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Hot Multi-OS Switching — Why Isn't It Everywhere?

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the all-the-tradeoffs-conspire dept.

Operating Systems 239

First time accepted submitter recrudescence writes "Slashdot readers might remember the Touchbook announcement from Always Innovating stirring up a lot of excitement in the Slashdot community back in 2009 (almost a year before the iPad was announced and essentially killed this off, and way before the Asus Transformer, which is essentially the same idea). The company's new product seems to support Hot multi-OS switching, supposedly with a minimal performance penalty. What seems strange to me is, why haven't other developers jumped in on this already? Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows, yet (disregarding emulation options) they're still limited to booting to a single working system at any time."

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By hot (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 3 years ago | (#37583166)

Do you mean a pirated copy?

Re:By hot (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 3 years ago | (#37583994)

No. They mean sexy - like you'd see on the TV show "Operating Systems Gone Wild". Usually shot in an anonymous server room, the hardware gets a little over-clocked and the OS ends up showing everyone its interfaces and device drivers... Sure there's some sloppy coding and the occasional core dump - usually with systems that can't handle their inputs. Pretty crazy stuff.

frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583168)

frist prost!

Virtualization (3, Informative)

Florian Weimer (88405) | about 3 years ago | (#37583172)

People have been doing this for ages, it's called virtualization. There are even modes which seamlessly integrate application windows running under different operating systems, and to share folders. So this allegedly new technology appears to be a step backwards.

Re:Virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583190)

Yes, exactly - they are talking about what some call a "bare metal hypervisor" which normally means some very small minimalist operating system that serves just to get virtualization up and running.

Re:Virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583270)

Yes, exactly - they are talking about what some call a "bare metal hypervisor" which normally means some very small minimalist operating system that serves just to get virtualization up and running.

Is it really THAT HARD to just pick an OS that meets your needs? Windows or Unix/Linux or OSX they are all very capable. If you are smart enough to avoid vendorlock you have lots and lots of options with any one of them. Is that what really drives the need for this kind of thing, people who fall for vendorlock and must keep an OS around when they really want to use a different one? That's a problem of being a savvy consumer. It is not a technical problem.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37583304)

But - why pick an OS? I generally boot my computer to a Ubuntu host, then I fire up a Windows VM, a BackTrack VM, a (ahem, cough) Leapord VM, and if I need more, they are available. Why do I want to PICK one, when I can run them all, at the same time?

Re:Virtualization (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583326)

Because it's stupid.

Personally, I just run Windows. It does everything that I want and it's stable. There is no reason for me to ever use Mac OS or a Linux based OS since neither can do as much as Windows can.

Re:Virtualization (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583348)

Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up, right now.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 3 years ago | (#37583358)

This, sort of. Any OS will do 99% of whatever 99% of people want to do 99% of the time. There is very little reason to hot switch in an operating system. Its a lot simpler to just find an app that does what you want on the OS you're running full time.

Re:Virtualization (2)

eviljolly (411836) | about 3 years ago | (#37583384)

Except when it comes to gaming. That's one of the only places you can't find apps for one OS to replace another.

It's also the main reason I run Windows. Otherwise, Ubuntu and an Office clone would do anything I need.

Re:Virtualization (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 years ago | (#37583412)

That's obviously an issue for people who run Linux as their primary OS. It's obviously not an issue for people that run Windows as their primary OS.

Re:Virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583552)

The same issue applies the other way around to people who want a sane implementation of the *nix utilities and a nice shell.
Or people who want a sane window manager, sane package manager, etc. etc. etc.

So yeah, I can definitely see why someone would need both.
Virtual machines do work for most cases, but they don't offer good hardware graphics acceleration yet AFAIK and sharing folders will be a bitch.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37583696)

The sharing folders is no problem whatsoever. I tell VirtualBox to make one or more folders on the host machine available to whichever VM's that I want them to be available to. Those shared folders are automagically mounted on the guest machine, no problems, ever.

As for the graphics - acceleration is improving. Until you start serious gaming, you really can't tell the difference. Or, I can't anyway.

Re:Virtualization (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 3 years ago | (#37583948)

I agree. Anyone who tried an older version of VirtualBox and wasn't satisfied with it should definitely try a newer release. The latest versions of VirtualBox sing like a chorus of monkeys.

(I meant that in a GOOD way. Call it, "well-trained monkeys with great voices.") :)

Re:Virtualization (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37583596)

Yes, but there are other issues with that. For instance there are Linux or Mac only applications that one might want to use. From time to time, I'll be searching for an application only to find that the only good one works for Linux or OSX even though it's a significant headache to boot into Linux for just that step in what's otherwise a Windows only chain of events. Or worse with OSX where I can't use it at all because I didn't overpay for Apple hardware.

Re:Virtualization (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 3 years ago | (#37583930)

The gaming thing has never been an issue for me because I don't like the big, world-eating things that the kids are playing now. I'm more of an old Commander Keen or Duke Nukem I/II guy, and DosBOX is a beauty-pageant-winner level beautiful thing for people like me.

