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Quick Boot Linux Hopes To Win Over Windows Users

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-about-just-never-boot dept.

Linux 440

Al writes "A company called Presto hopes to exploit the painful amount of time it takes for Windows computers to start up by offering a streamlined version of Linux that boots in just seconds. Presto's distro comes with Firefox, Skype and other goodies pre-installed and the company has also created an app store so that users can install only what they really need. The software was demonstrated at this year's Demo conference in Palm Desert, CA. Interestingly, the company barely mentions the name Linux on its website. Is this a clever stealth-marketing ploy for converting Windows users to Linux?"

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440 comments

Hibernation? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27121947)

Who boots up anymore unless to fix/install something? Just hibernate. I know, I'm over generalising but still, I rarely reboot/boot my machine perhaps once a fortnight I just hibernate it. * Windows XP

Re:Hibernation? (2, Interesting)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122077)

I can see this working well for netbooks. One of the main reasons the idea of a netbook has been ruined for me is the boot time.

Here, I've got a small little machine that could be more useful than my phone- only catch, I'd rather txt google with my phone than power up the acer-one, since it's going to take forever to boot.

On my main machines I'll stick with xp and ubuntu. But this might be a great netbook os, finally making a netbook useful..

Re:Hibernation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122205)

I understand if people don't read the article, or the summary, but you didn't read the comment, or even the comment title that you're replying to.

Do you understand what hibernation is?

Re:Hibernation? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122705)

Hah.

We'll start reading the summaries after the editors actually begin to check and proofread them. Until then, you must be new here.

Re:Hibernation? (4, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122481)

One of the main reasons the idea of a netbook has been ruined for me is the boot time.

I really don't get this mentality. My first gen Asus 701 took all of 30 seconds to fully boot. I've since put UbuntuEee on it an it now takes about 40 seconds. IS your life that full that you just can't wait less than a minute?

Netbooks aren't meant to be whipped out for quick searches. They're meant to be an ultra portable that surfs, does email, word processing and other work. Pretty much what you would use a back breaking laptop for.

Re:Hibernation? (5, Funny)

jetsci (1470207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122643)

Back breaking? I carry around a 17" HP DV9000 fully loaded laptop and barely notice it. Perhaps you should get some exercise. Certainly beats carrying around my old kit, 70lbs ruck-sack, 16lbs rifle, and ammo. Sissy.

Re:Hibernation? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122845)

wank wank wank. this is slashdot, you're impressing nobody

Re:Hibernation? (2)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122957)

You're looking at 15 pounds with your accessories and power brick. Sorry, but that's too much to schlepp around, particularly if you're in and out of airports the better part of your work week.

Re:Hibernation? (2, Interesting)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122483)

This is why you use Standby + Hibernate.

My Asus EEE - Win XP comes from Standby in 1 sec and Hibernate take 15sec to boot, counting also the bios boot time.

Under battery it goes into Standby in 5 min or when I put down the cover. After 15min in standby it goes into Hibernate, so I don't have to think if I need it in the next minute or the next day.

Linux is not very friendly when it comes to Standby + Hibernate.

Re:Hibernation? (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122789)

ACPI isn't friendly. Since all mobo manufacturers make their own quirky implementations that they provide drivers for Windows [computerpoweruser.com] for, so things tend to work better on XP. Linux is stuck reverse-engineering that stuff. Some machines work well, some don't. The worse your machine works, the further from ACPI specs you know it is.

Re:Hibernation? (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122787)

Why on earth would you regularly boot a netbook? Doesn't it sleep when you close the lid and wake when you open it?

Re:Hibernation? (3, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122863)

As everybody else has said... why bother rebooting it? My XP-based laptop is effectively instant-on and instant-off with sleep mode, and it really only gets rebooted after I've been playing video games all day, or after a system update.

And don't gripe about battery life... sleep mode uses *very* little power. I have, quite literally, put my laptop in sleep mode, gone on vacation, and come back 3 weeks later to a laptop with a battery that still had enough juice to run for 3.5h before it needed to be plugged in. (The laptop in question has a Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz, 2GB of RAM, 120GB 7200rpm HDD, DVD, 15.4" LCD @ 1680x1050).

