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Author:  Hollow
November 1, 2008



A Linux Laptop in every home by the end of 2009?

Well not quite, but I think it’s going to be close. From what we’re hearing and reading every day now, it seems that more and more laptops are being shipped with a technology called “Fast Boot” or “Instant On” or “Latitude On” etc depending on which manufacturer is implementing it (Purely for the purposes of typing I’ll refer to it as “Fast Boot” for the rest of this post). This is something that allows a laptop to boot up, almost immediately, with no need to go through all the POST procedures and boot up time for a full operating system. To do this, it uses Linux. Some systems boot the “Fast Boot” Linux first, (within 5 seconds) whilst booting the main operating system on the laptop in the background and then giving the user the option to switch between the softwares, others simply boot the “Fast Boot” Linux within 5 seconds, if you tell it to and won’t boot Windows at all unless you request it.

Benefits to Linux :

So with this now a reality, it should be also very obvious, that seeing as so many new laptops are being shipped with “Fast Boot” on them, that this means every laptop sold with “Fast Boot” will have Linux installed, even if Windows is the main operating system. Hold on to that thought and think a little further and it stands to reason that sooner or later, “Fast Boot” will be like Wireless, something that comes as standard on EVERY laptop sold, which in turn of course means, every laptop sold will have Linux on it.

This is absolutely excellent news for Linux. I mean sure, it would be better if Linux installed laptops (As in the ones with Linux used as the main operating system) were outselling or even selling the same number as Windows installed ones, but this is a pretty close second and could lead to just the previous statement being a reality.

Benefits to the User :

If you’ve got an option to boot up in 5 seconds flat, view your web mail, load up a couple of web pages or just make a VOIP call (That’s right some will include VOIP technology in the “Fast Boot” OS. Or you have another option, wait for 2 – 5 minutes, (depending on how cluttered your system is, how powerful your machine is with it’s hardware etc), just to check your web mail, or have a quick look at a website, which option are you going to take? You’ll take the faster one of course, everyone does. If you’re going to sit at your desk for the next ten hours, you’re probably going to let the full OS boot no matter what, the 3 minutes is worth waiting if you’re going to be at it for hours on end. If you’re on the go though, which is what Laptops are for really, then why wait?

The end results expected :

So once people start using Linux on a regular basis with “Fast Boot”, because it’s so much quicker to boot up, they’ll get used to it and let’s face it, this is the hardest part for new Linux users, getting the Windows flavor, out of their mouth, and tasting the fresh freeness’ that is Linux. Once they realise that this operating system they’re using every day, has a more feature rich version available, at no cost, and isn’t made by Microsoft, they’ll start looking to have a full install instead/as well. It’s like when someone gets a new mobile phone and it uses Linux, they don’t know it uses Linux, because unlike Windows Mobiles which come with Windows logos all over them to make sure everyone knows it’s Windows, Linux mobiles don’t come stickered up. The thing is, as soon as you tell them that this phone they love because it has SO many features, never crashes on them (Unlike certain Windows Mobile devices I’ve used which crash constantly), has great looks and is really responsive, is running Linux and you can get that on the PC, they ask for a demonstration. So out comes the USB stick, boot up their PC and bingo, another convert. This might not be neccessary anymore.

Summary :

With modern Linux Distributions getting easier and easier to install, configure, set up and use, all it needed was a way to tell the masses how great it had become, how easy they would find it and how much they would love it. I believe this “Fast Boot” technology is going to be the way in for Linux in the desktop market. Too many people, normal consumers and I.T. professionals alike, think of Linux as something that is popular with geeks, but hard to use for “Joe User”. It isn’t, the problem is, telling these people this doesn’t cut it. People have to see things with their own two eyes to believe it and that’s just human nature. Getting someone to see it with their own eyes, sometimes means employing Microsofts own tactics and installing the software on their laptop by default, even if they still buy a Windows laptop.

Whether this technology increases the number of Linux users or not, the fact still remains, if this technology becomes implemented in every laptop sold before the end of 2009 (Quite likely according to the press hype around it), then Linux will officially be shipped on more laptops than Windows. When you think about it, if you’ve got something available to you, while you’re not doing anything else (Waiting for a machine to boot up) why wouldn’t you try it out? Of course you would, and if you try one of the more user friendly distributions of Linux these days, you don’t tend to go back to Windows willingly. I recently did a dualboot of Ubuntu 8.04 with Windows XP for a customer, he very rarely ever boots Windows now, for one thing because he loves the way Linux looks and works, but something else he pointed out was just how fast his Linux installation boots in comparison to Windows, and that’s a full installation. Imagine how impressed that customer would have been if he could boot one Linux installation in 5 seconds flat, use it to surf the web for a minute or two while his full installation of Linux booted and then switch to the full installation once it was booted up.

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Author:  Hollow
October 12, 2008



You know what, I think it might be!

Click to look at the full elemt inspector and page highlights

LXDE Menu a pleasure to use - screenshot

I’m stuck at home this weekend with a cold and a second head (A Cist) sticking out of my cheek, so I started reading through some Linux news reviews on other sites. Low and behold while I was looking through the release announcement for one of my favorite recovery/helper distributions on distrowatch I noticed they had switched from using XFCE (A Very lightweight desktop based on KDE but not particularly pretty and not all that functional IMHO) to LXDE. Now I’d heard of LXDE and seen some write-ups on it before but never considered it to be all that much use to anyone really. ThisĀ  opinion changed over the course of this weekend.

After installing LXDE on our company laptop (Dual boot HP NX9420 with Windows XP and Kubuntu 8.04) and logging into it, I found an extremely fast (And I’m talking lightning), relatively attractive (Not gorgeous but doesn’t make you want to look the other way in disgust either), useful and functional desktop infront of me.

Chrome Right Click Features

LXDE Clean desktop, fresh load - screenshot

File manager and My Documents - screenshot

File manager and My Documents - screenshot

I decided to delve further with this new Desktop of mine and see where it would fall over, there had to be a problem with it somewhere, it was too fast and too useful at the same time to be perfect. Sure enough it did struggle to load a couple of the KDE apps I had installed but for the most part it actually handled everything very cleanly.

The menu in LXDE is a pleasure to use, it’s simple, straightforward, does what it says on the tin and it’s very functional. This menu doesn’t have all the bloat of more recent modern menus and just allows you to do what you need to with it, without being over the top.

Why haven’t I used this desktop before, I asked myself? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be using KDE3.5.9 as my main desktop for another 10 – 20 days until the release of Intrepid Ibex comes out from Kubuntu, that’ll have KDE4.1 on it, if that doesn’t please me I may well be switching my main distribution over to Mandriva, but LXDE is definitely staying on the company laptop and going to be used extensively in the coming months.

Adept package manager and Konqueror Home Page - screenshot

A Linux desktop which not only looks quite nice but is actually functional and super fast, I really do think this might be the new KDE in the next year or two. Several people are unhappy with KDE4.1 (Me being one of them, although I have mentioned in my Mandriva 2009.0 review that they’ve done a great job of making me like it) and KDE4.1 is definitely more of a resource hog than KDE3.5.9 was. Given another year or so and I think LXDE might be the default desktop on several distributions. LXDE ALREADY is the default desktop on some distributions but they’re all the minimal distributions, I’m talking about it being the main desktop for Ubuntu in 9.04. This may all be rubbish and the cough syrup might be finally kicking in but I think LXDE could and will go a lot further than it has up to now.

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