If I ever did decide to get into the awesome new games, I'd probably just buy something like a Wii. Why tie up CPU cycles on that?

But that's just personal preference. The only thing I miss under Linux is really, truly good audio editing and MIDI support. The available FOSS selections (Ardour, Rosegarden, et. al.) all leave something to be desired. But also just MY opinion.

Re:Virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583504)

I guess there is 1% reason for everyone to use hot switching. Depends upon how important that 1% is.

Re:Virtualization (2)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | about 3 years ago | (#37583530)

There is no reason for me to ever use Mac OS or a Linux based OS since neither can do as much as Windows can.

Translation: "I don't know how to use a Linux based OS to do all thing things that Windows can." Sure, a lot of things only run on Windows, but there are a lot of open-source alternatives for Linux too... The only reason I'm not using Linux at all right now is because Linux doesn't play SC2 without WINE (an endeavor which I am not ready, or can be arsed to undertake), my school is part of the MSDNAA, and to be perfectly honest, I'm lazy.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583544)

Personally, I just run Windows. It does everything that I want and it's stable. There is no reason for me to ever use Mac OS or a Linux based OS since neither can do as much as Windows can.

I just drive a minivan because it does everything I want and it's stable. There is no reason for me to ever drive a sedan or a pickup since neither can do as much as a minivan can.

Idiot.

Re:Virtualization (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#37583570)

Yeah, windows is a joy to do unix development on.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583634)

"But...but...but Windows has a POSIX layer! For all practical purposes, it IS Unix!!"

Re:Virtualization (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 3 years ago | (#37583908)

> Personally, I just run Windows.

And that's fine; that's your choice. But there are plenty of us who prefer to run Linux because it's lighter and faster (for one thing, you don't need all of the stupid antivirus/antimalware stuff constantly consuming CPU cycles). There are some of us who have no choice -- we use 'nix at work and need a 'nix flavor installed at home.

But I'll admit that there are times when I need or want Windows -- doing my taxes, for one thing. So, I have Windows XP installed in a VirtualBox under OpenSUSE, and I can start it, do my taxes (or whatever), then exit.

Besides, there is the INTENSE pleasure of seeing Windows in a small, well-behaved window on my desktop. That's how it SHOULD be. (Evil cackle ...)

Also besides, you ought to run a really secure OS like Linux, then virtualize Windows, anyway. Take a snapshot of a known good config, and then if (when) you get a virus or some malware, simply delete the current VM and go back to the snapshot. Quick, simple, a beautiful thing. Like doing regular backups, only even mo' betta. :)

Re:Virtualization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583454)

But - why pick a single cock? You generally butt-fuck a twink, then you get sucked off by a lemon-party, then you ass-to-mouth a bear, and if you need more cock, the bathroom at the truck stop is available. Why do you want to PICK one, when you can have sex with them all, at the same time?

Re:Virtualization (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | about 3 years ago | (#37583546)

Why do I want to PICK one, when I can run them all, at the same time?

Because the host os requires memory as does each guest. For what you are talking about above, you need a bare minimum of 8GB and it wouldn't run that well. Its rare that you need all them open at the same time.

Re:Virtualization (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37583750)

Ahhh - a serious objection, less easily dismissed than some of the whining above!

And, my answer is, yes, I have 8 gig of memory installed to both of my dual core Opteron machines, as well as my Atholon 5300+ dual core. I'm using rather old architecture, and the boards don't support more memory - or, I would have 16 gig installed.

As for how well they run - I've had no real issues. I can run Ubuntu as the host, and Windows 7 as the guest, then add in another Linux OS as another guest. I just don't notice any issues, unless I try to play some graphics intensive game on Windows. Face it - at this point in time, a serious gamer is NOT going to play from a virtual machine. Anyone else? They simply aren't going to suffer any performance hits!

I really need to point out that way-back-when Virtual Box was first released, you really did take serious performance hits when running a VM. At that time, I only had 4 gig of memory on any of my machines, all were single cores, and the graphics cards were all AGP. At that point in time, the virtualization software was marginal. Since then, hardware has improved dramatically, and the virtualization software has improved just as dramatically. Not to mention, the OS's themselves are mostly virtualization-aware. All of the Linux distros seem to know when they are installed inside a virtual machine, and some automatically install the required drivers.

In short, while the issues haven't gone away yet - they are disappearing! Give it another 3 to 5 years, and I'll bet that there is NO performance penalty!

Re:Virtualization (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 3 years ago | (#37583768)

And with ram costing about $5/GB, that's not a huge issue anymore.

Re:Virtualization (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37583374)

Is it really THAT HARD to just pick an OS that meets your needs?

Unfortunately, yeah. Windows doesn't suit my personal needs, where Linux doesn't remotely meet my work needs. I do both from the same machine, and I don't get to decide to change everything at work over to Linux just because I like it better.

An efficient bare metal hypervisor for my laptop would be slick... and I've never really thought about trying xen or esxi for that... not sure how it'd work with the laptops limited resources. I think only the nicer versions allow for hot cpu and memory allocation, which would kinda be a requirement for mid-use switching.

