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Linux Desktop to Appear On Every Asus Motherboard

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the positive-move dept.

Portables 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."

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Out of curiosity... (4, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

Re:Out of curiosity... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23405756)

1.17 million

Re:Out of curiosity... (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406152)

Damn ACs pulling numbers out of their asses...

It's 1.18 million.

Re:Out of curiosity... (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Out of curiosity... (4, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Out of curiosity... (2, Interesting)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406210)

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.

Re:Out of curiosity... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406894)

Well, these figures come from the big names like IBM marketing. The mom and pop shops are not included but a million is a helluvahuge number, so mom and pops won't change it significantly.

Re:Out of curiosity... (5, Interesting)

Ageing Metalhead (586837) | more than 6 years ago | (#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

Re:Out of curiosity... (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405934)

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."

Re:Out of curiosity... (1)

protobion (870000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406802)

one download can and probabally usually is more than one installation.
And vice versa, as well. I do think that downloading several distros and trying them out to settle on one is the norm, thus artificially expanding the Linux "switchers" metric.

Re:Out of curiosity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406042)

42

Re:Out of curiosity... (5, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406230)

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:Out of curiosity... (2, Informative)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406518)

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 system running. It hurt at first but I've gotten to the point where me in Linux is more productive then me in Windows.

Re:Out of curiosity... (2, Informative)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406906)

Instead of dual booting why not virtualize. Then you can install many different distros and try them out, when you get fed up you can go back to the host OS for a while until you decide to try another. Plus you don't have to constantly dump you installs, keep them for year that way. Plus you can clone it, screw it up then us the clone to fix what you screwed up. Just a thought. Try virtual box from sun, its free

Re:Out of curiosity... (5, Funny)

fwarren (579763) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406880)

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...

Re:Out of curiosity... (5, Interesting)

abolitiontheory (1138999) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Out of curiosity... (3, Interesting)

edbob (960004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406496)

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 are practical considerations that prevent such a move at this time.

Huh. (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405626)

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. (5, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Huh. (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406710)

According to Gigabyte, ASUS lie to us a lot. Still, my ASUS board is good, but I have had good experiences with Gigabyte and DFI boards.

Re:Huh. (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406486)

Last time I _didn't_ choose Asus when buying a motherboard, I really paid for it with wasted time and money. I don't plan to make that mistake again myself.

Re:Huh. (2, Interesting)

atrus (73476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406664)

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 :)

Re:Huh. (1)

tkdtaylor (1039822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406852)

I went from Asus to DFI and ALL (2) of my DFI boards have now died and I'm back to Asus.

In other news... (5, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405636)

...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.

That is nice (1)

Numeros (145682) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405648)

Maybe more people will get to try linux.

Re:That is nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23405914)

Maybe more people will get to try linux.
Just don't forget to pay your $699 SCO licensing fee.

Re:That is nice (1)

MRiGnS (1125139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406108)

This maybe news to you but SCO lost...

Year of the Linux of Desktop (4, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405682)

Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will also be included.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (0, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405826)

This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support for an install mechanism where by I can double click on a single file and have it install a whole program including notifying and automatically installing programs it is dependent upon.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (0)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405948)

... because, as we all know, what people want their desktop for is to install all day long hundreds and hundreds of packages.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406028)

Because, as we all know, a kernel is useless without applications to run, and that it only takes on application that someone wants and can't get installed to make someone ditch Linux.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (5, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406104)

> This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support
> for an install mechanism...

By writing this you reveal yourself to be clueless. The kernel would never do anything so complex, that is what userspace is for. But anyway, assuming you really mean a Linux distro....

> ..where by I can double click on a single file and have it install a
> whole program including notifying and automatically installing
> programs it is dependent upon.

And just where have you been the last five years? Most RH/RPM based distros will do just that. Click on an RPM package and it will ask if you want to install it. But nobody smart does it like that. At most you would use the click to install bit to install a REPO and then just use the same package manager you use to install the distro supplied packages.

Why limit yourself to the old painful way Microsoft and Apple do things when technology is being innovated over here in Linux/UNIX land? What could be more convienent than adding a repository once and then making that 3rd party software collection a seamless part of the system. You get automatic notifications through the update widget, exactly the same as if it were included from the original OS vendor.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (0, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406696)

I lost you about half way through. And I work in IT. So the casual user (The other 99% of users) definitely won't have a clue what you are talking about. I mean I like how Ubuntu can install things from the add/remove panel but what if I want Apache on my installation and they don't offer it? What then? I'm sure the server Distro has it but what of it. I just want to be able to double click the damned thing and install it. And No RPM packages for Apache so that doesn't work.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406698)

I can just imagine when Linux get's to the point where we can play games on the desktop.
But I'm not sure any sane person would want to apt-get install Crysis 3 with a 15GB install package.
Plus,..the Linux installers leave the End User clueless as to where the program was installed too.
At least with windows,..an Icon is dropped to the desktop for one click operation. I use Elive Linux and it's a B____ to even get a working Icon to desktop.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (1)

Blice (1208832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406128)

Have you ever tried installing things through a .deb? They're pretty nice and easy, click on the .deb, asks you if you want to install, and then it installs. It puts everything in the right places, programs into your menu, etc...

