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Fast-Booting Text-Editor Operating System?

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the hell-you-say dept.

Operating Systems 660

cgenman writes "What is the fastest booting operating system out there that is still sufficient for editing text? Quite frequently, I'll need to boot my laptop and edit a few lines of text, or jot down an idea or two. XP loads in roughly 4 minutes to usable, and Ubuntu loads in about 60 seconds. Both feel like an eternity if there isn't a pen and paper around. What is the best operating system that people have found which would load to useable in under 20 seconds, can edit text files in something a little more friendly than VI or EMACS, yet can still access fat32 formatted USB drives? GUIs aren't required, but commands which require arcane foreknowledge or a cheat sheet are out."

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Not hard (5, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#25087199)

You could go with a straight BusyBox [] , or add a slightly more robust text editor to the enviornment.
Then compile that into your initramfs, and just don't bother to do a switch_root to a real file system. As long as you've got the hardware and filesystem drivers compiled into the kernel, life is good.
See [] for more details.
This use-case is one where I would not recommend emacs.

Wake up (5, Insightful)

Renegade Lisp (315687) | about 6 years ago | (#25087201)

My laptop never shuts down, I always just put it to sleep. Flip open, hack away. Less than 5 seconds. Oh, that's under Ubuntu, by the way.

Re:Wake up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087449)

My laptop never shuts down, I always just put it to sleep. I'm a flippin' little dolphin. Watch me flip.

Hi, umm, moron? I'm sorry you can't read and everything but I'm also sorry that every time I search for info about fast-booting, there's always some pious sh*thead going on about that's not needed. Isn't there some place where you can go and congratulate all the non-booting lusers on not booting and leave those of us who want info on fast booting alone? If I worked for the TSA I would so have you in my queue and pull your g*dd*mned battery out and say "Hmmm, booting, much?"

Re:Wake up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087511)

If the question was: What is the fastest booting OS?, the op would have stopped after 7 words; he didn't because that wasn't his/her question. And you accuse Renegade of not being able to read....

Re:Wake up (0, Flamebait)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#25087565)

Why the hell is this modded interesting when it's so obviously flamebait?

He doesn't argue against putting the computer to sleep instead of turning it off. The most this AC says is that if he was in the TSA he would pull your goddamn battery out. Who gives a shit? Save what you're working on before you put the computer to sleep.

Re:Wake up (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087499)

It's less than 2 seconds for me under Vis NO CARRIER

Re:Wake up (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087521)

Hibernate is not always a practical solution.

For instance, I have an eee PC, with 2GB ram, and 4GB internal flash drive.

To be able to hibernate, I'd have to have a 2GB swap file, which would mean not using over half of the flash drive.

If Linux could reliably identify the external USB flash drives and the card reader always with the same mount point, this would not be a problem. As I could put the swap file on them. But Linux can't do that.

Re:Wake up (1)

norbac (1113477) | about 6 years ago | (#25087537)

Same here on Vista... This person is doing something seriously wrong.

Re:Wake up (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 6 years ago | (#25087561)

LinuxBIOS/Coreboot will get a system up in 3 seconds or less. Add in a busybox/light distro, and you've usable editors, network tools, utilities and the BSD games available about as fast as you'll get. Well, if you replace the flash with a large enough PROM, you might shave a little more time, as a permanent gate should be faster than a programmable gate.

Suspend to disk? (5, Insightful)

FalconZero (607567) | about 6 years ago | (#25087203)

Most modern O/S support suspend to disk [] which can give you a usable desktop in under 20s. Per your example both XP and Ubuntu can do it in that time. And that's ignoring the even faster suspend to ram which almost all laptops feature these days (granted that for that there is a power requirement).

It's not in the 'spirit' of your question, but perhaps it's a better solution to your problem?

Your mother is a walking pile of aids (-1, Troll)

(TK2)Dessimat0r (669581) | about 6 years ago | (#25087207)

Frost piss, take your cock and shove it in some machinery enjoy the blood that results

Re:Your mother is a walking pile of aids (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087467)

...shove it in some machinery.

Fine. I choose a milking machine.