As it is I just dual-boot... though I have, on occasion, just used guest Windows vm's inside linux.

Re:Virtualization (1)

ScottyLad (44798) | about 3 years ago | (#37583846)

Yes, exactly - they are talking about what some call a "bare metal hypervisor" which normally means some very small minimalist operating system that serves just to get virtualization up and running.

Is it really THAT HARD to just pick an OS that meets your needs? Windows or Unix/Linux or OSX they are all very capable.

Fullheartedly agree. I use a few different OS in the course of my work, but the vast majority is done on my Mac. I sometimes run Windows applications (eg Visio) via Parallels on OS X and it all works perfectly well.

As long as everything works in a way that's convenient for me, I don't feel the need to search for technical problems I don't have in order to implement technical solutions I don't need.

Re:Virtualization (4, Interesting)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 3 years ago | (#37583858)

Some of us don't have the luxury of using only what we want. I get paid for helping my clients with their problems (normally Windows), not playing on my own system. sometimes I have to fire up Windows 7, or XP, or Server 2008 R2, or Fedora 14, while I enjoy working with Ubuntu or testing an "enthusiast" OS. Some on-line services STILL only work with Windows.

An OS is just a platform for apps. By itself, it doesn't do a whole lot. The apps are what's important. If I HAVE to run MS Office, then I have to run Windows. If I have to work on Oracle in Linux, then I need Red Hat.

I'm planning on putting either a bare-metal hypervisor, or thin Linux server, on my next laptop just so I can "Hot Multi-OS switch" according to my needs of the moment.

Re:Virtualization (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#37583916)

Hell why not have two and pick the right tool for the job? I got myself one of the new EEE Brazos netbooks (highly recommend BTW, great performance and holds 8Gb of RAM) and one of the things that sold me on it is ExpressGate. With ExpressGate if all I want to do is surf, or chat, or listen to the tunes off my HDD I just push the EG button instead of the on button and in under 6 seconds I have a ChromeOS style net OS that adds about two hours on the battery, depending on what I'm doing.

On the other hand, if I want to fire up Audacity to do some editing? Or Word to work on a doc, or even fire up one of the games I picked up off of GOG? Hit the on button instead and I have Win 7 HP X64 waiting to do whatever I want. And the Brazos chip is a hell of a lot more like a CULV than an Atom, it is really snappy.

So why not have both? Hell you can fire up EG from within Win 7 if you want some "Yo dawg" OS in a OS style action. But it isn't like there aren't plenty of choices out there so in this case you can have your cake and eat it too.

Re:Virtualization (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | about 3 years ago | (#37583712)

Why not have both OSes simultaneously running at the native level, and use a software or hardware controller to tell each OS what to do with the video output?

Rob Malda would never let this happen (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 3 years ago | (#37583262)

How did this article make it to the front page? Better bring back Rob Malda or it's curtains for slashdot.

Re:Virtualization (1)

cob666 (656740) | about 3 years ago | (#37583578)

Until just a few months ago I could do everything I needed on my computer running Windows. As I'm a Windows developer that was OK. But I recently had to expand into iOS development for a couple of clients and it's just brutal trying to get a Mac OS VM to run under Windows so I'm now using a Macbook Pro with Windows running under Parallels for all the Windows apps that aren't available or don't have Mac OS alternatives (such as my genealogy software and of course Visual Studio).

Re:Virtualization (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37583980)

All of the different "Operating Systems" they were able to run were different blends of Linux, running the 2.6.32 kernel. It seems like what they're doing is less virtualization, and more isolation. You get the bare install that just provides a basic X server and selection screen. You then have several other distributions that you basically just chroot into. You have multiple live userlands that you can swap into, but they are all running the same instance of the kernel. It's basically everything FreeBSD jails, Solaris Containers, and Linux VServers have been doing for a decade.

repressed religious people (-1, Offtopic)

decora (1710862) | about 3 years ago | (#37583180)

They live their whole lives attempting to deny the fact that they love, absolutely love, hot multi-switching. They live a double life, unable to reveal their true feelings to their friends and neighbors. Every night they pray to their God to take away the horrible lust and debauched thoughts screaming through their mind every hour of the day. In the grocery store checkout, they think about hot multi-OS action. In their car, driving to work. In the shower, trying to sing contemporary spiritual music so loud that it will drown out the evil thoughts, they think about hot multi-OS action. And even some of the preachers and imams, while they are delivering another fire-brand sermon straight from God to the people, are, in the back of their mind, thinking about hot multi-OS action.

Only when our society has gone through another generation or two, and hot multi-OS is no longer branded with the stigma of 'perversion' and 'sin', will we begin to see some sort of social acceptance. The laws against hot multi-OS will fall, piece by piece, one by one. Eventually, we may even see hot multi-OS allowed in the military.

Re:repressed religious people (1)

ttong (2459466) | about 3 years ago | (#37583238)

I hereby pledge that we absolutely must have multi-OS action rule 34 on the intertubes.