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (0)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406726)

This would be great if everything was available with a .deb file which it is not.

psst (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406242)

the Apple forum is that way --->

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (2, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406266)

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.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406426)

"Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will also be included."

"This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support for an install mechanism where by I can double click on a single file and have it install a whole program including notifying and automatically installing programs it is dependent upon."
I don't see why everyone is calling you clueless. You are dead on the money. Duke Nukem Forever and putting things that clearly do not belong in a kernel in the Linux kernel will happen right around the same time. When penguins migrate to Hell for the cooler climate.

Re:Year of the Linux of Desktop (3, Informative)

basiles (626992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406676)

This will not happen until the Linux Kernel has native support for an install mechanism where by I can double click on a single file
This will hopefully never be the role of the Linux kernel. Installation mechanisms (such as package managers like aptitude) are in user land (they are ordinary programs doing system calls). Also, the kernel does not manage mouse clicks. It manage only peripherals (like USB mouses) which are sending bytes. Some application (like the X11 server and toolkits) has to understand these as meaningful clicks.

Great timing! (1, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405694)

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 (5, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405786)

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:Great timing! (2, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406002)

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:Great timing! (1)

Acapulco (1289274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406216)

From TFA: "...Splashtop enables users to access the Internet seconds after turning on their PC." So, it might not be truly "instant-on", still, if it's below maybe 5 seconds it could be considered "near" instant-on. But really, how many appliances are truly instant-on besides the fridge and the coffee maker? I mean, even the microwave oven, if unplugged and plugged again, takes about 1 or 2 seconds to initialize or whatever you call it.

Re:Great timing! (2, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406848)

But really, how many appliances are truly instant-on besides the fridge and the coffee maker?

Neither one is instant-on. It takes the fridge up to 24 hours to initialize (get cold) before you can store food in it, and coffee takes five to twenty minutes to perk.

The radio is instant on. The light bulb is instant on, unless you get a really cheap CFL.

My generation is weird; befor the transistor nothing was instant-on, after computers were built into everything nothing is instant-on. They shouldn't call us the "boomer generation" (even if some of us did blow stuff up REAL GOOD), they should call us the "instant-on generation".

But an under five second computer boot? That's PDQ!

Re:Great timing! (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406866)

What sort of coffee machine do you have that is instant on? Most electric coffee machines I know actually wait 'til the water is hot enough to make a good brew before they'll light up the "ready" indicator.

Re:Great timing! (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406234)

I'm waiting for a machine that turns on before I actually push the power button.

Re:Great timing! (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406026)

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.

Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of question (1, Offtopic)

McNihil (612243) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405724)

Not troll questions... seriously...

Why is Microsoft relevant or have I missed them being marginalized to oblivion?

Didn't Microsoft have a special deal with ASUS the other day regarding Windows?

GM not wanting VISTA? (Don't blame them.)

Why would any frugal investor stay with Microsoft these days?

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (3, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405882)

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.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406896)

Sorry to burst your bubble, but my new Vista machine boots up to the desktop about 15 seconds faster than my girlfriend's new Macbook boots up to the desktop in Leopard. And it is a fair comparison as both were bought the same month and have very similar memory and CPU amounts/speeds.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405894)

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.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405952)

Wow, I was going to go grab a finance report on MSFT to show why investors stay with Microsoft, but really Microsoft stock has been in a roller coaster decline sense 2000.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406190)

Make sure you're factoring out the background (the fact that the whole market has been in a roller coaster decline since 2000). I'd expect MS to be down relative to the market, but not yet down too much. Yet.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (1)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406196)

roller coaster decline sense 2000
huh, so their stock price has moved lock-step with OS quality... who knew?

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406222)

Wow, I was going to go grab a finance report on MSFT to show why investors stay with Microsoft, but really Microsoft stock has been in a roller coaster decline sense 2000.
Exactly. Look at my previous post [slashdot.org] above. Pay attention, folks. Why do you think that the Microsoft shills and astrotufers [slashdot.org] have been here on Slashdot? Again, they are grasping at straws. They know the end of Microsoft's total dominance is happening now. Again, Microsoft will continue to be a player, but their historical total industry control is definitely no longer an option now.

