Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows Laptops Ship With Linux Media Player

Comments Filter:
  • Shift? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:17PM (#10060439) Homepage Journal
    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.

    Could this signal the end of traditional operating systems? My thoughts on the subject are that eventually programs will come with their own OSes and load from a kind of GUI BIOS. And why wouldn't they? Put all the conflicts on hold for a second and think about it. If programmers could select the OS that works best with their application, they would stand to profit. Subsystem patches could batch patch each application's common files intuitively, without the need of expensive Microsoft licenses. Sure right now, we're looking at all the space that would likley be required to do this, but if you gut Windows, for example, and only use the required systems, that would be a savings of about 99% of what 99% of us use regularly. Turn that power over to the applications designers and you get better (open source) components, custom built to suit each program. Yes I do see a small problem with this, in that you have to worry about identifying the end users' system specs to make sure the programs will function properly, but with the rise of web based updating systems, it would be possible to select only the necessary components to wrap with the software, reducing the overall waste on each system and making for a much more stable environment than traditional OSes.
  • Dual boot-like! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by justkarl ( 775856 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:18PM (#10060451)
    Great idea! Think of all the RAM you'd save...If only more hi-mem apps would do this, rather than run in RAM-hungry Windows.
  • Gimme the juice! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ElForesto ( 763160 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .otserofle.> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:20PM (#10060472) Homepage
    I look forward to this in more laptops so I can squeeze more movie time out of my battery. Letting the OS drain a lot of power reduces me to 1.5 hours on a single charge.
  • Good idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@g ... com minus distro> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:21PM (#10060490)
    Cross-platform software is a great idea in my opinion. The release of iTunes for Windows, I must speculate, has surely won the hearts of many MS fans. Even the smallest sway can help - getting a small amount of added respect for Linux and its software will lead some to try dual-booting or even a total reformat.

    This can only help...unless of course the software sucks hardcore. Has anyone used it?
  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:21PM (#10060493)
    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.

    All that so you can watch DVDs or listen to MP3s without waiting to boot? My Powerbook has a 74 day uptime now; I just put it in sleep mode and take it with. It takes it about 1 second to wake up and then it's ready to play movies or music.

    Even if a windows machine can't do that, You're still a lot better off buying a standalone portable mp3 player than having to pay to include it in your notebook. You can take an mp3 player a lot of places you can't take a notebook.

    ProfQuotes []
  • which player? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:21PM (#10060494) Journal
    Is it M player? []

    I use it on my main windows box and it's hassle free, plays 99% of files and I wouldn't change it for the world :)
  • Re:Shift? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Greger47 ( 516305 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:24PM (#10060536)
    Well. I don't think most application vendors are interested in becoming OS vendors as well.

    Besides, don't we reboot Windows enough as it is today?


  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:25PM (#10060546) Homepage
    How many people have got 'media' PCs to play DVDs on? This kind of technology will do well at the AOL end of the market - insert DVD, switch on machine, watch DVD. No boot time - it's just there, just like every other gadget joe sixpack has in his house.

    The fact that it's Linux probably won't change anything.. they could have used any embedded OS.

    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?
  • Others use this? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jerph ( 550853 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#10060553) Homepage Journal
    Averatec's 6200 series [] has a similar instant dvd/mp3 function. If this is the same chip, it seems to be cheap and in pretty widespread use - this company has a relatively small US sales base and is offering the system for $1250.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Other White Boy ( 626206 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#10060555) bout multitasking?
  • Legal DVD on Linux? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chrispyman ( 710460 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:27PM (#10060574)
    So does this imply that that there is finally a legal way to play a DVD on Linux? Granted it's not open source, but isn't something better than nothing?
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:29PM (#10060605)
    Have you seen the number of portable MP3 players and portable DVD players in use on planes, in cars, and whereever?

    I have. It's astonishing. I just had a friend fly in from Cleveland. He could not believe that a good number of those around him (including himself) had a DVD player going. Even more had iPods (and their variants).

    Personally I take enough shit around with me when I fly (GPS, Camera, books, music, phone/PDA, and media) do I really want to carry around a DVD player too? What happens if I already carried a laptop? Wouldn't I want that to be able to do MP3s and DVDs without having to waste the time booting after leveling out at 10,000 feet for the 35 minutes before descent?