Re:repressed religious people (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | about 3 years ago | (#37583448)

OS-tan characters. Your wish has been fulfilled-... sort of.

How is this different than a VM? (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 years ago | (#37583184)

I don't see any claims in their page that sounds any different than using VMs to run a bunch of operating systems at the same time, other than that they seem to have set it up with hotkeys to switch between full-screen VM displays. What am I missing? Or is this just another attempt to rebrand old technology as something new?

Re:How is this different than a VM? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37583872)

It sounds exactly like the ARM port of Xen that Samsung demoed at the XenSummit in 2007. Basically, the thing that made it different from normal virtualisation was the driver model that allowed each guest to have exclusive access to devices for a time. You could switch between multiple operating systems, but when each was active it would have direct access to the display, audio and input devices, but shared access to things like the network and storage.

That said, they list four operating systems that run in this mode: Linux, Linux, Linux, and Linux. So, it could just be using whatever the Linux equivalent of a FreeBSD jail or a Solaris zone is. Or even just a chroot for each userland...

decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583188)

You mean like computers have been able to do since the 1960's?

This isn't really hot-OS switching. (2, Informative)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | about 3 years ago | (#37583192)

> All OS are running on the 2.6.32 Linux kernel, and got several optimizations to take benefits of the advanced instructions available in the chipset.
>
> Note that you will not be able to install Windows OS or Mac OS on the Touch Book or the Smart Book.

Yes, you can do some cool things with linux. Including switching out the userspace pretty quickly. That's all that this looks like. The kernel isn't changing, from the looks of it.

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about 3 years ago | (#37583208)

In that case, I already have that on my several-year-old N900! I have a nice Debian chroot integrated into the environment, with a full X desktop, and I can access it just like a native application(which, in most respects it is).

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583332)

And amazingly, somehow you are still a virgin.

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583796)

I can't believe that made me chuckle.

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583314)

Having had one of the first AI tablets manufactured I agree that is was not real hot-OS switching. Unless they improved stuff since then it was nothing more than a grub reboot between Ubuntu/Crome/Android2. I vaguely remember some company that actually had WinCE and Linux hot-OS switching supported on OMAP3 ARM processors where both OS's were really running at the same time and you could swap between the two of them without needing a reboot. I doubt they are still in business because frankly who cares. I don't want the overhead of two OS's running on a ARM designed for powersavings. I want applications that work in the OS I am using. For at least the mobile space nobody can run real Windows7 with full office so there is very little incentive to running multi-OS's at once.
As for AI's fate, looks like they are still around but very uncompetitive. $499 for their new version that is crap compared to Dell's Tablet Duo. Hopefully they improved their manufacturing and software since their first rev was horrible. The battery glue fell off for me after a month, the touchscreen was very unresponsive so you couldn't really type on it, everything was really just a USB stick inside it so USB bandwidth issues existed and the Wifi stick was surrounded by metal from the touchscreen and PCB board so reception was horrible, and just a whole slew of hardware/software issue. The whole thing reeked of just a few 100k effort by just a few geeks, not a multi-million dollar product development effort typical of an Apple/Dell/HP tablet.

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 3 years ago | (#37583382)

Can someone fill me in as to how this is better than virtualization? And how the iPad killed it off? Because Apple or Asus or whoever coming out with a single OS tablet has very little impact on the future development of this multi-OS system.

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | about 3 years ago | (#37583490)

It's almost entirely unrelated to virtualization. This is more like highlighting the fact that you can switch browsers by hitting alt+tab, only they built the alt+tab button into the hardware.

It's more complex than that (because every one of those will have a different libc, and android doesn't use the same libc, never mind the rest of the libraries), but functionally that's what userspace switching is. The same kernel (OS) keeps running...

Re:This isn't really hot-OS switching. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583462)

So you can run "any OS you want, as long as it's Linux"? :)

VMs are more than good enough (1)

ellbee (93668) | about 3 years ago | (#37583224)

There may be reasons to run Windows or Linux natively on a Mac, but for me VMware Fusion does the job. Much better together than apart.

Re:VMs are more than good enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583308)

VMs may do the job, but they take so much RAM! Their resource hogs... Say whatever you want, but having a native switch option is ten-times better than a VM. Hands-down.

RAM usage shouldn't be a problem for VM users (2)

RulerOf (975607) | about 3 years ago | (#37583864)

VMs may do the job, but they take so much RAM!

What they don't hog, though, is CPU time when they're merely sitting idle. The joyous fruits of hardware-accelerated virtualization, indeed!

And if RAM usage is a problem for you, then I might suggest you stop buying RAM from OEMs. I bought a used i7 board and CPU from my boss, and populated it with 24 GB for about $180, and this was several months ago. Doing so today would cost even less.

Point is, I can't think of a situation outside of running several VMs that would require more than 4 or 6 GB for the average power user today, and even if you are running VMs, stretch that to 8 GB (which would cost you about $50 for RAM) and go on your merry way and virtualize your heart out.