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406766)

It's almost like some sort of bubble popped [yahoo.com] around 2000.

OMFG STOCK PRICE FROM 2000 DROPED, MS IS NOT RELEVANT ANYMORE! IT'S THE YEAR OF THE LINUX DESKTOP AT LAST!

Re:Ok this is good... Now I have a couple of quest (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406460)

Microsoft stock has been in a roller coaster decline sense 2000.

For those who like graphs [yahoo.com] .

Is it really that exciting? (4, Insightful)

melonman (608440) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405748)

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.

Re:Is it really that exciting? (3, Informative)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406074)

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.

Also (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406200)

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.

Re:Is it really that exciting? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406236)

UH???

I think you completely ignore what Slashtop is.
Slashtop is a minimal OS on a ROM physically mounted on the MB, it has nothing to do with the REAL OS you're going to install on the hard drive.
When you boot up normally, the OS on hard drive is loaded, just as usual. I suppose that to open up Slashtop a particular key combination is needed during the boot process (just like entering the BIOS).

Re:Is it really that exciting? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406274)

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 download an illegal copy.

This can only help Linux adoption rates.

Re:Is it really that exciting? (4, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Is it really that exciting? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406492)

It's still a bit of a victory. It again validates Linux, and also ensures that Asus will be making sure their hardware has Linux support.

Re:Is it really that exciting? (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406904)

It's best to think of the Xandros as a bastardized Debian Etch. Chuck etch apt deb lines into the sources.list. You can safely do a "apt-get upgrade" but DON'T do an "apt-get dist-upgrade". You can install any Etch package or package built for Etch as long as it

1. Doesn't replace or conflict any package with "asus" or "xandros" in the name.
2. Doesn't conflict or replace kdelibs or libqt-mt.
3. Doesn't replace or conflict the kernel or supplied drivers.

Those caveats don't get in the way of much at all. My EEE has OpenOffice 2.4 from Sun's site (there is a guide you need to follow on this one so the Easy Mode icons still work), a recent Adobe reader, mplayer from Sid built on an Etch machine and installed, taglib1.5 so AlbumArt works correctly in "Music Manager (Amarok)", dterm for configuring serial devices, and a few other things that escape my mind. The biggie is being able to build Sid packages on this Etch buildhost I keep around. That is the keyhole that lets me install anything I want without losing the good job Asus did of making wireless, suspend, video, sound, and the Desktop Just Work. Once FireFox 3 goes out of beta, I'll chuck that on too.

The one improvement that is somewhat difficult is removing UnionFS. If you do things like replace OpenOffice, you want that because you otherwise lose space for every large package that is "removed" but invisibly occupying space.

Still don't see the point of burning it into ROM (5, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (2, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405928)

I would imagine the main purpose is to fix any broken OS you install afterwards, instead of digging out that old copy of Knoppix you have lying around or whatever.
True, there's a bit of a security risk, but as you said it's burned to a ROM, meaning you can't install any applications, so what IS the risk, really?

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (4, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (3, Insightful)

hike2 (550205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406112)

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.

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406144)

or you're thinking about it entirely wrong.

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#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...

Re:Still don't see the point of burning it into RO (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406584)

In practice though users have had trouble updating BIOS or any other kind of firmware. The driver to update the firmware may not be there on the user's installation of desktop Linux, Vista 64 bit or virgin XP. Power failure at the wrong time can make the motherboard unbootable. Burn a CD or worse create a floppy schemes may leave out users who don't have the necessary hardware or media handy.

People have better luck with USB sticks and SD cards. At least there in an option of bringing the card to a store or a knowledgeable friend and have them fix it properly.

*Fwooosh!* (4, Funny)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405842)

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:*Fwooosh!* (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406336)

No doubt. But seriously, this suggests that Asus may not want to be configuring their Linux EeePC's to cost more than the XP model.

At very least, the Eee pricing seems to be a chair dodging maneuver.

Wow, OVER over a million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23405868)

Is that like over a million squared, or over 2 million?

No Windows tax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23405910)

So now PCs can be sold without Windows pre-installed and without all the "the users needs an OS" noise?

Debian "Moles" What Prevents Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23405918)

Regarding the recent SSL bungle:

I'm not placing blame on anyone, but let us consider for a moment:

How long would it take a member of a rogue organization, a company such as Microsoft, or an intelligence agency to land a spot into such a role as a code monkey at Debian.org, under the guise of a pro-FOSS person? You do know all three examples above are quite savvy when it comes to infiltration, mafias, corporations, and intelligence agencies do this all of the time. So let us suppose this is what happened here, and considering the wide range of impact with this issue, I believe this is exactly what may have happened.