Even with netbooks, battery life in sleep mode is very long. I have a Dell Mini 9 (64GB SSD, 2GB RAM) running OS/X (thanks to http://gizmodo.com/5156903/how-to-hackintosh-a-dell-mini-9-into-the-ultimate-os-x-netbook [gizmodo.com] ), and that one is also pretty much instant-on and instant-off with sleep mode, and hasn't needed to be plugged in in 3 days.

So... why are you actually bothering to power-down and reboot from cold your acer-one?

Re:Hibernation? (5, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122381)

Perhaps I am the exception to the rule but every machine I have ever used (and I've used a bunch) boots faster than it comes out of hibernation.

Re:Hibernation? (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122919)

But one of the major points of using hibernation & standby is that you don't have to re-start the apps you use most, for example browsers that remember the tabs you last had open are nice but if you have a dozen or so tabs open it can take a while for the pages to all reload when maybe you only want to refresh one or two.

Re:Hibernation? (2, Insightful)

mahlerfan999 (1077021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122511)

I turn off my laptop because I will not have it running on battery when I move it around. When I go home for the weekend I turn my work station off. Why waste electricity when you're not going to use it for awhile? I doubt that I'm far from alone in turning off computers when they won't be needed for long amounts of time.

Re:Hibernation? (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122649)

I turn off my laptop because I will not have it running on battery when I move it around.

Is this a hardware-safety thing, or a saving-energy thing? I've carried my Dell XPS m1210 around in a backpack on standby nearly every day for two and a half years now, with no problems. And the amount of juice it takes to maintain standby is completely negligible--maybe 1 or 2 percent of the battery if you standby overnight.

Once you factor in the stress and extra power required to cold boot and reload every app you use, standby may even be safer and cheaper.

Re:Hibernation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122533)

Is this the version of linux that comes bundled on those Asus motherboards for when the user wants a quick-boot environment for just a browser?

Re:Hibernation? (3, Insightful)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122821)

There are several reasons why you shouldn't always hibernate. Hibernate preserves the state of memory. If there is something wrong with the state of the memory such as a program has a bad memory leak, that problem persists. Also for computers with a large amount of memory, hibernation might not be the best alternative. The hibernation file must be at least as large as the RAM. If your computer has a large amount of RAM then it will take longer to backup/restore the state of the memory.

At the very least, occasionally do a full shutdown to get a "clean slate".

Re:Hibernation? (-1, Troll)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122943)

I never use hibernate. I can't recall ever seeing a Windows computer emerge from hibenate without needing to be rebooted, even brand new laptops.

Who reboots? (4, Informative)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27121957)

I feel like this is too minor of a feature and too late to do any good. Windows 7 is apparently making huge strides toward reducing boot time, and I never hear anyone complain about boot time anyway. Including people who don't use the computer that much. Most of the people I know that aren't "computer people" leave their computer on or in standby/hibernate, so boot time is hardly an issue.

Re:Who reboots? (0, Redundant)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122041)

I haven't used Windows for a few years, but back when I did, I only rebooted for Windows Update. Apart from then, I always used Hibernate with Windows 2000. When I got a Mac, I always used suspend; just close the lid. Rebooting loses application state, so it's something to be avoided. I don't care if my computer takes five minutes to reboot, because it's something I only do every month or so.

Re:Who reboots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122831)

Apart from then, I always used Hibernate with Windows 2000.

Nine times out of ten, my new Vista laptop takes longer to recover from hibernate than it does to reboot. I don't have much hope for Windows 7.

Re:Who reboots? (1)

George Beech (870844) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122075)

I don't have any issues with boot time in windows 7. It's up and running in about 20 seconds ... of course this is on an i7 proc w/ 6GB or ram and 15k Velocerapter drives

Re:Who reboots? (2, Funny)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122239)

Bet your battery life sucks, though.

It's a joke, laugh

Re:Who reboots? (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122541)

That i7 sips down more juice than my Lenovo X60 laptop (screen and all,) so what I do is I just sleep my computer and then carry it UPS and all.

Kinda sucks that the battery weighs 20 pounds and only lasts five minutes.

How Many applications? Re:Who reboots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122285)

I don't have any issues with boot time in windows 7. It's up and running in about 20 seconds ... of course this is on an i7 proc w/ 6GB or ram and 15k Velocerapter drives

And how many applications are installed? Unless MS does something amazing, once you finish installing Office, windows boot times traditionally go out the window. And every application thereafter makes it worse. Also, keep in mind that what people are perceiving as boot time is from off to a useable state. For a server this means off->services running. For a user PC this means Off-> Fully Logged in and can launch applications.

Re:How Many applications? Re:Who reboots? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122447)

to a useable state.

That's the key part, I'm sure many people here remember back when windows would "start up" and pretend to be usable, but the start menu would randomly snap shut as programs and services continued to load in the background, and actually getting a program you wanted to use to start meant watching the hourglass for several minutes as windows finished getting ready.

Re:How Many applications? Re:Who reboots? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122717)

Which is why I reduced my WinXP install as much as possible. I have an older machine, (P4, 1GB DDR400), but it boots up pretty fast because only three icons come up in the systray: volume control, antivirus, and my wireless card. Although there are plenty of other apps that I start up on almost every boot, I don't have them come up by default in case I want to do something quickly.

Re:How Many applications? Re:Who reboots? (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122559)

Still about 15 seconds after installing Office and other applications.

Re:How Many applications? Re:Who reboots? (1)

George Beech (870844) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122685)

I don't have any issues with boot time in windows 7. It's up and running in about 20 seconds ... of course this is on an i7 proc w/ 6GB or ram and 15k Velocerapter drives

And how many applications are installed? Unless MS does something amazing, once you finish installing Office, windows boot times traditionally go out the window. And every application thereafter makes it worse. Also, keep in mind that what people are perceiving as boot time is from off to a useable state. For a server this means off->services running. For a user PC this means Off-> Fully Logged in and can launch applications.

Actually quite a few - I use it as my main work machine now with an XP laptop as backup. The full office suite, all of my remote admin tools, VMWare Client, Im, etc. using your definition of usable: fully logged in and can launch applications, my machine is usable in about 30-45 seconds from off and this includes the time it takes me to enter my username/password at 9am before i've finished my first cup o joe. I'm actualy working in about 3-5 mins from boot, outlook up, im up and possible a few ssh sessions and RDP sessions going, depending on what i need to check in the morning.

Re:Who reboots? (4, Insightful)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122367)

Even Vista boots pretty quickly, at least to the login prompt. The excruciating delay comes from loading all of the apps - virus checker, printer/scanner tools, laptop vendor "helpful tools" that don't seem to do anything, etc. It's ridiculous.

Re:Who reboots? (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122659)

You must be using Norton/Symantec. Try using a GOOD virus scanner like NOD32 (about the most lightweight one on the market, but also has the highest detection rate) and disabling things like Office Fast Start (and similar).

Re:Who reboots? (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122661)

My XP box that I'm using now at work (2 core 2.33 GHz Xeon) boot Windows REALLY fast. It is under 30 seconds to get to the "Ctrl-Alt-Del to login" screen. It's great.

Then you log in.

Then you wait 5 minutes or so for it to finish loading everything and settle down enough to be usable (the desktop comes up nearly instantly but can't be used). If you open Outlook (as I have to), you're waiting another 5 minutes for that too.

I'm disk limited (a faster disk would help things) but it's just terrible. I can get in quick, but I can't do anything for minutes afterwords (like a simple Firefox open and search).

My Mac (MBP, 2.4GHz) doesn't boot as fast, maybe a minute to get to the desktop? But when the desktop comes up the computer is usable. It feels slow as it finishes loading stuff, but as soon as I get to the desktop I can start issuing commands (open Safari, etc.) and they happen. I doesn't feel "stuck" like XP does just after start-up.

As others have said, there is a simple solution to all this. My Mac is almost never off, it sleeps when I move it. It comes up and ready in like 3 seconds. By the time I finish opening the display, it's ready. My XP box is never turned off or logged off, I lock it. It unlocks in 2-3 seconds. If it were to hibernate, it'd only take a few seconds longer, still light years ahead of a boot.

I can tell you that these kind of things (little fast OSes) can get obnoxious. As soon as you run into a limitation (say you want to access something you don't have setup it in, or a program like Quicken) you have to suffer the full reboot. When you want to transition there is no easy way. You can't take your surfing from the fast-boot environment with you into Windows. All that rebooting gets really annoying. Now that I have a phone that can do a quick look-up on the 'net, I have even less reason to boot into this to see that "one quick thing".

Re:Who reboots? (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122695)

So run msconfig and turn the cruft off. Then install a regmon utility and stop the taskbars before they take over your computer.