Except for games (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37583360)

There may be reasons to run Windows or Linux natively on a Mac, ...

Games, or some other app that wants to squeeze every possible CPU cycle out of the hardware.

... but for me VMware Fusion does the job. Much better together than apart.

I definitely agree for most apps. One nice thing about VMWare Fusion is that you can have it both ways, it does not require a VMWare virtual machine for Windows. Fusion can run Windows from the Boot Camp harddrive partition normally used to dual boot into Windows at startup. So when you need to run the occasional "productivity app" you can stay in Mac OS and fire up Windows in a virtual machine. However if you want to run a modern game you can restart the machine and dual boot.

More Cores, More Ram, Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583254)

I can see this actually happening in the near future, I mean the REAL hot-swapping OS. If we have like 8 cores and 4gb Ram on a tablet it would be pretty easy in my opinion to run 2 OS at the same time with a button to just switch between them on the fly.

Re:More Cores, More Ram, Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583292)

sorta like the LPAR setup that IBM has been using for decades.

Re:More Cores, More Ram, Maybe (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37583334)

8 cores, and 4 gb of ram? Why are you being extravagant with the cores, and skimping on the ram? FFS, man, haven't you learned yet that memory is more vital than a hot core?

I'll settle for one or two cores, if I can have 16 gig of ram! And, I'll run more VM's simultaneously than you can!

Limited value (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583258)

For those outside of the geek realm, the ability to easily and quickly switch OS's is probably more of a liability (learning two different environments) than a feature. For some people it would be great, but for most users, not so much.

Kubuntu does just about everything I need it to do (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 3 years ago | (#37583268)

I use it on my Desktop, my Notebook, and my Netbook.

Simply having Chrome installed does nearly everything I would want out of a Chromebook, granted my netbook requires a little more overhead by loading up the full version of KDE, but really, the resume from lid being shut on my Acer Aspire One is really awesome and competes with anything a Chromebook can do. (Seriously, boot it up in the morning and it's good for days without charging with the lid shut, and an impressive number of hours lid open)

I have played with emulators for just about everything, even Android. I fail to see a purpose, my full Linux desktop does everything I need, I even run the netbook specific desktop on my net book and the full KDE desktop on my other machines, it's wonderful (and I am drooling on the concept of the the eee Transformer running it). Virtualization on the server level, or for doing client support from a desktop is a whole different thing all together of course.

I looked at Chromebooks, basically Acer is selling what more or less amounts to the same system I already have in my Aspire One only with double the RAM out of the box (I bought a 2GB stick with my Aspire One the day I bought it, so moot point to me) and a significantly smaller SSD instead of a hard drive for $200 extra.

I can install Angry Birds for offline use on my normal Chrome browser, I have both Google Docs and Libre Office for work online and off, and my EVO supplies bandwidth no matter where I am (well almost, Sprint has some crappy coverage areas). By all means continue developing this stuff, but really, I think people have solutions looking for a problem sometimes.

Re:Kubuntu does just about everything I need it to (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 3 years ago | (#37583368)

"Kubuntu does just about everything I need it to do"

The very same claim can be made for Mac, Windows, BSD, or any other operating system you might care to name. They ALL do "just about everything". That doesn't change the fact that sometimes, one OS has advantages over another. I like Ubuntu. I installed an Ubuntu distro to the wife's computer almost 3 years ago now, and it's still running strong. She won't ALLOW me to update, upgrade, or otherwise alter her machine. And, my most elderly machine is still running Ubuntu 10.04. Meanwhile, I have several VM's installed via VirtualBox, some of which I use routines, others that I only fire up now and then.

Windows can, in fact, perform a few little tricks that I can't do on Linux, without jumping through some rather obscure hoops.

Re:Kubuntu does just about everything I need it to (3, Informative)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | about 3 years ago | (#37583896)

Your reply is "I personally am happy with my OS"?
Uh.. we're really happy for you (I guess) but miss the point much?

Microsoft's tight grasp on OEMs again, I suppose (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | about 3 years ago | (#37583274)

The reason why we haven't seen this on Windows PCs so far are probably the tight restrictions that Microsoft puts on OEMs in order to be applicable for a rebate, which probably exclude any other OS on the same machine. In other words, if the big PC hardware manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. would put Windows and Linux on the same PC, they'd have to pay the retail price for Windows rather than the monopoly-supported OEM price, which obviously would cut deep into their margins.

Re:Microsoft's tight grasp on OEMs again, I suppos (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 3 years ago | (#37583324)

Didn't HP have Splashtop for some time? Wasn't that essentially a super customized Xandros partition? I remember their 'Quickplay' from vintage 2005 was essentially enough Windows XP to allow PowerDVD to run, and coincidentally it tended to take longer to boot than just starting Windows...but Splashtop didn't completely suck.

Re:Microsoft's tight grasp on OEMs again, I suppos (1)

Mojo66 (1131579) | about 3 years ago | (#37583376)

I don't think that Splashtop and similiar solutions qualify as an OS in terms of Microsoft OEM contracts, because it is part of the BIOS and is not installed on the hard disk.

