Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Portables Linux Business Hardware

Linux Desktop to Appear On Every Asus Motherboard 471

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linux Desktop to Appear On Every Asus Motherboard

Comments Filter:
  • 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 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 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.
  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:22PM (#23405882) Homepage Journal
    Because even though people will now have the option of booting into an instant on linux desktop - 99% will wait 10 minutes to get into vista just to check their email and play on the internet anyway.
  • Why is Microsoft relevant or have I missed them being marginalized to oblivion?
    Close. What you've been seeing lately between the failed Yahoo buyout, the attempts at getting all friendly with the Open Source community, and their wrecking ball thrown at the ISO organization is Microsoft grasping at straws, trying to maintain their monopoly.

    Microsoft will remain a player, but they are being marginalized more, day by day. A few years ago, ASUS wouldn't have dared done anything like Splashtop.

    Go ahead, fanoys, mod me down because you know I'm right.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:29PM (#23406046)
    Just because you can not install applications in ROM, doesn't mean you can not infect or format local disks, USB devices or launch an attack on the Intranet which is otherwise behind a corporate firewall.
  • by hike2 ( 550205 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:32PM (#23406112) Homepage
    OK, so your READ ONLY boot-up OS is owned ... OMG, what are you going to DO? I know, REBOOT! 5 seconds later you can browse again, just don't go back to that same site ... I say with Gmail and the Google apps I would only boot my computer to a full OS if I want to save something on fixed media or play a game.
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:34PM (#23406162)
    i would imagine Asus has this set up so you can update the embedded Linux on the motherboard much like updating the firmware on any other piece of hardware or like the BIOS or router firmware...
  • 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 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...
  • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @01:39PM (#23406266) Journal
    The Linux kernel will never have such support. Native or not (whatever that means).

    The Linux kernel manages computer resources (CPU, memory, devices) on behalf of applications. It pretty much stops after loading initrd and executing /init on it. Anything after that is an application from the kernels perspective, and the flow of control becomes application driven.

    Yes, it is possible to implement an entire application at this level (I've built installers that only use this), and I suspect that the Asus effort will be implemented at this level.

    But double click installing of applications? Not the kernels responsibility.

  • 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 Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:18PM (#23407008) Homepage
    You people are not getting me at all. The point is it has to be something that EVERY SINGLE LINUX DISTRO IMPLEMENTS THE SAME. The Kernel may not be responsible for this but my point is that when people use Linux they use Linux and they don't care what distro it is they just want it to work. What you are saying may be right from a technical standpoint but it is absolutely wrong from a user standpoint and that is the point I'm trying to make. People will never use Linux if the experience keeps being inconsistent.
  • by StarkRG ( 888216 ) <(starkrg) (at) (> 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.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:24PM (#23407140)
    > but what if I want Apache on my installation and they don't offer it?

    Bad example since they all do include Apache, but I get your point. Ok, here is how it works. Lets take Fedora since I was talking about RPM based systems and I don't know nearly as much about Debian based ones.

    Fedora is based in the USA and sponsored by Red Hat, Inc. so they can't include certain radioactive bits that almost everyone wants, like mp3 support. So you just hop over to and click on the link for your version of Fedora. It serves you up an RPM package for their repository and the browser does the right thing. Up pops a dialog box asking if you want to install the package and if you say yes it prompts for the root (administrator for you Windows folk following along) password. Once that one small package is installed all of the software maintained by Livna (safely outside the USA) is a part of your system.

    But nothing much has actually happened yet. Next you launch the same package manager you use to add/remove OS components and you find that a lot of new things have appeared. And when Livna updates a package it appears in the list of packages that need to be updated right along with the ones Fedora updates.

    Contrast with the Windows/Mac world. Each 3rd party application, game, utility, etc. has to have it's own mechanism to find out if it has been updated, code to bug you to update, etc.

    The best comparison would be to imagine a world where Microsoft made Windows Update an open platform that everyone could use. So that one unlucky morning you booted up and the Windows Update gadget in the toolbar announced you had a critical update to IE, a couple of random Windows bug fixes, bug fixs from Adobe for Photoshop and Flash Player and a new version of your fav utility that displays your hard drive temp was available. Grr. there goes an hour and a couple of reboots. :)

    And it all 'Just Worked.' You don't have an OS and a motley collection of 3rd party apps, you have a seamless System.
  • by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:31PM (#23407252)
    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?
  • by WolfWithoutAClause ( 162946 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:48PM (#23407564) Homepage
    I love, love, love the idea of a RO OS!!!

    Currently if I go to my banking site, I have no idea whether my system is currently owned, and some keystroke logger is busy sending off my bank passcode to somebody who is going to empty my account.

    With a RO OS, I can reboot, and I'm much more likely to be able to complete the transaction without it being subverted.
  • by TechForensics ( 944258 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:52PM (#23407642) Homepage Journal
    What do you bet M$ will make sure it can't handle NTFS?
  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @02:54PM (#23407696) Homepage
    But they do know how many devices other than desktops have been made and run Linux. As someone else mentioned, Linux is in a shit load of products. People who slag it off probably don't realise how often they use Linux in their day to day life.
  • 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.


    • 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?

  • by brunascle ( 994197 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:19PM (#23409066)

    Its slower
    that's completely dependent on how you use it.

    for example, i just had to add a mime type into IIS. it took about a minute, because i had to remote login through RDP. waiting for that to connect, then waiting for a usable desktop, then clicking through the drill downs, then switching to the right tab, then clicking some buttons took about 99% of that time.

    if there was a text config file i could easily open it in notepad from my own desktop (because i would have it's drive mapped), ctrl-f for "mime" or something, and that would be it.

    speed is actually one of the biggest advantages of command lines and text config files, once you're familiar with them. with a GUI, there's an absolute minimum amount of time a change will take. with command lines and config files, it's almost entirely dependent on how fast you can type.
  • by ArtDent ( 83554 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @04:53PM (#23409564)

    Then, if you're on the command line, there's the question of what it's named.
    The question is easily asked and answered:

    apt-cache search marks great app

    Before you complain about not knowing the magic incantations, remember you're the one who raised the command line. It's easier to search for packages in the GUI tools that all modern distributions provide.

    Mac and Windows just work so much easier for installing software. Go to author's site, download 1 file, and double click. At this point if it's Windows you have a few dialogs to click through, or if Mac, even easier, just drag the application to your Applications folder. Always the latest, always the same, always easy.
    I believe all you've said is the obvious: if the author provides a packaged version of their software for your operating system, it is very easy to install it. That is true for Windows, Mac OS, and every modern Linux distribution. Fortunately, distributions like Debian and Fedora package thousands of pieces of software themselves, without requiring any effort from the original authors.

    If a piece of software is overlooked by a distribution and the author wants to package it themselves, they can. They can provide a package and it will be just as easy to install as any other package on the targeted distribution. If they provide a repository, then it will be automatically kept up to date along with the rest of the system.

    The reality is that package management on modern Linux distributions is far superior to Windows and Mac OS.
  • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @07:53PM (#23411872) Journal
    There's also the 93% of the world's population who don't live in the USA. Some of them have businesses and computers too.
  • 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.

  • I could see this particular feature being write-protected to "protect you". Then they expect you to buy a board with SD or something if you want to roll your own.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray