the hard disks but allows me to browse the web and send e-mail with near-instant on capability. Then, if I needed more 'stuff', I could switch to "normal" mode and get to all the rest of my stuff if need be. Having spent some time using things like feather linux, the responsiveness of using a RAM disk would make almost ANY average user wet themselves with glee.
    • Re:This is not Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shatrat (855151) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:07PM (#23406830)

      No one is going to "switch to linux" because their motherboard has a linux based diagnostic included
      I expect a lot of people will try linux for precisely that reason. There is a pretty large community of hardware tinkerers and overclockers that know lots and lots about cache sizes and bus widths but fairly little about software. I have met lots of these types who convince themselves that linux is "free as in crap" so that they won't have to learn anything more powerful that windows XP.

      Now if ASUS which is a darling of the hardware enthusiast community says that linux is a powerful tool I expect some of those perceptions will be changed.
  • Bad Precedent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekmansworld (950281) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:34PM (#23406154) Homepage
    This seems like a really bad idea. Microsoft is immediately going to feel the need to compete with this (irrational as that may be). Soon enough we'll have Windows APIs embedded in the ROMS of major motherboards, and we'll pay more for these "Microsoft certified" motherboards because the added loading speed is a "feature".

    Hardware should never be tied to an operating system. I'm a Mac user, and even I believe in that sacred tenet. The consumer needs to be able to choose whatever components they want, and tose components should work together to the best of their ability.

    Because it's free, Linux on Asus boards may not impede my consumer choice at the moment. But it sets a precedent which could greatly damage the environment of choice we currently enjoy.
  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:35PM (#23406174) Journal
    Rock on... I'd like some integrated malware instead of this 'operating system' bullsh*t.

    I might even be able to steal some myspace passwords with it ... and pretend I've got friends ...
  • Big target. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:45PM (#23406394) Journal
    Microsoft and their sympathizers have claimed that the main reason it's the big victim of malware is that it is the big target, and that if other OSes were as widely deployed they'd be as riddled. Linux, BSD, Firefox, Apache, and other FOSS projects claim that it mainly Microsoft's poor security, not just the monoculture providing a big target.

    Now we have million motherboards a month shipping with an identical OS - including a network stack and a browser - in the BIOS. Heavily used in this mode by the purchasers. If this is successfully suborned by malware it can romp all over the hard drive, even if the main system install isn't booted.

    Seems to me this is a showdown between the Microsoft and FOSS sides' claims. B-)
  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker AT gnu DOT org> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:31PM (#23407266) Homepage
    This is the year of Linux on the... wait, motherboard? Who changed the script?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @03:17PM (#23408048) Journal
    This splashtop stuff looks like a cute toy, and more linux is always nice; but I'm a bit nervous about the tivoization potential. The software image being used is mostly FOSS(skype and flash excepted, as usual) and they seem to have released the relevant source; but I've not been able to find anything about how open the environment is, can you replace the image, install your own stuff on it, etc.

    If the system is an open one, it could be quite useful, and great fun to play with, I'd want several. If this is just another tivo, then it is pretty unexciting and disappointing.
  • Wintop! (Score:4, Funny)

    by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:32PM (#23409252) Homepage Journal
    Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that a new version of Windows Mobile including Pocket Internet Explorer and Pocket Windows Media Player will be available for motherboard manufacturers in the third quarter. "The initial release will be limited to a 320x240 screen resolution and controlled by tapping the "reset" and "power" buttons to simulate mobile phone controls, but we think people will find this a big improvement over those messy mice and keypads".

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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