Practical Technology

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Everyone’s free Linux: DeviceVM’s Splashtop

One of the neat things about Linux has always been that you can run it on just about anything: iPhones, xBoxes, PS3, you name it, you can run Linux on it. So, why not, the good people at DeviceVM thought, make a desktop Linux that came bundled in a PC’s motherboard: Splashtop.

Splashtop is a mini-desktop Linux distribution that’s based on the 2.6.20 Linux kernel. Currently, Splashtop comes pre-installed on pretty much all ASUS motherboards and on netbooks and laptops from ASUS, HP’s high-end VoodooPC division and Lenovo. Rumor has it that Splashtop and similar baked-in desktop Linuxes, like Dell’s “BlackTop,” aka Latitude ON, will soon be appearing from other PC and motherboard vendors. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if DeviceVM makes some new partner announcements at this week’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

The concept behind Splashtop and its competitors is to make it possible for you to open your netbook or laptop and be able to get to work in five seconds or less. It’s not a Windows replacement idea. Most of these systems come with Windows pre-installed as their main operating system. Instead, vendors are addressing the needs of today’s hurry-up-and-go users. These folks simply want to get to a desktop quickly so they can check their e-mail, make a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) call or check a Web site, and then close it to catch their next flight.

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