DOS (5, Insightful)

shiftless (410350) | about 6 years ago | (#25087211)

How about DOS?

Re:DOS (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#25087253)

Actually not a bad idea.
Except that you're likely to hate the filesystem choices available.

Re:DOS (3, Informative)

c_g_hills (110430) | about 6 years ago | (#25087347)

You can mount NTFS/ext2 in DOS using Paragon IFSDRV. There are probably drivers for other filesystems available if one looks around. A quick google reveals a long list of DOS software at [] .

Re:DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087383)

yet can still access fat32 formatted USB drive

Re:DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087531)

Can't you just hit F8 (or F12 can't remember) to get the options for a non-regular windows start up and enter safe mode with command prompt and use the command line to open up edit?

Or is the XP version of DOS too dumbed down and retarded for this to work?

You should be able to bring up the Linux command line as well quite easily and use nano or some such text editor. Not sure as to speed on either.

Re:DOS (5, Informative)

shiftless (410350) | about 6 years ago | (#25087299)

OK, in restrospect that's funny, but I was being serious. FreeDOS meets all his requirements. It boots to command line in just a few seconds, supports FAT32, is easy to use, and there are countless thousands of high quality text editors of all flavors available for it. It even has TCP/IP support and such, and it can be booted off the oldest, smallest, most worthless thumb drive that you possibly own.

Re:DOS (4, Informative)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 6 years ago | (#25087311)

Maybe you meant that as a joke, but you're not far off:

Kolibrios is a full, modern OS with a desktop. Written in Assembly, which as you can imagine makes in unbelievably fast. Can boot from a floppy.

I just tried it out a few days ago []

Re:DOS (2, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | about 6 years ago | (#25087391)

Nice. Their files included a trojan and a rootkit, at least according to avast. Maybe false positives. Maybe not. Who can say? The rootkit was the telling one.

Re:DOS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087407)

In that same vein, there's also MenuetOS [] , although I've never used it, so I can't vouch for how well it functions.

Re:DOS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087517)

Interesting idea but from a quick scan of their page they appear to be jerks. "No Subversion access for you!", morons... If it's open-source who the hell cares if people can check out the code? Idiotic.

That project will remain obscure and slowly die with that kind of attitude.

Re:DOS (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087433)

How about emacs?
When I type emacs, starts in about five seconds.
Problem is there is no decent editor ported to it yet...

Re:DOS (4, Insightful)

jkerman (74317) | about 6 years ago | (#25087485)

DOS will not have any of the power management features required to operate a modern laptop. The hit to your battery life would be SEVERE

pico (4, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 6 years ago | (#25087217)

boot a GUI-less linux install and use pico/nano for text editing.

all the key commands are shown at the bottom of the screen.

I recommend (5, Funny)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25087219)

Windows Vista Ultimate. Just get a sharpie and write on the screen.

Re:I recommend (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#25087425)

Because shaking the etch-a-sketch is, you know, too hard. ;)

Re:I recommend (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25087543)

The boot time for an etch-a-sketch is deplorable.

Re:I recommend (1)

ismism (947992) | about 6 years ago | (#25087473)

Brilliant! You can practice tolerance for OS bloat/crapware while writing!

Freedos? (4, Insightful)

Pathwalker (103) | about 6 years ago | (#25087221)

So, you want fast booting?

Get FreeDOS [] and one of the text editors from here [] .

I can't think of anything that will boot faster, although EMACS will likely be the friendliest editor available.

Re:Freedos? (4, Informative)

dvice_null (981029) | about 6 years ago | (#25087423)

"Eeepc 2G Surf cold boot to X in 10 sec" (the video is quite impressive, even you see the results in the title): []

Some more details: []

I have no doubt that FreeDOS can do better than that, but I'm actually curious how fast is it? And is the speed so much better that it is better than 10 seconds with a GUI.

Re:Freedos? (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | about 6 years ago | (#25087487)

EMACS is an OS, you insensitive clod!

Re:Freedos? (2, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | about 6 years ago | (#25087527)

I can't think of anything that will boot faster, although EMACS will likely be the friendliest editor available.