Re:Who reboots? (5, Interesting)

BlueWomble (36835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122931)

I'm not sure it's the apps. I think what actually happens is that Vista puts up a login prompt well before it has truly finished booting. i.e. before all the services have started.

The result is that you can login but the machine runs like a dog with no legs for the next 5 minutes as it tries to complete the boot process and deal with you trying to use it all at once.

Re:Who reboots? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122573)

I feel like this is too minor of a feature and too late to do any good. Windows 7 is apparently making huge strides toward reducing boot time, and I never hear anyone complain about boot time anyway. Including people who don't use the computer that much. Most of the people I know that aren't "computer people" leave their computer on or in standby/hibernate, so boot time is hardly an issue.

Completely agree. I have ran my Win XP laptop for a full month before I restart it, and then only because I installed updates. My house PC is set to automatically install these and reboot at 3AM when I dont care about boot times.

I want speed while running, not booting up. If a few extra seconds or minutes booting up will give me higher performance while running, great, go for it! As they say back home: Take your time dressing up because we are in a hurry!

Re:Who reboots? (2, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122655)

Bollocks it's making huge strides toward reducing boot time. You wouldn't be saying that if you'd actually tried the beta (I'm presuming you haven't from "apparently," which implies you don't actually know hands-on). It's responsive and usable once booted, but takes bloody forever to actually get there.

Re:Who reboots? (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122667)

It takes my laptop longer to hibernate than to shut down. Having a bunch of memory does have its downsides.

Re:Who reboots? (1)

Myrimos (1495513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122911)

It's conceivable that people don't complain about boot times because we've simply become used to them. When I boot my computer in the morning, I usually grab some java in the interim because "that's what I've always done" booting my computer. I'd welcome anything making my computer more efficient.

first boot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27121965)

fastest boot

What is the big deal? (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27121973)

Just use suspend/resume. Even on my aging windows-XP notebook, it takes just a few seconds to resume from where I left.

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122085)

On my XP laptop, it takes long enough to resume (XP) from suspend that I'd rather just hit the power and start up Ubuntu.

Boot Time is the least of the pain. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27121979)

I am fairly sure faster boot times wont cause most people to switch. For most people it comes down to being able to run their apps, and not the sometimes poor GNU replacements of their apps.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (5, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122187)

If you had looked at the site for about 45 seconds, you could have noticed that the product installs in a dual-boot setup and gives the option to boot into Windows. It's not a new company called PResto, BTW. It's a product called Presto from Xandros, which has been putting out their own Linux distro for years.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (5, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122287)

"If you had looked at the site for about 45 seconds..."

Who has time for that?... Apparently 30 seconds is too long to boot a computer these days, who has 45 seconds for reading?

Someone should build a site called 'Presume', which strips out 2/3rds of the words, knock the reading time down to 15 seconds.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122377)

You're right, but it's still kind of pointless. The product seems to be somebody who regularly boots up their computer to do one thing, then shuts it down again. Plus when they fire up the computer to run Word, they don't need to access any of the bookmarks they created when they booted it just to check a web site. Not a common use case!

This is kind of similar to those initiatives to allow you to run some apps from the BIOS without booting the OS. Those didn't catch on either.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (0, Troll)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122581)

Xandros sucks. The company tried the Microsoft tie-in business model and failed miserably. Just die already. Ubuntu blows the doors of Xandros. Ya they were the first "working for normal people" distro, but they really tie people in and force their versions of software on you. The "free" versions are crippled, nothing worked from the apt-get repositories, in fact, you'd break the whole distro if you ignored the warnings and install something that wasn't "approved by Xandros" I hate them.

Die Xandros die!

I used to sell this crap back in the version 1 days. That one worked. By version 3, you couldn't install anything other than approved apps. This is the distro that finally killed corel.

Don the Tinfoil (1, Interesting)

dsginter (104154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122229)

If BIOS makers would do something trivial - simply allow the user to select a different drive from which to boot, then it would be trivial to offer a linux on a secondary drive (for desktops, or even laptops with an SD card).

It is a wonder that it is 2009 and this feature does not yet exist - almost like someone has colluded against it.

YES - to all of the obtuse slashdotters who will indicate that it is easy for them to switch their primary boot drive - I understand that it is easy for you and me. But it isn't so easy for Joe and Jane Six Pack. If they had a nice clean GUI that asked them to which system they'd like to boot, then Linux and other alternate OS would probably be a lot more popular - especially when Windows gets full of malware (most of these PCs are going in the garbage, now).

