Sometime ago ASUS rebranded some of their motherboards as “Express Gate”.
What is unique about these “new wave” motherboards is that they come with SplashTop Linux installed in 512MB flash memory that is embedded on these motherboards.
What does it mean? It means that essential applications (e.g. web browser, instant message client, e-mail client, etc.) that come with SplashTop Linux can be started within 5 seconds after PC/Notebook is powered on – cool huh? Well Hewlett-Packard and Dell also thought it is “cool huh?” and decided to act upon it.
This week Hewlett-Packard announced the HP Envy 133 as its competition to Apple’s ultra-thin MacBook Air notebook. Like the MacBook Air, the Envy 133 runs off an Intel CPU. With the HP Envy 133 they are also shipping an “instant-on Linux” they’ve called Voodoo IOS (Instant-on Operating System).
In addition to the instant-on Linux excitement this week for the HP Envy 133, Dell is apparently working on a similar Linux solution. Engadget has shared details surrounding the Dell E and E Slim. These notebooks are direct competition to the very popular ASUS Eee PCs. These Dell E and E Slim notebooks will use Intel’s Diamondville processors and come with a similar set of features to the Eee PC and potentially at a better price. The E and E Slim also ship with what Dell is calling “BlackTop” for providing an instant-on Linux solution.
For a few months now DeviceVM (SplashTop creators) has had a version of SplashTop that comes equipped with the Pidgin (formerly GAIM) instant messenger and other cool apps.
Distinct from most Linux distributions, Splashtop is intended to be integrated on a read-only device and shipped with the hardware, rather than installed by the user. The user can install another operating system but always has this one ready to boot, in case the other one is broken, or in case web browsing and chatting is enough. It boots in about 5 seconds. It is thus marketed as “instant-on.”
An “instant-on” operating system offers many advantages over a traditional operating system:
- It boots much faster.
- It is less vulnerable to malware as the system is mostly read-only.
- It allows for diskless computers.
- It is lighter but sufficient for running a web desktop and web applications.