Qedit []

was my favorite from that time, not for windows as The SemWare Editor [] .

I had the unfortunate pleasure of owning a compaq contura aero 486sx33 laptop. I got it cheap as it was even for the time period a piece of shit, but it did the job. I often times avoided booting to windows to use qedit to take down notes and such.

Probably one from Stalman (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 6 years ago | (#25087223)

"What is the fastest booting operating system out there that is still sufficient for editing text?

I'd say Stallman's first OS:

doofus@hotdog:~$ time emacs -nw

real 0m2.075s
user 0m0.372s
sys 0m0.076s

Re:Probably one from Stalman (0, Troll)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 years ago | (#25087411)

No, a full emacs distro boots like it came from Redmond or worse.

DOS. (3, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 6 years ago | (#25087231)

DOS Edit does a good job at basic text editing -- and on any reasonably modern laptop, DOS should boot amazingly quickly.

If that's not fast enough for you, a TRS-80 Model 100 might do. They boot nearly instantly and have a built-in text editor. (The 32K max memory capacity might be a bit limiting, though.)

Re:DOS. (1)

7 digits (986730) | about 6 years ago | (#25087269)

My TRS-80 Model 100 is awesome (not that the model 200 have a much bigger screen).

But the poster will be pretty disapointed if he tries to read fat32 usb drive with that...

Re:DOS. (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 6 years ago | (#25087315)

Yeah, yeah. If you want to drag your files kicking and screaming into the 1990s, you could go with an HP Jornada. They boot nearly instantly and run Windows CE. The keyboard's way too small, but otherwise they're cute.

Re:DOS. (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 6 years ago | (#25087447)

If that's not fast enough for you, a TRS-80 Model 100 might do. They boot nearly instantly and have a built-in text editor. (The 32K max memory capacity might be a bit limiting, though.)

The good old TRS-80 portables. I remember there being an issue attaching an external modem. I know I had a 14.4k supra that for some reason the screen dimmed when I actually tried to use it, and I'm sure that the laptop couldn't deal with the the max speed the modem provided.

I'm not saying the TRS-80 isn't a good solution, far from it, just data interchange is a bit of a pain.

The last time I sort of dealt with one, I seem to remember that I needed to format the disks, but the software was on a disk that had since become corrupted. Not that one would want to use floppies to exchange data these days.

PDA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087233)

How about getting a PDA..?!

Smartphone? (5, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 6 years ago | (#25087243)

Aren't you more likely to have your cellphone in your pocket than be lugging around a laptop? I just jot notes on my iPhone.

fast boot editor (1)

Uomograsso (968695) | about 6 years ago | (#25087245)

Psion series 3

Needlessly Limiting the Field (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 6 years ago | (#25087247)

I don't know if all of E-Macs would be loadable in the limited time frames you are talking about but VI certainly could.

If you press 'i' after you load VI you will experienced a notepad like editing experience that couldn't be easier. When you are done just press esc then x to save and exit or q! to exit without saving. when you see q! think, "quit damnit".

Maybe try non-x86 hardware (1)

BLAG-blast (302533) | about 6 years ago | (#25087249)

When the Apple TiBook first came out (before the days MacOSX), I got one and installed PPC linux on it. I was always amazed by how quickly it booted, around 20seconds. Of course, if you're also running XP, this probably won't work for you...

Hibernate mode (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087251)

How the fuck did this moron get front page billing?

Next Ask Slashdot: Hey I've been showering daily but I'm starting to think water isn't doing the job sufficiently. Is there any sort of surfactant or detergent that can help clean away some of the dirt and body odor that accumulates on my skin? Thanks!

Re:Hibernate mode (4, Funny)

PakProtector (115173) | about 6 years ago | (#25087313)

I recommend a solution of hydrocyanic acid.

Next question.

Four minutes? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 6 years ago | (#25087259)

Sometimes it takes me longer than that to find a pen or pencil!

TRS-80 Model 100 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087261)

Probably get you to an editor in 10 seconds or so...

Oh, probably no vi editor...

How about... (1)

BobSixtyFour (967533) | about 6 years ago | (#25087263)

a typewriter?