Re:Don the Tinfoil (2, Informative)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122493)

I don't understand why you need a bootloader in the BIOS. It's not enough to have one on the MBR of the primary disk? It'd be a nice feature to have, yes, but hardly a necessary one.

I'd prefer BIOS and motherboard vendors get their act together on reducing the time between powerup and entering the boot loader. My ASUS board takes way too long; it's half my boot time (although some of that may be delays in grub loading itself).

Re:Don the Tinfoil (2, Informative)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122597)

Almost every BIOS I've seen in the past four years has a key you can press to do just that. Each separate drive does have to have it's own bootloader. Booting off a different partition on the same drive isn't a job for the BIOS IMHO. That is what bootloaders are for.

Re:Don the Tinfoil (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122877)

Just install the FreeBSD bootloader on the MBR of both disks and the operating systems' boot loaders on the partition boot record. It will give you a simple menu for selecting the drive and partition you want on every boot, and remember your last choice. This doesn't need any BIOS support, and I've used it to boot from a SCSI disk on a system with a BIOS that only supported booting from IDE.

Re:Don the Tinfoil (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122895)

The Mac has had that for years, even before EFI. On the old ones you just hold the option key while powering up, and you get a boot menu with every bootable disk available. On the new ones, Boot Camp makes it even easier.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122277)

Well I think this system is perfect for netbooks, etc. and light-use machines. Obviously, there's an issue when Photoshop, etc. is required but this isn't really the target audience.

Re:Boot Time is the least of the pain. (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122443)

The point is that the app most people want to run is likely on the web, so you're dealing with mozilla, not GNU.

dfdsfsdfds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27121991)

it has good impression

Easier to DIY... (2, Interesting)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122007)

Hmm. It seems like it'd be really easy to do this yourself with a little ingenuity. I think I may have just found a nifty little project for this weekend.

All it should take is:

        * Add an inittab runlevel (7?) for "shutdown to instant boot".
        * Add an /etc/rc7.d with a script that writes a file that records the fact that we're in "shutdown to instant boot" state, then switches to runlevel 6.
        * Add an init script in late in the normal startup sequence that checks for "shutdown to instant boot" state. If it finds that state, it removes the file and then initiates suspend or hibernate, depending on a configuration option.

At that point "sudo init 7" should cause your machine to shut down to "instant boot" state. Hitting the power button will then "instant boot" it.

"sudo init 0" or "sudo init 6" will do a normal shutdown or a normal reboot.

The final step would be to modify the "shutdown" command to go to runlevel 7 when given some new option, and then to modify the GUI-based shutdown tools to provide the instant-boot option as well, and maybe make it the default. Oh, and maybe modify the ACPI script that's executed when the power button is hit so that the power button does a "shutdown to instant boot" by default.

Pretty easy. Of course, in Linux I don't ever see any reason to shut the machine down anyway. My laptop pretty much only gets rebooted when there's a kernel update to install. Other than that, it just gets suspended. So, kind of pointless in Linux, but easy. The same would apply to *BSD.

HTH. HAND.

=Smidge=

Re:Easier to DIY... (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122293)

Hmm. It seems like it'd be really easy to do this yourself with a little ingenuity.

I realize your post wasn't about making it 'the year of the Linux desktop' but I'm going to use your post to illustrate a point.

This sort of little 'silly' crap is one of the problems with normal users adopting Linux. Normal users don't want to have to have a little ingenuity in order to use their computers, they just want them to do what they are told to do, fast, without crashing, and in a way they are used to.

Linux can be stable. Linux can be fast. However it is in most distros missing this sort of polishing touch that makes all the difference in the world. Ubuntu for example is pretty close to Windows as far as usability for a standard user who just browses the Internet and reads email. But its the tiny little polishes that are missing that are going to be required for the end user to pick up on it.

Well, that and it'll have to run Office well too. No OpenOffice doesn't count so don't say it. While the Linux desktop experience just needs some polishing off for end users, OpenOffice has several years of getting to grasp with how not to suck ass before users are going to want to use it over MS Office. That tripe is a collection of Office 'replacement' apps that don't even come close to replacing Office. Perhaps the word processor is fine, I haven't really used it enough (nor Word for that matter) to comment. The spreadsheet, database and drawing apps are a joke at best. They are barely useful, let alone anything that can be considered in the same catagory as what Office offers.