There's a reason why they call it a "virtual" mach (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 3 years ago | (#37583276)

When I'm running an instance of VM, the other OS is still ultimately in charge. The VM I'm emulating cannot directly access the hardware without getting permission from the host OS. Proof: Windows XP will allow me to play Doom 95 with a joystick (Windows 7, for some reason, won't allow the game to have direct access to the joystick so it doesn't work). I installed VMWare and put an instance of Windows XP on it. Did I get my joystick back? No, because Windows 7 is still in charge.

Re:There's a reason why they call it a "virtual" m (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#37583312)

There has been some work(typically only supported on rather new server hardware) on giving VMs direct access to selected chunks of hardware. It is still controlled by the virtualization system, for security reasons; but if access is granted, that particular PCIe device effectively hangs directly off the virtualized OS, rather than the host one.

Probably Not going to be coming to joystick ports anytime soon; but is considered a feature of interest for things like high speed NICs, GPUs, and other such devices where the overhead of having the host juggle the data coming too and from the card in software before handing it to the virtualized OS is impractically large.

Re:There's a reason why they call it a "virtual" m (2)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 3 years ago | (#37583440)

Probably Not going to be coming to joystick ports anytime soon; but is considered a feature of interest for things like high speed NICs, GPUs, and other such devices

With the IOMMU virtualization in current Intel and AMD chips, any PCI device can be slaved to a VM. The trick is that things like joystick ports aren't usually their own device, but rather hang off of a PCI bridge that can't handle single-root virtualization, but is part of an aggregate root device that can. So, you wouldn't always be able to pick and choose just one device.

In Linux, use "lspci -vt" to see the device tree. Any device that is just one level off the root can generally be slaved to a to a VM. I use this feature for an eSATA card and video capture cards and it works fine.

Windows XP mode works with some USB stuff (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37583502)

Windows XP mode works with some USB stuff and it's not 100% pass though but it only has a carp low video chip set for windows xp mode.

MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37583280)

Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows

New? Finally? Apple's Boot Camp utility has been installing MS Windows and Apple supplied drivers on Mac hardware since 2006.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 3 years ago | (#37583346)

Manual mod +1 pedantic.

I don't think the summary writer was referring to their new ability to run Windows in 2011. Instead, I believe the reference was to the fact that, at the time of release, Mac computers could "finally" support Windows, the "finally" implicitly describing the sentiment in 2006 when Boot Camp was first released.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

NameIsDavid (945872) | about 3 years ago | (#37583380)

Yes, but the first Intel Macs weren't released until January 2006. There was barely any time between the hardware being Windows compatible and Apple not only supporting it but actually supplying the enabling drivers. So, the "finally" sentiment is very misplaced, as it implies a long period of unfulfilled demand as someone dragged their feet.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#37583620)

No, it doesn't. It implies a long period of time during which Mac users couldn't use those programs without owning a separate machine. And as for your assertion that they couldn't run the OS until January 2006, that's not true at all. For many years MS released a version of their OS which would run on Power Macs. Granted it couldn't be used in this fashion, but the option was there for years.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583708)

For many years MS released a version of their OS which would run on Power Macs. Granted it couldn't be used in this fashion, but the option was there for years.

Windows NT 4 had a PowerPC build, but it wouldn't run on any Power Mac.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

Andreas Mayer (1486091) | about 3 years ago | (#37583782)

For many years MS released a version of their OS which would run on Power Macs.

Um. No.
I guess you are talking about Virtual PC. That was a PC emulator for Power PC created by Connectix (Wikipedia says June 1997).
Microsoft bought it from Connectix in 2003. And they practically ended Mac support by not porting it to Intel based Macs.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 3 years ago | (#37583654)

Oh shut up smelly.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583388)

um... virtualpc before that. You know, the product made by Microsoft to allow PPC macs to boot windows.

"Virtual PC was originally developed for the Macintosh and released by Connectix in June 1997."

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

Andreas Mayer (1486091) | about 3 years ago | (#37583788)

um... virtualpc before that. You know, the product made by Microsoft to allow PPC macs to boot windows.

"Virtual PC was originally developed for the Macintosh and released by Connectix in June 1997."

Virtual PC for Power PC was not made by Microsoft. You even quoted the relevant passage.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (2, Insightful)

shitzu (931108) | about 3 years ago | (#37583350)

Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows

New? Finally? Apple's Boot Camp utility has been installing MS Windows and Apple supplied drivers on Mac hardware since 2006.

made
In the past tense.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (-1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#37583414)

Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows

New? Finally? Apple's Boot Camp utility has been installing MS Windows and Apple supplied drivers on Mac hardware since 2006.

made In the past tense.

Past tense as in when you made your post a few minutes ago? "Made" can be vague with respect to time, when used with "new" and "finally" it seems to be referring to something in the recent past.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

shitzu (931108) | about 3 years ago | (#37583870)

Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows

New? Finally? Apple's Boot Camp utility has been installing MS Windows and Apple supplied drivers on Mac hardware since 2006.

made
In the past tense.

