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First through the Eee PC and now through its PC motherboards, Asus is rapidly carving a global reputation for itself as the company which knows how to take Linux mainstream. The question is will including the minimalist cut-down version of Linux called Splashtop on a million motherboards a month finally bring on the Linux desktop age or has it made the desktop redundant?
DeviceVM announced that its quick-booting Splashtop Linux implementation is being pre-installed in ROM (read-only memory) on four new Asus motherboards. Asus says it plans to ship over a million Splashtop-ready motherboards per month, making this one of the largest Linux deployments ever.
So I have had on my desk for about week now a sweet little ASUS laptop containing one of the new Splashtop motherboards. Don’t know what Splashtop is? Well Splashtop is a motherboard that contains, in the onboard memory, a special version of Linux (based on Small Linux - formerly tinyX) that runs right after the bios.
Less than two weeks ago we shared that SplashTop Linux was hacked to run off a USB stick, run custom applications, and more importantly having it run on non-certified motherboards (meaning those not sold by ASUS with SplashTop's instant-on Linux environment embedded).
DeviceVM's SplashTop, a product we had named as one of the greatest Linux innovations in 2007, is sharing a booth this week at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) with ASUS. At their booth we were allowed to check out a SplashTop demo running on an ASUS notebook!
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.
Covering Asus' adoption of DeviceVM's Splashtop software in all its motherboards and some laptops, we were wondering exactly which parts were proprietary and which were Linux - hence pulling back from calling it a "Linux OS".