    Sounds like a good idea to me.
  • Decentralizing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:34PM (#10060662) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like a great idea. NOT.
    Sure, *your* idea sounds bad. But your idea lacks vision. I'm talking about decentralizing the classic OS, and decentralizing Microsoft's monopoly. Linus has been doing it for years, but by more or less following the classic design of an OS. I'm suggesting a shift into a more dynamic model. What's wrong with that?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:35PM (#10060667)
    I think it's something like a BIOS, where you turn the computer on, press some key, and it goes into a dedicated media player that's kept in memory. If they want to use the computer I'm sure they can exit the media player and the computer goes on booting like normal. I think it's great, you can boot into the media player taking up as little battery power as possible and watch movies.
  • Re:Shift? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trolling4Dollars ( 627073 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:36PM (#10060676) Journal
    Actually, it does sound like a great idea. On my Atari ST, if I booted up into Leander, I had all system resources dedicated to the game with absolutely no waste. It was efficient and ran extremely well. Sure, it makes life harder for the programmers, but then again that's our job. The end user should get rock solid stability and a totally pure experience without bloat when they are working. For example, an OS that provided basic user functionailty like Web, Mail, Office Suite and nothing else would likely be rock-solid stable and very fast compared to Windows XP, Mac OS or Linux. I'll bet if it was done right, the system would boot to a fully usable state in 5-10 seconds.
  • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:48PM (#10060796)
    Good point. As much as I like linux and use it daily, Microsoft is a huge multibillion corporation. I don't see how linux is going to knock it off it's mountain any time soon. At most, it's marketshare will increase to that of Apple. That would still be a huge accomplishment, but it's unrealistic to hope it's going to topple microsoft. And even if it did, Microsoft could just focus all of it's efforts on Office to compete with open office and still make money. I've read that Office is microsoft's bread and butter anyway so it wouldn't make much of a difference.

    If some day the operating system becomes completely transparent and people can run any software on any machine, then the money will be made in the applications.

    Linux still needs it's desktop standards "enforced" better I think. The handful of distros are still competing against each other too much. RPMs should be killed. We need standards like connecting a printer will automatically set it up. Sharing over home networks works out of the box. When you plug a USB drive in, it's contents pops up on the screen. Same thing with digital cameras and mp3 players. Mass broadband adoption helps things because manufacturers can centralize their driver databases, or even just the distros can do this.

    The devil is in the details and linux still requires too much knowledge that geeks take for granted. I like how KDE is starting to take over on some of this and in a sense making operations standard across distros, but this needs to happen more often.

    It's been my experience that distros differ little for the end user. Window managers differ in their features between basic WMs to desktop environments like KDE and GNOME.

    Flame and bitch me out all you want and call me stupid for thinking operating linux requires knowledge and experience, but I bet someone can setup and share a printer and a directory faster on windows than linux if they had no background experience to begin with. We don't need to dumb everything down to a wizard, but making initial configuration easier is where standards have to be initiated.

    Oh, and before anyone thinks they should list a dozen apps that will do what I said above, if they're not turned on by default or at least given the obvious option when I install linux, then they're too difficult for the average user. And I'm sure I've either heard or currently use any package you want to inform me about, but that meant I already had to search them out, something most people aren't going to do.
  • by m2bord ( 781676 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:51PM (#10060830) Homepage Journal
    as long as it doesn't try to force feed you updates everytime you start it on ala musicmatch, attempt to take over your system, like real, come bundled with the os, like you know who, and just plain works...i'll love it.

    now if you really want to have a media player...find one that'll cook french fries and keep beer cold.

  • by merlin_jim ( 302773 ) <James.McCracken@ ... m ['pul' in gap]> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @04:56PM (#10060878)
    InterVideo has for a while now offered licensed DVD player software for Linux.

    It's just not free, which is why you've never heard of it.

    I don't know why everything on Linux has to be free and open source. Whether you like it or not, it's proprietary technology. They have a right to keep it closed. They have a right to charge you whatever they want for it.
  • Re:Wooohooo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:18PM (#10061098) Homepage
    No, what I don't like is the idea that people have that since we're all volunteers, our time is not valuable, and they can treat us like dirt when we do them a favor.