Typewriter...? I remember them! (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 6 years ago | (#25087491)

Strewth! It's a long time since i saw one of those. I wonder if there's people around here who've never seen one...

Sleep a macbook (1, Flamebait)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 6 years ago | (#25087267)

Point 1: Sleep and wake actually works on MacOS/X
(and doesn't make you log in again)

Point 2. You get a mac!

Re:Sleep a macbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087465)

Wow, how unique! I mean sure just about any modern OS can do that, even Vista. But this way you get to buy yet another computer!

Re:Sleep a macbook (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087495)

Eh, sleep and wake usually work on a Mac but not always and it can cause side effects.

Just yesterday I opened up my MacBook Pro's screen and the thing wouldn't wake up; after futzing around with it, I closed it and opened it again and I was hit with two login prompts (I have it set to require login). At other times, I've closed my laptop it'll randomly wake up while it's closed - even with no peripherals attached and nothing physically done to it immediately preceding the wake up. The latter problem hasn't happened to me in a little while, but I'm not sure if it's been fixed or it's just taking a break.

Even when it works, sleep/wake cycling seems to cause some apps to balloon their cache, which eventually becomes problematic. If he's really just using a text editor (and not, say, firefox), then it probably wouldn't matter.

Fast Booting Text-editor Operating System? (1)

Bailsoft (752566) | about 6 years ago | (#25087273)

Graphite HP works for me!

nethack linux (3, Funny)

acon1modm (1009947) | about 6 years ago | (#25087275) []

boots from a floppy.

0) generate character
1) find magic marker
2) scribble on the floor

Re:nethack linux (1)

Wiseblood1 (1135095) | about 6 years ago | (#25087393)

You can always get an athame and engrave on the floor too y'know

MacOSX (1)

arikol (728226) | about 6 years ago | (#25087277)

doesn't boot any faster than the others but the Sleep mode works properly there. Shut the lid when finished, open lid for doing stuffþ 5 seconds later (or less) you can start working. Win has not been reliable in sleep mode (don't know if Vista has gotten its act together on that front) and as much as I love Ubuntu it does have some downsides on notebooks (being fixed as we speak but still a bit of work to do)

Re:MacOSX (1)

TargetBoy (322020) | about 6 years ago | (#25087345)

I use sleep mode all the time on windows XP with my Inspiron 9400. I've never had a problem with it.

Arch Linux (2, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 6 years ago | (#25087283)

I dabbled in Arch Linux a bit a while back. I was booting it off of a USB flash drive (one of the slow cheap ones, not one of the fast new ones) and I am pretty sure it booted in less than 20 seconds. Of course, I had to patch their bootup scripts myself to have it boot that fast, because they had some dumb logic that was waiting a fixed period of time for detected usb devices to show up, rather than polling and exiting the wait loop when the devices were there. So whereas it would always take 10 or 15 seconds (whatever you had configured it to) with their scripts, my change allowed my system to usually wait only a few seconds. Net result, the thing booted pretty quickly. Of course, I submitted a patch to them, and they have done nothing with it, or the bug I opened for the issue, so that put me off Arch Linux pretty quick.

Anyway, there were alot of nice things about Arch Linux; it is vastly streamlined compared to normal Linux. And if you know what you are doing, you can definitely get it under the 20 second boot time with just a little tweaking. Then you have a full-fledged Linux system to work on instead of some hacked together boot/root disks or whatever.

Hibernate. Or get a phone with a notes function. (4, Insightful)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | about 6 years ago | (#25087285)

Hibernate. My laptop boots in about 20-30 seconds, with windows XP. I hear Ubuntu boots faster out of hibernation.

Or you could get a cell phone with a note-taking function. My work-provided Palm Treo does this, Blackberrys do, iPhones... Hell, even phones without a full keyboard typically have a notes application these days, and you can type fairly fast with T9-word.

Just suspend (5, Insightful)

Sarusa (104047) | about 6 years ago | (#25087287)

I think you're asking the wrong question here. Any decent laptop with Linux or XP or OSX should be able to go into suspend mode and resume in about 2-8 seconds. I think my laptop hasn't been 'rebooted' in about two months, I just leave it constantly in suspend mode and activate it for 5-30 minutes at a time.

