back to article Please ignore the start-up stealing the OS from Microsoft

Sometimes the world changes – again – and hardly anyone notices. As a case in point, we bring you DeviceVM. This week the Silicon Valley start-up began touting Splashtop – a type of instant-on software package for helping users route around slow operating system boot times. With Splashtop, you hit the power button and gain …


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  1. Martin Owens
    IT Angle

    Linux, the GPL and what we will do

    Well the GPL will force most of the Linux and stack tools into the open (or else the FSF will send in the heavies) and how long do you think it will be before we see a linux project to re-flash these motherboards with your own custom set of tools, or even using this to boot the primary part of the operating system and get the system usable while the system grabs a bit more stuff off the hard drive to load the actual tools such as firefox.

    There is so much that can be done with this and I'm as surprised as the author that this isn't being noted by IT journals and mags.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    an obvious evolution from the begining

    Computers have been heading in this direction from the beginning until Microsoft started convincing people to use their feature-ware application bundle and calling it an OS. I was honestly surprised when apple didn't adopt this approach with their OS when they made the switch to intel.

    As for prior art look at and their impressive 3 second boot time.

    If the halfwits in the patent office try to handicap the computer industry by granting monopolistic control of this to one company, someone should lock them away in a room and 'patent' the door knob so they can't use it to leave.

  3. Hetz Ben Hamo
    IT Angle


    Google is already participating in the LinuxBIOS project. How much work do you think it will take to add Frame Buffer, TinyX, FireFox, Skype and even Xine to put inside? my answer: not much. A good engineer could do this within few days, and can even use FS like cramfs ot other compression based filesystems.

    The biggest problem currently with SplashTop is that you cannot access yet your favorites and other media files from your local hard disk, not mentioning that you cannot write to the hard disk yet.

    SplashTop is nice, but integrating BIOS configuration right in should help a lot to introduce it to users.

    Good luck, DeviceVM

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Prior Art?

    Linux BIOS anyone?

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Funny we all jump in with the same idea :)

    I seem to remember my BBC B was a fully functional wordprocessor in less than 2 sec. (Wordwise in ROM 15) Hold on...


    berrr - Beep!


    Yep. Less than 2 sec :)

  6. TLA

    Why, Asus, Why...

    Why did you put Crossfire on that board? Where will my 8800s go now?

    The solution is clear, I must fabricate some kind of SLI-Crossfire adapter!

  7. Gleb
    Jobs Horns

    This is great, but...

    I want a free linux version within days people. DAYS! With, say 3 second boot time. I can go for as much as 5, I'm generous. And I want to have file access to play all that horrible, horrible jazz! I waaant...

    Yeah, I'm not paying for this one either, no way no how! It's my birthright to firefox without loading every single driver known to man, and every shared library from the GAC. Great idea guys, but you weren't first, and frankly if it's not free right away, it's worth bupkiss. Make money through searches, aaait.

  8. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    @Will Godfrey

    Ah, but the *really* cool thing to do on the Beeb was to write a !Boot menu that would let you select your all favourite applications off your Roms or floppy drive, then hold down the Shift Key as you switched on, thus immediately auto booting into the menu :-)

  9. Robert Chipperfield
    Thumb Up

    @Graham Marsden

    I seem to remember that better yet there was a * command of some variety that let you swap Shift-Break and Break such that it'd read the !BOOT by default on power-up.

    Tied in with the power socket, one flick and the computer was already in the app of your choice!

    Long live the BBC {B|Master}

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errr .. and what happen to 'standby'?

    Reboot? Why?

    All laptops and all M$ versions can use standby .. pretty instant on for most of us. Down side .. you can't leave your laptop alone for a few days as the battery would run down and don't flip the off switch on your home PC wall socket. Humm .. not an issue me thinks.

    We don't need instant on/mini OS in bios, as its been here for a while.

    What happens when I find a website I want to bookmark and look at later .. can that be saved? What about the conversation I had with Mum last week in skype .. humm .. is that in my bios OS (not saved)?

    May need to look at the product specs.

    Only real issue .. standby and start M$ a few too many times may lead to a reboot. On Linux .. no issue.

  11. Kurt Nalty

    Try RAM based Linux....

    Try RAM based Linux...

    This has served me well enough for years.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    This is amazing. It will revolutionalise the market if done correctly and is kept away from Microsoft. And dammit I was thinking about something similar only the other day. Oh well another great idea DONE...

  13. A. Lewis
    Thumb Up


    Not in this article!

    I think the author has it exactly right, this is a long-overlooked (or perhaps buried by Redmond if you are of the tinfoil-hat type) and very useful invention.

    A round of applause to DeviceVM, and I look forward to seeing the future developments in this area.

  14. Pete


    Couple this with a hypervisor, and you could browse the web/skype/whatever while your full OS boots in the background... obviously there's likely to be limited space on the flash, but with some user choice in software packages (like selecting audio/movie players, and... other things that people might want) this could be pretty darn cool in a number of ways...

  15. Dan
    Thumb Up


    I agree that this could be big, but advantage of instant boot applies to too many different OS'es for these guys to stay independent for long. Someone will acquire them.

