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Portables Media Software Hardware Linux

Windows Laptops Ship With Linux Media Player 264

hqm writes "Maybe this is the real way Windows will be made irrelevant, not by a Linux desktop, but by Linux embedded software. LinuxDevices has an article stating 'NEC is the latest vendor to announce a laptop with a built-in embedded Linux based media player option. The NEC Versa S3000 will use InterVideo's InstantOn technology to enable users to listen to music, watch DVDs, and more without having to wait for Windows to load. Another major laptop vendor, Toshiba, in July launched its Qosmio laptop, which also includes a Linux-based media player environment. NEC will market the S3000 in Hong Kong and China. The laptop also includes InterVideo's popular WinDVD DVD playing software, which is also available for Linux.'"
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Windows Laptops Ship With Linux Media Player

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  • ok, but then what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chachob ( 746500 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:20PM (#10060475)
    the user will eventually turn the machine on, and then what? does this technology work after the machine has already booted into windows? people generally dont buy a computer to only listen to music or watch DVDs...And furthermore, this isnt really making windows obsolete, its just adding functionality to the system.
  • Wooohooo! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BenjiPenguin ( 767955 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:20PM (#10060476)
    Bye bye Windows XP Media Center Edition!!! Honestly, are people going to wait for all that crap to load or get something much sooner, with Linux? Providing a good interface, this could very well be a big problem for Microsoft (not that Linux isn't already...)
  • by Donny Smith ( 567043 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:23PM (#10060523)
    >Maybe this is the real way Windows will be made irrelevant

    Phew! "Irrelevant"!

    And straight to the point - it's not about a nice (cost-effective, elegant, etc.) way to meet user requirement, it's about the demise of Windows, right in the first sentence.

    Give me a break and learn to write articles without trolling!

    The only thing that will be made irrelevant is, thanks to highly insightful articles like this.
  • by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#10060563)
    What a waste of money to have to buy all that extra crap when the notebook is easily able to do it in software. It's an even bigger waste in a notebook where space for internal peripherals is at a huge premium.

    What are you talking about? This is software, blockhead. It's just committing resources at startup to another os(Linux)so less resources can be used to play media. It's not hardware at all. Except that it's on a laptop.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wudbaer ( 48473 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:27PM (#10060573) Homepage
    You mean as in DOS games or other DOS programs that brought their own DOS extenders, sound drivers, gfx drivers etc. ? Like in game consoles ? Like in programs for the good old home computers like the C-64, Apple II and the like that often brought their own OS-like routines delivering functionality the machine either did not have or (most cases) to do some kind of copy protection ? Everyone re-inventing the wheel every time in a incompatible way with a different look-and-feel ?

    Sounds like a great idea. NOT.
  • Re:Wooohooo! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:30PM (#10060610)
    Um, have you ever heard of OS/2?

    OS/2 Warp came out over a year before windows 95, and it did everything MS promised win95 would do plus a lot more. People still waited the extra year, win95 failed on most of its promises; OS/2 was far superior, and yet people still bought win95.

    OS/2 warp could also run windows applications, and since OS/2 was far more stable and one app couldn't bring down the whole system, it was a long-standing joke that OS/2 was a far better windows than windows...Oh, OS/2 was also cheaper.

    I was using the windows version of borland C++ on both systems quite a bit back them. I caused windows to completely crash a lot. The same errors on OS/2 wouldn't even close the C++ compiler, it would pop up a message that my app did something wrong and would be closed. I would click OK and I was right back to the compiler screen.

    This will not be any problem for Microsoft.

    ProfQuotes []
  • Power Consumption (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Morgahastu ( 522162 ) <bshel@@@WEEZERro ... my fave bands n> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:33PM (#10060650) Journal
    Since the OS booted to play DVDs and MP3s should be very light weight and minimal, will power consumption be noticably lower in this mode compared to watching DVDs in windows? I believe the media is decoded with hardware too, further optimizing the power usage. This would be great for watching movies on a plane, with wi-fi off of course!
  • This is a really good idea for certain functions that require a lot of RAM and processing power that might otherwise adversly affect the Windows XPerience(tm), but how will this make Windows irrelevant? It isn't replacing windows.

    At the risk of getting flamed, I'd say if anything, it sounds more like an admission that Windows can't be beat on the desktop. So, avoid the confrontation by "competing" with embedded tech where Windows is know to suck.

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:41PM (#10060736) Journal
    In this aspect I disagree... Microsoft has turned windows media player into the worst piece of crap I have ever used and deserves a black eye.
  • "innovate" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:42PM (#10060746)
    I wonder how XP embeded would compete.

    MS is always behind in technology and will continue to follow. They bang their drum louder to draw attention to themselves and "WOW", the public buys their rhetoric hook, line, and sinker.

    Whatever Long(wait)horn is, it will be behind graphically what Apple's Tiger will be and whatever Sun is doing on the desktop.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by merlin_jim ( 302773 ) <James.McCracken@ ... m ['pul' in gap]> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:44PM (#10060771)
    One of the primary advantages of an OS (besides the GUI fluff) is that you have a unified centralized driver store. I'm not just talking about graphics cards and sound cards and ACPI, either, though that is certainly important.