Again, not really directed at your post, and this is really off topic, just wanted to show a reason why its not the Year of the Linux desktop.

Making Linux Work (5, Insightful)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122065)

Although I agree that a shorter boot time would be attractive, I doubt this will increase the number of people using Linux. A lot of the resistance to using Linux is tied up in the number of applications that don't port to the operating system, not the boot time. It doesn't matter how quickly the OS is available if you can't do anything once it turns on. If you could make it so that the majority of windows applications ran without resistance, I think that almost no boot time could make Linux revolutionary. Until then, I think you're wasting man hours on the wrong problem.

Re:Making Linux Work (1)

chrismeidinger (1469419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122909)

Although I agree that a shorter boot time would be attractive, I doubt this will increase the number of people using Linux. A lot of the resistance to using Linux is tied up in the number of applications that don't port to the operating system, not the boot time.

That's the whole point: you don't need to boot all the way into Windows to do those things like web-browsing that Linux does well. If you need full fledged win32 apps you can boot into Windows. I see there being sort of a slow uptake here, where people boot less and less often into Windows, and at some point quit entirely except to play games or do similarly resource-intensive tasks.

Re:Making Linux Work (1)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122937)

But if the app is available on both system (eg. Firefox) then boot time is the determining factor.

My wife now boots into Ubuntu more often than Win XP on her dual boot desktop simply because it's faster.

She still boots into windows to work with her photos though.

Windows Killer (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122079)

A company called Presto hopes to exploit the painful amount of time it takes for Windows computers to start up by offering a streamlined version of Linux that boots in just a seconds.

Wow!! Who would have thunk this would be the killer feature which is going to cause mass
migration to Linux. I have another idea - when Windows boots, the screen is in black &
while & rather dull looking. Maybe Presto could exploit this by offering a version of
Linux which prints boot messages in colour.

Exploitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122177)

No, it's a clever ploy to exploit Linux. Linux has a long history of being used to mitigate the deficiencies in Windows, so this is a good and proper use of it. But this new trend of commercial vendors trying to cash in without admitting their products are Linux-based, and wrapping the Linux bits in ugly closed proprietary wrappers, is bush-league and doomed to fail. Linux thrives because of community support, and commercial vendors who think they can put one over don't make it.

my mom (2, Interesting)

ionymous (1216224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122181)

My mom's PC takes an ungodly amount of time to boot. It must take somewhere near 5 minutes, possibly more. It's an old Windows ME machine.

The thing is overloaded with services/apps/processes that launch at startup. All stuff she doesn't need, but she's not smart enough to remove.

I've cleaned it up for her before, but it's a lost cause if she doesn't understand how to maintain it herself.

I'm sure once my mom learns about this Presto thing, she'll be all over it. Well... just as soon as she learns what an operating system is.

Actually, it doesn't appear to bother her like it does me and anyone else who tries to use it. She gets all defensive/protective of her pc when I point out how poorly it is performing. She just turns it on, walks away and makes some coffee, and by then it's ready to go.

"painful amount of time....." (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122189)

Speaking as someone who owns a relatively new PC, XP, Vista, and 7 boot faster than the 'flasghip' Ubuntu. Not that it matters really.

Re:"painful amount of time....." (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122525)

And Linux/Xorg/Fluxbox boots faster than all of them. The important thing with Linux is, that you can choose how much you system takes to boot up. It's allways a tradeoff between features, bling-bling and speed. You did a nice stab at ignoring that though.

Re:"painful amount of time....." (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122585)

Likewise, same with Mandriva, OpenSUSE, and RedHat, the only one that I use that comes close, and usually beats Windows is Slackware.

But, like you said, it doesn't matter, as I think all the main Linux distros, and all versions of Windows have Hibernate/Suspend, and what does 25 to 45 seconds matter when you only really need to reboot every couple weeks, or monthly.

Having a cold-boot of a couple seconds, still means you lose the state of all your apps, you'll have to spend the time launching them, loading files, etc all over again which will probably take a lot longer.