Even if you get a near instant booting OS just the Power on Self Test is going to take longer than resuming from a suspend.

Re:Just suspend (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 6 years ago | (#25087387)

I had the same thought. My old Powerbook G4 turns on near instantly from sleep. I only reboots it for system updates. Keep something like BBEdit loaded and open on the screen, and there ya go.

Re:Just suspend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087553)

I think you're asking the wrong question here. blah blah blah suspend blah blah blah listen to me go on and on blah blah blah.

I think you're giving the wrong answer. The "I don't give a damn about boot I just want to congratulate myself on suspend" thread is over there.

Why boot? (0, Redundant)

myspys (204685) | about 6 years ago | (#25087289)

Why would you ever turn off a laptop?

My Macbook Pro is always on. I close the lid and it sleeps. When I open the lid it's up and running in about 2-5 seconds.

God bless Apple!

ARM Linux board (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 6 years ago | (#25087291)

Many of these will boot in less than 3 sec to a command console.

Heh - I thought TFA was going to be a faster emacs (3, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 6 years ago | (#25087293)

That said, if i really cared to have a text-editor-capable OS boot quickly, _and_ it needed FAT32.


Is VFAT close enough for ya? Win98 boot disk transmuted onto a USB dongle with the VFAT driver in the config.sys. Boot only to, not the full OS.

It'll probably take longer for your box to POST than to boot that puppy.

Me, I just write shit on my hand with a sharpie.

Use a DS? (3, Interesting)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | about 6 years ago | (#25087295)

Resume on a DS is practically instantaneous, at least for commercial titles, and there's a lively homebrew scene, maybe there's already something out there that might work out for you? Plus very portable and easy to scribble with the touchscreen, and great battery life.

Oh, and games too :)

Re:Use a DS? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 6 years ago | (#25087471)

This is actually a pretty good suggestion, the resume basically is isntantaneous. If you want to take notes on it you will have to get a homebrew cart. The main problem with this though is that the screen is really quite small for stuff like this, I tried it for a while but it just doesn't work. I would actually recommend a smartphone with QWERTY keyboard for this guy, seems like it'd be the best solution.

remove gdm from startup (1)

nevurthls (1167963) | about 6 years ago | (#25087319)

run sysv-rc-conf, remove gdm BOOM 30 seconds off of your ubuntu boot time and ready to edit with vi/pico/nano, etc. How hard was that?

60 seconds is fast enough (1)

mapleneckblues (1145545) | about 6 years ago | (#25087327)

It takes a normal person more than 60 seconds on an average to search all of his/her pockets and bags and for a ballpoint pen before he/she realizes that another one has disappeared.

Apple II (1)

Jon Abbott (723) | about 6 years ago | (#25087329)

It boots into Appleworks in ten seconds flat. 'Nuff said.

PDA (4, Insightful)

Ahmeni (1026930) | about 6 years ago | (#25087333)

This sounds like a task for your modern PDA/phone. If you only ever write a line or two then there's no need to use a laptop to jot down ideas.

Atari Portfolio (1)

orkysoft (93727) | about 6 years ago | (#25087339)

Seriously, get it on eBay for a few bucks.

It's smaller than a netbook, and runs on 3xAA batteries (lasts 2-3 weeks on them!), and it boots in a second.

It runs a DOS 2.11 clone, and comes complete with a simple and easy to use editor and a spreadsheet and some other stuff.

It doesn't come with USB, but can do nullmodem transfers with a serial port attachment. For added ease of use, buy one with a CompactFlash reader built in (there is someone who modifies them for this purpose).

Seriously, if all you want to do is quick notetaking, this is your ideal tool.

(For added geek value, it comes with a 8088 CPU made by OKI and can run most DOS programs that use proper BIOS and DOS calls instead of the faster tricks from that era. This is because the hardware isn't actually IBM compatible, but the BIOS provides the compatibility layer, so programs which circumvent the BIOS and attempt to address the hardware directly will not run.)

