View Full Version : ASUS' Big Development (Article)

July 21st, 2008, 12:53 AM
Note: I found this article (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2325779,00.asp) (through Groklaw (http://groklaw.net))

by John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine

QUOTE]The ASUS sneak attack. The most interesting story the media is downplaying is the ASUS announcement that it will have a ROM boot chip on all its motherboards, which will boot Linux instantly on start-up. When you flick the switch the machine is instantly on. (It's about time.) Of course, you will have to press another button for the machine to load Windows.

This development is important, since 90 percent of the time all a user wants to do is surf the Web. Often when leaving for a trip, I forget to check the weather. To do so, I would have to start up my computer, wait forever for it to boot, then go online. This way, I just flip it on, and boom—I get a browser and the info and I'm done.

It's an extremely subversive ploy for a number of reasons. First of all, it gets people used to Linux, gives them a pain-free experience, and provides quick rewards. Second, it shows users that—most of the time—this is all they need. And finally, it makes Windows look like a subsystem not much different from a program that you run under Windows. The psychological effect of this is profound, and the results could be devastating for Microsoft.

What will develop naturally from such a new architecture will be Linux replacement apps for the usual Windows apps. One at a time they will come. Windows will boot only for those laggard apps, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. The rest of the time, users will remain in Linux, which will be perceived as very snappy and responsive—something missing from Windows.

It's obvious to me that ASUS is doing this to help people get familiar enough with Linux so that the company's ultraportable EeePC can further expand its market share. The EeePC runs Linux.

What's interesting is that the other motherboard makers are going to have to offer something similar. Since Linux is basically free, the additional cost of this feature is minimal—probably a dollar. This is the single biggest threat to Microsoft since the company went public. It's a bigger threat than Google, that's for sure. It's not overt, it's insidious. The only way to prevent this is for Microsoft to develop an instant-on mechanism itself.[/QUOTE]

First, it will be interesting to see how fast other motherboard manufacturers also do the same, if they do.

Second, how long till Windows allows it.

July 21st, 2008, 12:58 AM
The day I see a Microsoft install being able to have an "instant-on" feature, I will eat my own head :)

July 21st, 2008, 01:05 AM
Readies the salt & pepper for Joeb ;)
It will happen. They have a candidate in Windows Mobile. On an IPAQ it's quite frisky. That's what they would plump for, not a XP light for instance.

July 21st, 2008, 01:38 AM
It Depends, Windows Mobile isn't that brilliant considering it's designed for PDA's and Mobile's.

It'd be interesting to see Microsoft's response, I doubt it'll be anything to spectacular, probably a cobbled together OS that is "suffering a few minor issues" and "will be fixed in due course" which of course could bomb for Microsoft and be the first time Hardware manufacturers would say no to them.

Saying that, as it stands Microsoft could probably find a way for Windows to be placed above Linux in the new "Netbook" market.

I'm still waiting to see how Intel's stuff will pan out.

July 21st, 2008, 01:44 AM
Windows Mobile can do what ASUS proposes! This wont be a full OS experience, it's gonna be just what it is, quick note taker, web browsing, contact book mini OS.

Microsoft can't miss the boat AGAIN!!! There's already over an estimated 1,000,000 new Linux users thanks to subnotebooks. Linux and the eeePC stormed the market. They don't have 3 years to develop a small enough OS to go into a mobo. So options! Buy it in. Not really an option as there isn't anything on the market. Use Windows Mobile as platform.

July 21st, 2008, 01:51 AM
Windows Mobile won't be a quick add in though due to it being mainly an ARM beast.

With Balmer in charge who knows what will happen :)

the yawner
July 21st, 2008, 02:01 AM
I wonder if Microsoft would add another clause to the discounts thing they offer to the OEMs. Just so they would not ship a product with an OS on the motherboard.

July 21st, 2008, 02:01 AM
Compared to writing a new, ground up OS, of course it's going to be quicker!!

July 21st, 2008, 02:03 AM
Apart from splashtop (Asus expressgate)

Nec will be using Pheonix's hyperspace (also based on linux they say)

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/phoenixs_osindependent_hyperspace_security_firmwar e_debut_nec_notebooks


Microsoft regards HyperSpace as "outside their sphere of influence," and is not too happy with Phoenix's offering, which adds yet another voice to the already loud chorus of voices complaining about operating-system bloat.


July 21st, 2008, 02:28 AM
Well I was working at Dell there was work done on a quickboot type OS thing that ran on Linux. Dell has had this sort of thing for a while, but with Linux it supposedly was easier to develop. Or so I heard- I was not on the main team.

August 27th, 2008, 04:06 AM
What's ridiculous, however, is that it's impossible to install Expressgate without Windows. I haven't been able to sort this out yet, but I just built a system around an ASUS P5Q, and Expressgate is only available through a CD installer under Windows. I haven't mucked about with WINE or anything yet, but it seems pretty counterintuitive that one would only be able to install a custom linux distro through windows... If anyone else has a solution, let me know.

August 27th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Sorry no idea. Sounds like they might be trying to pacify Microsoft. I hope not! Grr. If a Windows OS purchase is required I won't buy ANYTHING with "instant on".

August 27th, 2008, 07:39 AM
They'll probably go for the same Xandros distro they've put on eeePCs. It will be interesting to look for whether or not the following features appear:

The ability to reflash this ROM chip and replace the distro (probably will be a feature but will require a hack.)
Mounting hard drive partitions as read/write (almost certainly will appear as a feature.)
Updating the kernel, etc. without fully reflashing the chip (probably not.)

Possibly the distro will need to be specially designed for this. Also, is this going to actually be a read-only chip? Because if it is, this is going to be like a ridiculously fast liveCD. I don't think that this will be an EEPROM or Flash chip, so probably you'll need a home partition and a seperate partition for /bin and /sbin (or a partition for both.)

What would be really cool though, for those who don't necessarily want an Asus motherboard, and definitely something I'd be interested in buying, is a PCI card that does the same thing.

August 27th, 2008, 08:16 AM
Instant-on... I like the thought of that!

August 27th, 2008, 11:44 AM
I like things the way they are :D lol.

August 27th, 2008, 12:39 PM
Instant-on... I like the thought of that!

It is possible to try it on any other pc that supports USB booting. You can install Splashtop on a USB stick or a HD. I'm sure they will be slightly slower than the onboard MB versions but the USB one should still be fast.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...p_hacked&num=1 (http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=splashtop_hacked&num=1)