    I'm talking about data access layers, common control libraries, runtime environments, and the like.

    Right now if there's a bug or vulnerability in my data access layer, Microsoft can update one file on each machine to fix that vulnerability in every application. In the system you describe, each one would have to be patched seperately. If you forget to patch one, it either continues to use the bad stuff, or just stops working.

    This applies to Linux too... that's the point of dynamically linked libraries.
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:49PM (#10060803) Homepage Journal
    However, if they start building in hooks for games to use it could get interesting.... with a few million of these out there what game manufacturer wouldn't want to have an 'instant on' game with no installation/windows issues?
    You mean, like a playstation, or gamecube, or xBox or gameboy, or dreamcast, or saturn, or genesis, or SNES, or TurboGrafx 16, or NES, or master system?
    Rumor out on the street is that game manufacturers may be into these.....
  • First off, it's just a chip. Probably a small one. Maybe a daughterboard. It's not a ton of hardware in any case.

    My windows machine wakes up from hibernate in 30 seconds. Sleep in 10. That's not counting time to take it out of lock and load the app.

    The key here isn't that this is just another way to watch DVDs. It's a way to turn a complicated and error prone computing device into an appliance, with the stability that entails.

    Also, I'm sure that booting into this mode saves battery life on processing power and boot up time. All of a sudden the battery can last longer than the DVD! (certainly not the case with my Thinkpad T30)

    And finally, sure I could buy a portable mp3 player... and a portable DVD player... but they don't make portable DVD players with 14 inch screens. A low end 7 inch screen you can get for $200. I think the high quality 10 inch screens will run you upwards of $600. And as for the mp3 player... to get as much music on that as you can carry on a laptop, you'll have to shell out $200+ for a hard drive based player.

    And when I'm travelling on business... that's three devices to carry instead of one. That makes a huge difference, especially if flying (three devices means extra luggage means extra inconvenience)
  • Re:Decentralizing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sean23007 ( 143364 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:01PM (#10060934) Homepage Journal
    I think the problem with your idea is that you don't seem to have thought it through completely, and you certainly haven't explained it thoroughly. What the other responders are saying is that what you describe is pretty much how things used to be. It's how things currently are in consoles. PCs are more versatile than consoles, and a large part of that (and one of the main advances in operating system technology over the years) is multi-tasking. As in, the ability to run multiple programs at once. Your idea seems to go back to the days when that is impossible. However, assuming that's not what you meant, and you want several programs running concurrently, each with their own operating system, you will soon discover that there are all of a sudden 5 or 6 or more operating systems running on your machine. And the running code ... well, there seem to be 5 or 6 or more identical copies. So why not roll that identical code into one process or set of processes, which would dramatically increase efficiency? Well, if we did that, we'd have something I like to call a general purpose "operating system." Basically, you're proposing a step backward that is unnecessary. If you still disagree, please explain.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by btwIANAL ( 763061 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:06PM (#10060978)
    Unfortunately this would be highly waistful. The OS is what takes care of memory management and processor scheduling. If you have each app boot it's own os, then programmers are going to have to proverbially reinvent the wheel each and every time they write a program. And on top of that the wheel would have to be diferent each time, due to copywrites on many efficient algorithms. Then comes the worst part, your because of memory management and processor scheduling, you are enabled to run multiple processes "simultaneously". If each program has it's own kernel then you would have to dedicate the entire machine to one task at a time.
  • by doofusclam ( 528746 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:08PM (#10060998) Homepage
    Not necessarily. I doubt your BIOS can do all the power saving tricks that your full OS can do, regardless of whether that is Linux or Windows. This includes processor throttling, h/d power down etc etc.
  • Re:Wooohooo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timmyf2371 ( 586051 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:13PM (#10061049)
    Many people say the open-source option is all about choice - why is it I see so many posts like this where we're recommending offering other computer users have no choice in the operating system they use, instead forcing them to use a Linux-based operating system?

    My rule of thumb is that I'll always offer the option of Linux when helping to fix a PC problem, but if they reject that option (for whatever reason) and are unwilling to use it currently then I'll teach them how to properly use a Windows-based machine. I've had my current Windows installation installed for some time now, and it's because I know how to take good care of it. Not only are you proposing we remove choice from the user, but by refusing to help unless with a Linux-based OS, you're indirectly contributing to the number of Virus/Adware infested PCs.

  • Re:Shift? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShaggyBOFH ( 694048 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:15PM (#10061066)
    What about multi-tasking? For example, some people may play "new-cool-guy-RPG" and also view a walk-through office document explaining how to win the game they just played $60 for. They may also want their IM client, music player, and web browser going.

    You have a good idea, but under further examination, I don't think it's really practical. I can already see my desk with a bunch of Knoppix Nintendo cartrages.

  • Irrelevant? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GoatEnigma ( 586728 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:23PM (#10061133) Homepage
    "Maybe this is the real way Windows will be made irrelevant"

    Sorry to point this out, but Windows will never be made irrelevant. Fact is, its been running 90% of the world's desktop PC's for a decade, and brought computers to the home market in a way never seen before. Its already made its place in history, and will never be regarded as "irrelevant".