MenuetOS (3, Interesting)

mustafap (452510) | about 6 years ago | (#25087349)

Both 64 and 32 bit versions.

I think you'll find that boots *Very* fast.

DeadMini? (1)

CyrusOmega (1261328) | about 6 years ago | (#25087351)

I haven't personally tried it but from this about DeadMini [] might have something you can use...

"The main advantage is that it boots anywhere - wherever you can stick the files, use something like syslinux or isolinux to make it boot - and of course make bios boot the medium - it will boot without a trouble. This is because the whole system (currently 5MB, including booting overhead) is copied in RAM without the need to seek the source device. It also boots very fast - minimal bootup time is about 3s (further testing will be done)."

Buy more pencils and paper? (2, Insightful)

popmaker (570147) | about 6 years ago | (#25087353)

"Both feel like an eternity if there isn't a pen and paper around."

The problem seems kind of artifical if you're fine working with paper anyway. Otherwise, I'd resort to just leave the machine on, which I usually do anyway.

TextGuru on the iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087357)

I started using the TextGuru application on my iPhone. With it, I can actually get work done on airplanes. Very fast to get up and running.

Neo by alphasmart (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087359)

I hate to sound like an advertisement... but:
Neo by alphasmart
Affordable. Only $219 a new lower price and a fraction of the cost of a standard laptop
Flexible. Send text direct to PC, Mac, or USB printer
Incredible battery life. Up to 700 hours on 3 alkaline batteries, or up to 300 hours using the rechargeable battery option
Simple. Instant on/off, autosave, one-touch file access keeps you on task.

Software system or operating system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087367)

Linux, few years ago it got record to boot on 0.01 seconds. You wanted fast loading OS, (Software running on kernel mode or supervisor mode is the operating system). If you want bloated software system like Ubuntu or Windows XP, then you should ask such, not the fast booting operating system.

I would take Linux + Vi + Bash + SSH to get very small software system with Linus operating system.

Get a Macbook. (1)

doghouse41 (140537) | about 6 years ago | (#25087373)

Why do you want to have a computer that you have to boot from cold?

My MacBook wakes from sleep in a couple of seconds. A couple more to log in. It will stay in sleep for days on a fully charged battery.

When I do reboot, I'm pretty sure that MaxOS X comes up to usable in less than 60s (not that I have timed it) Of course I probably reboot less than once a week anyway.

What about sleep mode? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087395)

Can you get either Windows or Linux to sleep when you close up your laptop? If so, how long does it take to "awaken" from sleep mode?

Can you configure either system to require a password on wake-up? That would add a measure of security. I'm pretty sure Windows can do that. I know that what Linux will do varies with the hardware and the Distro/Kernel version and available drivers.

Easy - a PDA (1)

MrFenty (579353) | about 6 years ago | (#25087401)

I use a PDA (HTC X7500) which is also a phone. It has a 5 inch screen, runs Win Mobile 6.1 and is effectively a small laptop (e.g. Word, Excel, internet) and as it is always on basically doesn't have a boot time.

It syncs with my PC via USB, so downloading my notes onto the main PC is a snap. The phone part is a bit crap, and I look like an idiot holding this brick up to my ear, but that aside I couldn't live without it, and it is ideal for that sort of very quick / brief notetaking that you describe.

More friendly than emacs???? (1)

jwiegley (520444) | about 6 years ago | (#25087405)

Not possible. Emacs is not only your friend, it's your faithful slave.

eee pc or slashtop (1)

vajorie (1307049) | about 6 years ago | (#25087409)

eeepc (701) boots in about 20 seconds. a laptop with slashtop boots in about 5 seconds I think (from there, you could use google's notepad).

Don't boot... wake from sleep. (1)

agristin (750854) | about 6 years ago | (#25087413)

Don't boot.

I have had a mac notebook (okay a couple different notebooks) for about 10 years for just that type of thing.

I don't boot, I just let it sleep all the time. It sleeps for days. When I need it, open, wake, login. I require login from wake but you could speed it up by not requiring the security, and then text edit.