Re:"painful amount of time....." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122599)

Excuse the spelling mistake. That should be 'flagship' :-S

TFA Almost burns. (5, Informative)

Useful Wheat (1488675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122217)

From TFA

One of the main reasons why modern operating systems take so long to boot is that they are very bulky: a huge amount of code needs to be read when a computer is first turned on. Consisting of far fewer lines of code than Windows, Presto needs just a few hundred megabytes of memory, says Jordan Smith, product marketing manager at Xandros. Microsoft's Vista operating system, in contrast, recommends at least 15 gigabytes of free disk space to install.

I don't think the reviewer really understands what's happening here. Recommended amount of hard drive space is not installed space (although I'm aware that Vista is a beast). And the reviewer has apparently compared RAM to HD space.

BIOS (3, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122221)

Several companies offer such functionality in their computer BIOSes. Sony's stupidly named XrossMediaBar that they install on everything from PS3s to televisions as well as some laptops being a prime example. These people are probably out of luck as if anybody actually wants this kind of feature, it will start to be provided in more and more BIOSes. Sure, the BIOS mini-OSes don't have the "app store" extensibility (although there's no reason why they couldn't), but, well good luck with that. And if (as I suspect) nobody is really interested because suspend/hibernate is plenty fast enough, then they're still buggered.

MacBook Pro? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122305)

Odd that they're showing off this new feature on a MacBook Pro front and center on their website. OS X has always been the 'holy grail' of quick starts for me. With SmartSleep [www.jinx.de] I can configure it to do what I want depending on battery level.

For those that haven't had the opportunity to use OS X, it does a 'dual path' of both sleep and hibernation most of the time. Say you close your lid and the machine goes to sleep with 40% battery left. You forget about your laptop for a week and come back to a completely dead battery. Since OS X does hibernate also, all of your stuff is exactly as you left it (once you find power).

Windows so intelligently will run the battery dead in sleep and then lose everything.

Re:MacBook Pro? (2, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122439)

it does a 'dual path' of both sleep and hibernation most of the time.

Windows so intelligently will run the battery dead in sleep and then lose everything.

So does Windows Vista. It's called hybrid sleep [microsoft.com] .

How many is a few seconds? (1)

Spud70 (944688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122365)

A few seconds is still few-1 seconds too many I want a machine that can "stand by" using static ram so I can have it on stand by as long as I want without worrying about the battery power trickling away and have it power on instantly(ish)

Speed is the key. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122425)

They are definitely addressing an important usability problem. Slow UI makes the user frustrated. Google would never had made it big if it provided better results with slower search speed than the competitors.

So they are charging $19.95 for... (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122441)

...basically Xandros (with CNR) with a Wubi installer? (since it's windows only at the moment) Why not just ship them an Ubuntu disk, it's cheaper... :D

Yawn, another Lunix rerun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122457)

Anyone remember Lindows, and how they were going to take the Windows world by storm?

Are they still around? Didn't they change their name to Linschitz or Linspire or something? Sorry Lunix dudes, now that all the "stupid money" from the VCs is all dried up, I doubt you are going to be the next hot new internet start up to leverage new paradigm synergies of scale.

AVG for Linux? (1)

LunarEffect (1309467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122465)

Thats...the first thing I saw when I went to the "app store"...why? What did they do to the strict Linux user rights? oO"

only fanboys care about boot times (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122487)

This will only impress the type of douchebag who lists his RAM timings in his tweaker forum sig. People aren't using Windows because it boots fast, they use it because it came with their PC, and they can bootleg Office from work, and play Snood.

Fast Boot Time Means Little (2, Interesting)

johnsie (1158363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122535)

I had a fast boot time on Xandros. But the packages in the repositories weren't up to date and there were very few applications to install without breaking the system. Yes I enjoyed the fast boot times but what's the point of having fast boot times if your computer is completely useless. Installing Ubuntu was pretty easy and gave me access to some more up to date software but then then the Ubuntu repositories are barely up to date. The next netbook I get will be a windows one with a bigger hard disk so I can dual boot. I don't want to be limited by the OS I use.

App Store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122589)

Clearly what we need is an apt-store.

Web browser? Skype? (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122627)

I have an asus mobo with the quickboot environment, I can browse the web and use skype (though i have yet to actually USE it), however, what would be more interesting to me would be to have this environment be persistent while windows boots in the background, install a driver in windows that sends a message over to the preboot/quickboot environment that says "Finished booting, would you like to move this browsing session over to windows?" I'd click yes, enter my username/password to be passed as login credentials and it would load firefox in the background with all of my tabs (no cookies or sessions, safety first) and the preboot environment would go away until the next boot.