    I say they should at least have respect for someone who tries to help them.

    I do agree though with your statement about choice, and I am the first to admit that my windows boxxen work fine. However, I take responsibility for them and if something breaks and I can't fix it, then I expect to pay someone to do it, not to schmooze off their goodwill.

  • by TomorrowPlusX ( 571956 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:23PM (#10061134)
    I agree with you 100%, but I want to point out recent experiences at my office, where I'm a graphic designer, and I periodically go between windows, KDE/linux and the other 99% of the time Mac OS X.

    When I need to print, and if I need to select and configure a printer, OS X wins, hands down. I can find a printer on the network and get it configured in less than a minute. Peachy.

    on linux, a little trouble. I had to format an url to give to cups. Took about 5 minutes, but once I did it it worked.

    On windows... well... it generally takes me about 10 minutes to figure out how get the god-damned wizard to navigate to a listing where I can pick a printer from. usually takes a few back-n-forths, and sometimes it hangs as it searches the network. Generally, it takes me calling the IT people and getting them to set it up.

    My point here is that people assume windows has a better gui, just because people are used to it, and accustomed to it's failures (I'm not talking about blue-screens, those are GONE).

    My old room mate was an IT guy for a defense contactor -- a windows-only type of shop. he always snickered at my powerbook and at my thinkpad running linux. I didn't mind him laughing at linux as user-unfriendly, but he'd get on my mac and say "where's the start-menu?" "Where's windows-feature-x?" He's a smart guy, but he only knows windows, and to him, anything that deviates from windows is user-unfriendly.
  • by jsebrech ( 525647 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @05:53PM (#10061364)
    InterVideo has for a while now offered licensed DVD player software for Linux.

    No they haven't. Just surf to intervideo's site and try to buy the lindvd player. You can't, because it's not available for sale to end-users. Well, ok, so technically they've offered it to "selected partners", but frankly, that's not the meaning I associate with the word "offered".

    The license intervideo has for selling dvd players on linux has been used as an excuse by the media industry for years, and there's still not a single legal dvd player I can buy and install on my linux machines.
  • Re:Gimme the juice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Conductor ( 758639 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @06:17PM (#10061572)
    Oh, but the alternate envronment can do more to save battery energy. Like run a non-x86 processor (all of which deliver more MIPS/watt). A simple $5 ARM is sufficient if MPEG decoding is done in hardware. Other things include shutting off USB, wireless networking, & sections of RAM. Configuring an OS to shut off that stuff is clumsy because it doesn't "know" that you don't want them (unless you go into configuration & tell it).
  • Re:Decentralizing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bogado ( 25959 ) <> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @06:21PM (#10061602) Homepage Journal
    This is true, and I agree 100% with you. But this could be a good thing for certain kind of applications. Movies, games, heck even music. All of those could have a os embeded in the boot sector that would boot directly into the application, movie or whatever.

    All those application have one thing in common they require full atention of the user, and usually they would benefit if they had full atention from the CPU and memory also. Since they usually are used by themselves no lost in booting directly into them. With a clever structure it could be played troght a traditional OS also, for those who don't like the idea of rebooting their computers.
  • Insightful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @07:21PM (#10062168) Homepage Journal
    Very insightful comments, so I am compelled to respond.

    > 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.

    Yes, you are correct, so I will elaborate. I think it would be interesting to create a decentralized system of programs that handle the OS components individually, without trying to link with generics. Every program would respond better if they could have their own controls over the computer hardware that runs the show. They wouldn't load in a zillion unused apps because it would impact their own program benchmarks negatively. Computers would be more stable, like consoles. Do you know why consoles are becoming the status quo for gamers? Because the games are written for one specific system and it just works. No patches. People are sick of all the patches for computer software these days.

    When you transfer the control of main systems to a program, it makes upgrades much more difficult -- unless you have infrastructure to handle it. Companies could specialize in OS components for software packages they support, or they could do batch replacements on OS components for profit. Instead of having one company in control of it all, this method would decentralize Microsoft's role (because they would no doubt fight this and not adopt it).

    > 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.

    Who says you can't have a program running that launches other programs and multitasks them? Why do we depend on unfriendly OSes that take full control of our systems, when our software could do the same and operate independantly?