OS X wakes from sleep, login, and start vi-ing in under 10 seconds on my current MacBook, the stop watch test just did 7 sec (closed, slept, then timed waking and continuing this post). And it is pretty reliable. The only thing that has ruined that reliability is sleeping virtualized servers in VmWare or Parallels, then sometimes it takes longer.

How about an older PDA? (3, Informative)

Nipok Nek (87328) | about 6 years ago | (#25087415)

Get an old Jornada 540 Series off of eBay. They can be had really cheaply, boot in seconds, and sync up nicely with whatever flavor of Windows you have. If you don't like the tiny on-screen keyboard, they have attachments.

Netbook? (1)

minus9 (106327) | about 6 years ago | (#25087429)

My Acer Aspire One boots to GUI in 14 seconds, the keyboards not bad either for a Netbook, it's even quicker if you just suspend rather than shutdown.

menuetos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087431)

menuetos, fits on a floppy

You may be using the wrong tool (2, Insightful)

theurge14 (820596) | about 6 years ago | (#25087457)

I suggest:

1) Use a smaller handheld device to take notes with. All manager of PDAs, Nintendo DS, iPhone and iPod touch can take notes in an instant.

2) If you're going to use a laptop, then leave it in suspend mode and don't power it off when you go mobile.

3) If you must power off the laptop off when mobile, then power it off in Hibernate mode.

Most laptops are hard drive based which means no matter what OS you choose you will be waiting a period of time for the OS to overcome the speed bottleneck of the hard drive.

Why boot at all? (1)

Archimonde (668883) | about 6 years ago | (#25087477)

On a macbook you can have OSX suspended all the time. Just open the laptop's lid and the OS will resume instantly. You don't even have to press a key to resume it. And of course, no need to boot it. Actually, the only time I get my macbook restarted is after software patches.

I really don't get why other laptops don't have this feature*, because it works great and it is such a pleasure to use it.

As a sidenote, is OS boot time really such an important thing? Lets look a the a mobile phone for example. Nobody cares how much it takes it to boot. When you have it on "standby" you just press a combination of buttons and your phone is ready to use. I still don't get why don't we have computers who have better suspend modes etc.

*they can suspend/hibernate when you close the lid, but never resume automatically after you open the lid.

Linux is best (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 6 years ago | (#25087489)

providing you get an old school distro, (Arch, Crux or Slackware) and build a tickless kernel with a Timer Frequency of 1000Hz & pre-empt. i have Slackware 12.1 booting very quickly and the response is quite snappy...

try splashtop (1)

bzuro (1205892) | about 6 years ago | (#25087501) [] 5 second to boot. by default, its on the hard drive, but i saw a guy boot it from usb flash. it is worth a look.

Our reflectometer works with a DOS PC (3, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#25087503)

Last Friday I was using our reflectometer [] and was impressed by the fact that the PC that controls it boots in about 6 seconds directly into the application! It's based on DOS and the PC is a .... 33MHz Intel 386! It would be cool if a contemporary PC based on a 3GHz CPU could boot into such an application in 0.06 seconds. I know, I/O is the main bottleneck, I guess, though hard disks have indeed gotten about 100 times faster in data transfer, and about 5 times faster in seek time, since the 386 was the hotness.

Acer Aspire One (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087523)

I am typing this on my Acer Aspire One, on which I put Debian with X11 and ion3.
The whole system, stripped from things like crond, boots in roughly 20 seconds. It can do pretty much all I want and I use it too for some browsing and coding.

Nano (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087533)

1) Just learn VI. You won't regret it
2) Use Nano []

BeOS (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 6 years ago | (#25087539)

BeOS boots extremely fast (I seem to recall something like 5 to 10 seconds). And, of course, it comes with a standard text editor.

I'm not sure if you can get a copy any more, though.


Try Syllable (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25087545)


My name is Rick Caudill and I work on the Syllable project. I would say you should give Syllable( a try. My machine boots to a gui within 10 seconds. Just give it a try

MS-DOS (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 6 years ago | (#25087555)

I think MS-DOS (or a variant) is the answer. It should boot almost instantly.
Even though you get the 8.3 filename limitation, you have DOS Edit or QBasic to edit text files.

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