Past tense as in when you made your post a few minutes ago? "Made" can be vague with respect to time, when used with "new" and "finally" it seems to be referring to something in the recent past.

You can always bitch about words. But the sentence in itself is correct. And the date is not that important in the context of this article. Apple thing is just an example to illustrate a point.

At the time of the campaign, the feature was "new" as well as "finally". For the first time in Mac's history, it ran on an intel CPU (hence "new"). And the history preceeding that was as long as the history of PC (hence "finally"). Neither of the words have nothing to do with the recentness of "made" in this context.

And additionally - any person who knows even a little about Apple history, read this sentence like this: "Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign [oh yeah - i rememver it from around 2006] of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows". I know I did and did not give it a second thought. There has not been another campaign by Apple on this subject except the "i am also a pc" stuff.

Re:MS Windows on Mac H/W is not new (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | about 3 years ago | (#37583968)

When I was studying English as a second language I was taught that Present Perfect should be used to emphasize connection to an event in the recent past. regular Past Simple tense is for stating facts.

side by side OS's controlling the same files, HW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583338)

Boy, that's going to work out great!

Enlighten me since the article lacks details (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 3 years ago | (#37583352)

Is this really that impressive? I looked through his website and couldn't find a straight answer(I guess if I dug through the code I could probably find it but not really willing to do that :P), how does he do this? It looks as if all he is doing is suspending the current OS state to disk(probably by using an SSD which gives you that instant on capability) and then unfreezing one of the other OSs. I assume you can only run programs on one OS at the same time(in the demo video he didn't show otherwise, in fact he purposely paused the video before switching). So really it seems to sacrifice almost all the benefits of virtualization for a perhaps tiny boost in speed if you only want to use one of the OSs. I can see this being very useful in a few niche situations, but overall virtualization is going to win out 99% of the time....unless of course I am missing something.

Ever run a mainframe? Try looking at LPARs. (1)

emes (240193) | about 3 years ago | (#37583394)

Sadly the PC world has unitl recently ignored yet another lesson from mainframes- logical partitioning.

The concept is a minimal bare-metal hypervisor which in mainframes is built into the hardware and is integrated with a robust set of configuration tools. It's nice to see at least a shadow of this concept being implemented in something.

"Corm!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583396)

Now I understand that lolcat about "I HAZ A CORM." Apparently that cat is French and is trying to say, "Chrome."

*sigh* (3, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#37583432)

Inconsistent design is generally considered a bad thing.

For non-techies, switching operating systems is akin to learning a foreign language. You're lucky to get a typical Windows user to even try Linux or OS X long enough to become minimally proficient. Software like VMWare utterly baffles most people, and expecting them switch between OSes with different file structures and interface paradigms every time they start an app is an accident waiting to happen.

"Why can't program X see my USB stick?"
"Why won't program Y print to my printer?"
"Where did all my files go? I can't even find the C drive!"
"Why isn't my headset working?"
"Why do I need Windows Updates on my Mac?" ...

Re:*sigh* (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 3 years ago | (#37583498)

I think using Virtual Box in seamless mode is a much more entertaining way to confuse and baffle them.

I've also had a we bit of fun putting all of the tools from Cygwin into the normal path on windows and using primarily *NIX commands in a DOS terminal to do my normal command line stuff. This is for your baffling your more experienced Windows users.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Locutus (9039) | about 3 years ago | (#37583612)

nailed it! So many non-techies are never taught concepts and just remember icons and the menu names/labels they need to click to do something. With a userbase so ignorant of what they are doing even giving them the option to run the greatest OS which ever existed( fictional ) they would oppose it because it was different from what they "learned".

LoB

Like the Asus Transformer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583496)

The Asus Transformer runs Android Honeycomb whether the keyboard is attached or not. It doesn't have two different OSes.

---

Posted from my Asus Transformer

Virtualisation != Emulation, mostly (1)

igb (28052) | about 3 years ago | (#37583652)

I wouldn't dismiss "emulation" so blithely. Macs can, of course, run VMware or VirtualBox and run Linux, Solaris or Windows (or other things) inside those partitions. I have a Mac running all those three. The performance is mostly native, certainly for the things I'm using it for. The days of having to use VirtualPC to run a software x86 are long gone.

Killed what now? (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | about 3 years ago | (#37583702)

They still offer the Touchbook for sale [alwaysinnovating.com] . And there's even a second generation. But for my money, the Acer Iconia 6120 is seriously cool.

Hibernate and restore? (1)

utkonos (2104836) | about 3 years ago | (#37583752)

What is the technical reason or reasons why you cannot hibernate one OS (suspend it to disk), then restore another previously hibernating OS? Couldn't you have a number of OSs ready to run simply constrained by disk space?

Re:Hibernate and restore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583838)

I switch between hibernated Windows and hibernated Debian sessions all the time, so this is already possible. Only drawback: I cannot write to the hibernated XP partition from Debian (reading works ok).
Btw: This is on a Packard-Bell laptop so no special BIOS or something.