    Perhaps the word you really meant to use was "obsolete", but ... well, the comment I was going to make has been made many, many time before so I'll leave it at that.

  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:35PM (#10061203)
    I'm sure that if Billy G. and the boys really wanted to make a Windows OS kernel that did nothing but play DVD's, they could make it shit-hot fast too.
  • Re:Wooohooo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuggetman ( 242645 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:39PM (#10061247) Homepage
    So what, if you do something I didn't ask you to do, and do it for me on your own time, I'm required to be grateful, even if I don't like it?

    "What the hell do you mean you dont want the manual shifting car and want your automatic back? it's better man! can't you see that! god you're so ungrateful!"
  • by FlyingOrca ( 747207 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:54PM (#10061374) Journal
    Uh, it's not seperate (not separate) hardware

    Uh, it's a bad idea to correct someone's proper spelling with your own incorrect one. The word is indeed spelt "separate".
  • by pinkocommie ( 696223 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @06:12PM (#10061527)
    First off, that was not a typical experience, I've had a deskjet up and running in under a minute on Windows XP, plug it in, ding ding hardware found, printer found, hardware installed , worst case it asks me to choose which printer driver (deskjet 720 vs 722), increasing the time to 2 minutes tops. Same goes for a couple of other printers, the only printer it took me longer then 2 minutes to install was an HP Jetdirect Color Laser. And i'm not slamming linux, i use it love and advocate its use not to mention i've never really setup printing on Linux (workplace = Windows, rarely print from home). Bottom line your comparison is inaccurate.
    Also about the comparison about your friend, thats the way it always is if you want to switch people over from anything, you make it similar or provide a ton of tips and help to make the switch easier, anyone remember the early versions of word and their 'help for wordperfect users' option?
    If you want to get people to switch the learning curve must be minimized radically (a la XPde) , and again i'm not saying that getting people to switch is of paramount importance , but if thats your goal....
  • Re:Shift? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SillyNickName4me ( 760022 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @06:24PM (#10061631) Homepage
    I am getting this deja vue feeling... anyone here remembers the Commodore plus 4?
  • Re:Insightful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fnord ( 1756 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:03PM (#10062492) Homepage
    You don't really seem to understand how an operating system works. I don't mean the gui/desktop/environment that has become part of the OS, I mean the kernel (which in computer science terms IS the operating system). You can't just have programs just multitask because they're on the same computer. They're competing for resources! There's only one (ok maybe two) proccessor. Only one video card. Only one sound card. Only a single memory address space. Something has to mediate, hand out these resources to the programs that need them, and stop those programs that don't. This, is the operatings system. You don't actually have 5 or 6 programs running on your processor at the same time, you have an operating system that interupts each program when its allocated time slot is up and hands it over. It also divides up memory, protects regions of memory from other programs, allows multiple programs to draw to screen at once, allows multiple programs to send internet traffic, all because these programs make requests of it and it passes the requests on to hardware.

    Now considering your previous direction, you're probably going to say each program can just be good and give up control of the processor when it doesn't need it, or just be good enough not to go outside of its bounds in ram. What you would have described, in this case is Windows 3.1 or MacOS Classic. Both of these systems are horribly crash prone, and low performing because they don't keep sloppy programs from doing bad things, hogging proccessor time, straying in memory, accessing the sound card when another is using it. Hell, even if you have well written programs, a cooperative multitask system isn't going to perform as well. The way you split up processor and memory is highly dependant on what is going on in the system as a whole. A single program can't make the proper judgement call on how much processor time to take. Only a program that's monitoring the whole system and who's sole purpose is dividing up resources can make that call. That program again is the operating system.

    And you say you don't want to multitask. Well what if some of the other tasks are things being handled by the os? Each program shouldn't contain an entire TCPIP stack. That's a massively complex piece of software. That lives in the operating system. Or it could be in a separate program that you communicate to but that's just describing a microkernel system with a tcpip server. Just another form of operating system.

    And lastly, even if you don't need services like tcpip and you don't need to multitask, and you just want a program to have access to hardware, you have to deal with the fact that hardware is different! Doom3 written directly to the radeon X800 wouldn't work on the geforce 6800, or other radeons for that matter. You need something to abstract the hardware, a driver. And guess what, drivers are just a plugin to your operating system. They OS needs to present the hardware as a generic abstract device, with the implementation details handled by the driver.

    Consoles get around this by having consistent hardware. Carmack can write directly to the hardware because he knows what it is. And things like tcpip are implemented in the developer kit which is kind of like a very stripped down OS.

    God I ramble....someone needs to shut me up.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Igmuth ( 146229 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:31AM (#10064963)
    So, basically you are describing a platform independent system, in which the user can dynamically load various different plugins in which each preform potentially completely differnt functions? There would be some sort of standard API to allow the plugins to interact with the user and the world, and generally do things.

    Hmm.. sounds just like an OS.....

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