    > Your idea seems to go back to the days when that is impossible.

    Maybe it seems that way, but let me put this into perspecitve for you. What was missing when DOS was in its heyday? The internet. Today computing has come lightyears from where we were back when DOS was the OS of choice. Today we could revisit the model and build on the problems from it, and learn from the mistakes that Mac, MS and Linux made by centralizing control of software. Space was a problem then, as memory and hard drives were expensive. Today memory and hard drives are cheap and they are only getting faster and cheaper!

    > you will soon discover that there are all of a sudden 5 or 6 or more operating systems running on your machine.

    Okay, maybe today that's a problem. But when you look at the size of OSes for only specific programs, I think you see a dramatic savings. Take a browser for example. What if you never print with your browser? You could disable that from the beginning and leave it out. The options are limitless in this kind of model and the memory savings would also create benefits.

    Running a video game like Doom 3 would be ideal in this kind of model because you know damn well that John Carmack would streamline the functionality of the game to make maximum use of the system.

    Let's face it, there are apps you want to multitask and there are apps you don't. You could have the ability to multitask if you wanted your session that way, or if you just want to focus on one app you could.

    Plus software designers may want to support addons to their products in the form of plugins that let you multitask through them. For example, if you find yourself working on a website, you could use a program that lets you utilize photoshop, a text editor, FTP prog and a browser all in one nice little package. That would be totally cool, IMHO. Think of all the open source remedies for software that could exist in this kind of system!!

    Okay, so I think you get my point: shift away from an OS model, to a software controlled environment would be useful and interesting. There are many instances when I would rather only load one program than a few, but if I wanted to, plugins could exist that would let me do other things.
  • Re:Wooohooo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Deviate_X ( 578495 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:48PM (#10062927)
    OS/2 Warp Required 8mb of ram minimum to run.

    Win95 Required 4mb.

    That extra 4mb cost $300 10 years ago.

    10 years ago spending $300 extra was alot more painful then than it is now.

    I know about this because it was one of the products i used to sell. It didn't. I did hear however that OS/2 was pretty popular in germany.

  • Re:Gimme the juice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Conductor ( 758639 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:06PM (#10063501)

    Spinning the DVD is likely to be the costliest in terms of power, so let's copy the movie to the hard disk.

    A couple of posts have made this statement, but such is not the case. For example, this DVD drive [] draws less than 5 watts under continuous read. Early optical drives drew lots of power (early CD boom boxes ate batteries for breakfast for example) due to low quantum efficiency of their lasers, but this apparently has improved. I suspect that deeper RAM buffers permit looser speed control so the spindle motors now run with almost no torque load, saving power there. If you budget 5W for the DVD, 5W for decode, and 5W to the display, a 60 watt-hour laptop battery will last over 3 hours, so you could play The Right Stuff on a single charge.

    Whether you can stay interested that long is another matter.

  • by strider_starslayer ( 730294 ) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @06:25AM (#10066131)
    Interesting; I think I see where your going:

    Why buy a PS3 when you can buy sony's new laptop, put a PS3/PS2/PS1 game in there, plug in the PS3 USB controller and have it play EXACTLY like the PS3; or keep the game out and use it as a normal sony laptop; for less then the combined price of a PS3 and a laptop (That will be an important factor; if it's cheaper for me to buy both; the frugal will buy both)

    Even better would be if SEVERAL laptop manufactuerers decided on some standards (read drivers in the integrated OS) for direct boot games/applications (like video viewing). You could have any model laptop (I choose laptop because then the manufacterer will know what's in there to build the standardising drivers required for this sort of application) and the drivers built into the integrated OS will translate from the standard 'direct run game' to the laptops specs, allowing you to use the hard disk for saved games, the TV-out to turn it into a TV-based consol, and the USB to plug in controllers.

    The only problem I'd see with this sort of setup is the rapid version changes: If the designers of 'direct run' games follow consol standards (or even better; transcribe consol standards- IE; sony laptop = PS3) it will be fine, but if they keep programming like it's a PC you'll see 'computer direct boot hardware specs V1-v50' in a matter of monthes with each sucesssiv version being incompatible with the one before it, that would be bad; but if we only saw a version increase every 3-5 years, it would be acceptable.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.