What checks and balances are in place to weed out potential moles? Any? And would you really know what to look for even if such a policy is in place? Perhaps this question is worthy of an "Ask Slashdot" submission?

How many Tor hidden services (.onion) were taken down because of MITM attacks related to this issue? Fucking moles!

Re:Debian "Moles" What Prevents Them? (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406000)

Since all packages have been signed off by someone we'd know exactly who had done it. It's not exactly like all packages and code can't be traced every step of the way.

Re:Debian "Moles" What Prevents Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406468)

That means nothing, the damage is already done and the person could "disappear".

Re:Debian "Moles" What Prevents Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23406734)

"Since all packages have been signed off by someone we'd know exactly who had done it. It's not exactly like all packages and code can't be traced every step of the way."

Your post is marked insightful while the parent is still 0? Exactly how does that work?

The parent's point stands: you can trace the code every step of the way all you want, but just like this SSL oops, the damage has already been done (and for how long?) and the "mole" can vanish like a fart in the wind.

Your post is not insightful, it means nothing when you have a mole inside, but nice try, do you have friends as moderators?

Can you roll your own Splashtop? (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23405978)

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.

Re:Can you roll your own Splashtop? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406298)

Why not? Current ASUS motherboards all come with reflashable firmware, why would their new motherboards be any different?

VERY useful ! (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406014)

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 (1, Interesting)

phrostie (121428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406040)

if wireless works out of the box, i'm there

ScreenDUO for linux ? (1)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406056)

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.

Neat - but not all that useful (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Can it be replaced? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406078)

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 (5, Informative)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (4, Interesting)

bberens (965711) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

geekmansworld (950281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406154)

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.

Motherboard Malware! (3, Funny)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406174)

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 ...

Bundling? (1, Interesting)

Aziabel (809983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406206)

Don't get me wrong, I'm a Linux-ite through and through, but this automatic bundling business is one of the huge anti-competitive issues with Microsoft. And again, don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see Linux (in any flavour) being adopted more widely throughout the world, but isn't one of the basic principles of GNU/Linux/FOSS/etc freedom and choice? What if you don't want this feature on your motherboard? What if you want a different flavour of Linux? Yes, you're right, ASUStek is NOT a GNU company/organization. Yes, you're right, you CAN choose not to buy an ASUS board (just like you can choose not to buy a HP or Dell preloaded with Windows). But if bundling is wrong for one, how can it be right for another? Just because you don't have the majority of the consumer market, doesn't make the practice any more justifiable.

Re:Bundling? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406712)

this automatic bundling business is one of the huge anti-competitive issues with Microsoft.

Because Microsoft are a monopoly. Bundling Free Software is hardly anticompetitive — other manufacturers are free to bundle the exact same software, or even bundle modified versions. It's pro competition.

Yes, you're right, you CAN choose not to buy an ASUS board (just like you can choose not to buy a HP or Dell preloaded with Windows).

Sure, you can choose not to buy something bundled with Windows. And you pay the price by being cut off from a vast supply of software that the rest of the world uses. Choosing to forgo this motherboard with its bundled Linux doesn't disadvantage you in the same way because there isn't an entire industry locked into it.

Just because you don't have the majority of the consumer market, doesn't make the practice any more justifiable.

Of course it does. Anticompetitive practices aren't intrinsically bad, they only become bad when they harm the market. If you don't have a monopoly market share, then anticompetitive actions don't harm the market, they harm your business as people switch away from you.

it isn't bundling .. (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406720)

"Don't get me wrong, I'm a Linux-ite through and through, but .."

Is there ever anyone who posts here who isn't a 'Linux-ite' :)

"if bundling is wrong for one, how can it be right for another? Just because you don't have the majority of the consumer market, doesn't make the practice any more justifiable"

Because Asus doesn't hold a virtual monopoly on the OS, the Applications and the server protocols. And it isn't as if they are forcing you to use it.

"Within seconds of turning on the P5E3 Deluxe motherboard, you can boot [slashdot.org] into this Linux environment"

And unlike MS and BeOS, they won't force you to boot from a floppy [theregister.co.uk] to access Windows.

Big target. (3, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406394)

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-)

Does this really count as a "desktop" (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406406)

Regardless of the OS, does this really count as desktop ?

imagine... (1)

kylie69 (921403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406416)

a Beowulf cluster of these mobos!

A little customization goes a long way (1)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 6 years ago | (#23406422)

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the details of this software. Does this SplashVM provide hard disk access (since it obviously provides sound access for Skype)? If so, think VMware or Xen built straight into the image or early parts of boot... virtualization and absolute rollbacks for the masses.

As an eeepc user, I am very much applauding Asus for their use of Linux to provide further value to their products. Ubiquitous Linux in this fashion can't be wrong!
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