Of course I'd have 3 options at boot, preboot environment only, normal windows/linux boot, and the combo described above.

All of this technological innovation would save me rougly 2 minutes a day, maybe. Though now, the morning routine is to turn on the computer, grab a cup of coffee, and come back to a ready and waiting system.

Advertising not boot times (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122731)

how many people who arnt already aware of linux will read this article? Im sure its still so that the reason the majority of (non-commercial) users havent tried linux, let alone switched is because theyve never herd of it

Boxee / MythTV (1)

dalhamir (1423303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122771)

This seems like a perfect base OS for either Boxee or MythTV, where you might not want the Media Box sucking power 24/7, but you still want to be able to watch Tv when you want to rather quickly. Can anyone think of a reason why either Boxee or MythTV would be especially difficult to install on Presto?

Painful? More like PEBKAC. (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122777)

On an old Pentium 4 system I had, it took 18 seconds to reach fully-ready desktop from a cold boot. This was a five-year-old installation, in constant use as my main computer.

Anybody browsing this article probably has the technical competence and interest needed to maintain the OS so it never takes any longer than 30 seconds.

Unless you've got McAfee installed, of course, in which case it'll take a significant fraction of your lifespan...

Aside: PEBKAC is tongue in cheek for alliterative goodness. I know developers bear more of the blame owing to the fact that it's their fault anything needs to be done at all.

No Thanks (1)

FyberOptic (813904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122803)

These various onboard and compact Linux installations targeting Windows users are okay in thought, but not in practice.

Eventually all of the software would be out of date. And then what? The skype client might not connect, the Firefox might be riddled with vulnerabilities (because yes, its been prone to get them), the kernel itself might get root exploits, etc. Are you going to require the user to perform software updates on a distro which is supposed to allow them to work instantly and without delay? It's hard enough getting them to update their Windows installations.

Worse yet, what happens when something goes wrong? How do they reinstall it? Would they even bother?

I know that these aren't definite issues, but they're things to take into consideration when you're trying to pass off a compact operating system environment to people who are used to powerful ones with plenty of storage available and everything.

Anyway, that aside, the article is a bit extreme about startup times. Booting your computer will not take anymore than 30 seconds or so if you don't have it packed down with a bunch of shit. And the fact they even mentioned those lawsuits of taking 30 minutes is ludicrous exaggeration of a non-issue. If you're so impatient that you can't wait less than a minute, then computers are definitely not for you in the first place.

The solution to instant-on computing is taking better advantage of standby mode. It's entirely possible to have instant-on right now. It just depends on what your definition of the term is. There's no reason why it can't mean the same Windows/Linux/Mac installations we already have.

Anyone else (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27122847)

OFFTOPIC: Speaking of speed. Has anyone else noticed horrible DVD read speeds in the newer linux kernel distros? I have no problems in centos 5.2 or debian 5. DVD read speeds are horrible in ubuntu on different hardware and with both ATA and SATA DVD drives.

Ubuntu:
hdparm -t /dev/sr0 /dev/sr0:
  Timing buffered disk reads: 6 MB in 4.14 seconds = 1.45 MB/sec

CENTOS: /dev/hda:
  Timing buffered disk reads: 74 MB in 3.70 seconds = 20.01 MB/sec

This is silly. (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122865)

Ok, you could probably somebody an operating system that boots in 2 seconds and does nothing. But, I guarantee you that within a month the vast majority of people will load up their computers with a bunch of crap such that they will still take a minute to boot.

it's not os the boot time ... (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27122879)

It's all the OTHER crap that has to get done before you can use your computer. If you have only windows, no net connection, no 'SlowestNotes', no 'Norton-Nork anitvirius' software etc in your startup folder windows starts pretty quickly.

The problems start when you have a net login script on a bloated server that holds you back, then SlowestNotes starts and takes a few minutes to log you in and open your inbox, even longer to show your first new email. Then Norton-Nork anti-virus takes another few minutes to initialize and spit up a half dozen popups. Why can't all this crappy group-underwear run in the background in SILENT and let you open an app as soon as the OS is ready?

Not to mention that being Windows you probably have a ton of Maulware, Spyware, Viri and other infectious crap running in the background that Nortin-Nork didn't find. You don't stand a chance!

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