    Rather than corporate machines, I think this makes more sense at home - I don't want to wait for my Mac Mini or Media Center PC under the plasma to boot up. Likewise, dodgy past products like an fridge with a browser in make no sense if you have to wait for the damn thing to switch on.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A rom based os on a pc...

    is not a new ida. Some older ibm ps/1 systems had ibm dos, works and a few other tools in their bios. It even used a graphical user interface. Even macos classic was mostly in rom in the early versions.

    Imho asus could do a better job if they included a live linux cd with their motherborad, especially set to boot on their hardware. The same could also be done with a standard ide flash disk by anyone who wants a quick linux system.

  17. druck Silver badge

    Re: Hmm

    RISC OS (the evolution of the OS first featured in the BBC Micro) has always been in ROM and instantly available. It's the OS the PFY's Archimedes, although we are 5 generations on from those machines now.

  18. Gavin McMenemy

    The point of this is?

    I don't understand what the point of this is. My PC boots in a few seconds as it is. Ok, it's about 30s, but I don't mind doing things like making a coffee while the machine boots. Is it really that important to be able to surf the web within 5s?

    I don't get the "and you wait and wait and wait". My POST flashes by so quickly that, if I am not actively trying to get into the BIOS, it's hardly noticeable.

    So I am confused. What is the point in this?

    And isn't this a Linux on Ram boot?

  19. Gavin McMenemy
    Thumb Down

    Forgot to mention...

    There tutorial is horrid. What's with the crappy guitar and the narrator's irritating (weird) American accent? Ugh.

  20. John

    @Anonymous - Reboot?

    Putting a computer in standby has two issues, both related to power drain. The first is the green issue - why leave a computer in standby, drawing power and running up an electricity bill when you can shut it down? My iMac boots and lets me log in in well under a minute, so it's not a huge issue.

    But the second issue is the big one - leaving a laptop sleeping is a recipe for a dead battery. The power drain is small but real. And if you do a safe sleep (i.e. store state on disc), it still takes a while to wake up. Indeed, Windows laptops seem to take tens of seconds to wake from sleep!

    A true instant-on computer would, given marketing etc., be very successful IMO.

  21. Bill Coleman

    re standby

    because with extended usage windows turn to kludge and needs a re-boot to get going again... not to mention crashes, improperly terminated applications - the insistence that you re-boot when you change settings, reboots after windows updates, reboots after application installs and uninstalls, reboots after server timeouts, reboots for breakfast dinner and tea. and also to save the environment from unnecessary power consumption.

  22. Robin Kinge
    Thumb Down


    I just tried to buy one of these and was told Asus had issued a recall :(


  23. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: and what happen to 'standby'

    Nothing did. It sucks as much as usual. Standby for two or more days and you'll reboot simply to be able to move the mouse. You're talking about a Windows system, Mr. Coward. Everyone and their mother knows that those things are not only unstable, but do their best to break themselves.

  24. ryan

    superb idea.

    I'd expect the IP to get bought up soon enough by one of the larger players.

    i wouldn't be entirely surprised to see somebody like Yahoo! come out of leftfield to bid on this either. it'd be a helluva way to get your search engine back in heavy use.

  25. ryan

    Apple sauce

    wonder how long before Apple sue them for the object dock thingy?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Erm Hibernate.

    I hibernate my laptop. Thats pretty quick and it powers down. My Viao does the same thing, doesn't seem to cause any problems.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Re: and what happen to 'standby'

    Mr Coward here :)

    My uptime on my laptop (ie since last reboot) is weeks with M$, just using standby. I have multiple desktops, tons of apps open, even including our somewhat moody friend Outlook.

    But yes, as I mentioned .. do it for too long and it all turns to treacle.

    Rebooting due to new installs .. agreed it does happen .. but how is a BIOS based instant on gonna fix that?

    Anyway, for the green coward that I am .. i would prefer to turn it all off as much as I can too.

  28. John Savard

    Copied already

    Just the other day I saw a SONY laptop in the store that could boot into a "media player" personality that let you play DVDs (but not surf the web) instead of booting up the OS.

    So this is an idea whose time has come.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    History Repeats

    This is an old idea that is worth while. Atari ST, Timex Sinclair, and others I don't recall or even know about. ROM (flash?) boot only requires that the MB support all desired features. DHCP would be a snap if the ethernet is on the MB, and all the rest is trivial too. I would not mind having this in my notebook at all. In fact, I'd probably try to get extra ROM so I could add a few things and never see Winblows again!

    Larry T.

  30. Jim

    Not another standby or hibernate..

    These choices today are about saving state not speeding up boot time. Splashtop is more of a cut down OS for doing basic stuff fast without waiting for the crud to load, I like the idea. I wonder if it utilises power management so that components not in use are powered down, eg network isn't necessary if you are not accessing the Internet.

    There are obvious issues with storage of personal settings, such as bookmarks, chat transcipts, whatever though not having access to storage means that virus protection is less important, which can be a big boost for Windows machine.

    I never knew that Asus made iBooks though... you live and learn

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