Solution looking for a problem? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 3 years ago | (#37583776)

What seems strange to me is, why haven't other developers jumped in on this already?

Perhaps because its a feature nobody actually wants? It looks cool, but what are the practical uses? TFA refers to switching between ChromeOS, Ubuntu and Android - why? Last time I looked, ChromeOS was basically a gateway onto Google's web apps, which are available in any browser. Meanwhile I don't want to run Android/iOS apps on another OS - the point of a mobile operating system is that both the OS and the Apps are designed for mobile/touchscreen use: if I'm using a device capable of running a desktop OS then I'd also like to run full-fat desktop applications. Most decent mobile applications are designed on the assumption that you'll sync them with your desktop when available.

Macs, for instance, made a huge campaign of their products' new ability to finally support Microsoft Windows, yet (disregarding emulation options) they're still limited to booting to a single working system at any time."

Not sure what you mean by "emulation options" - modern virtualization tools are an order of magnitude better than old-school hardware emulators and perfectly adequate for all but the most demanding applications and some have gone a long way towards making Windows applications work as seamlessly as can be expected alongside OS X on the desktop and sharing files, clipboards. Plus, they let you do all sorts of other tricks like snapshots and exchanging virtual appliances that are useful for testing and experimenting. Parallels seems to be top of the heap in terms of OSX/Windows integration, some claim VMWare Fusion is more stable/has better support (I don't use it so I can't argue) and VirtualBox can't be beat for free.

Mobile-exclusive applications (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37583924)

the point of a mobile operating system is that both the OS and the Apps are designed for mobile/touchscreen use: if I'm using a device capable of running a desktop OS then I'd also like to run full-fat desktop applications.

Unless the specific application that you want to use is exclusive to mobile phones, such as a bank's check deposit application that uses a mobile phone's built-in camera, or any of several casual games.

Most decent mobile applications are designed on the assumption that you'll sync them with your desktop when available.

iOS 5 is in fact going the other way, reducing its dependency on iTunes software. It appears Apple is opening the door to allow people to own only an iPad and not a Mac or a PC running Windows.

No one NEEDS multi-OS (4, Insightful)

vinn (4370) | about 3 years ago | (#37583804)

Here's the thing - multi-OS is confusing for people. No one is clammering for it because no one is going to get a device and then figure out how to load another OS on it. Think about it - how many people do you know (outside of your circle of geeks) that has a clue you can even load another OS? No manufacturer is going to preload two OS's. And, the geek community really isn't large enough to support sales of consumer devices.

People seem to be perfectly content having multiple devices. I don't know anyone who really uses Bootcamp, but I know quite a few Mac users that also have a Windows laptop laying around in case they need to use it, or the occasional VM. (Most Mac users I know seem perfectly content telling their PC brethren "I can't open that" and making them resend it in another format rather than try to figure out why their overpriced, shiny toy can't do something.) In the tablet world, there's not a lot of interoperability needed because there always seems to be An App For That.

Re:No one NEEDS multi-OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583910)

A netbook that boots both android and windows seems to counter your opinion that 1) no one has a clue this is possible 2) that no one wants this. And these netbooks do exist.
Multi-boot big OS's that do basically the same (OSX, Windows, a desktop Linux) don't make much sense, except for an occasional file format they compete to fulfil the same needs. But when they do have more obvious differences, simplicity versus versatility for example, then it makes sense. And it starts to make sense to boot (in the background maybe) your desktop OS next to your android for example.

Re:No one NEEDS multi-OS (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | about 3 years ago | (#37583914)

Agree. TFS dismisses emulation options, but really how much of a quantum leap would it be not to have to run Parallells?

Re:No one NEEDS multi-OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37583956)

I use virtual machines big time. One of my main uses of a virtual machine is surfing the web. After I'm done surfing, I close the VM and all changes are gone.
Nice for sites that require dangerous plugins like Adobe anything.

Hardly anybody really wants to use multiple OSes (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 3 years ago | (#37583898)

Among geeks, there is a substantial percentage who think it's cool to run multiple operating systems. There's an even smaller sub-set for whom it's truly useful. Among normal, everyday users, though, the percentage of users who want or need this is very, very tiny. Just managing ONE operating system is complicated for most non-geeks. They don't WANT to further complicate their tech lives by adding more operating systems. For some reason, it seems to be very difficult for geeks to understand that not everyone is like them -- and the fact that they don't want to do what you want to do doesn't make them stupid. It just means their priorities aren't the same as yours. So this capability isn't "everywhere" because there aren't enough people who need it or want it to make it a profitable feature to add. Simple.

Irrelavent (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | about 3 years ago | (#37583918)

Why would anyone care? Remnants of Microsoft Hegemony remain be their relevance is decreasing. I keep a version of Windows around on the off change that it will come in handy for the MS diehards but I find that is increasingly unnecessary. It is similar to AOL once people realize there are viable alternatives and enough people adopt standards having multiple devices and OS's in the work place is less of a challenge. The old ways die slowly (as they should) since there is no real reason for the adoption of new software when the old works well enough.
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