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ASUS P5E3 Deluxe  (Source: Phoronix)
New ASUS P5E3 deluxe mainboard has instant-on Linux embedded

ASUS’ forthcoming enthusiast mainboard called the P5E3 Deluxe has all sorts of features that you’d expect to find on a high-end mainboard powered by the Intel X38 chipset. The board features dual PCI Express slots, DDR3 memory and more.

A feature that you don’t expect to find on a mainboard is an embedded Linux environment. Phoronix says that the Linux environment is complete with a web browser and a Skype VoIP client. The Linux environment is ready to run within seconds of powering the mainboard up and requires no software installation.

A screen asks you if you want to boot into Linux or another operating system. The software that supports this Linux environment is called SplashTop, which is an instant-on Linux environment being developed by DeviceVM.

The included web browser is a stripped version of Firefox that includes support for flash. The OS loads into your RAM, however, Phoronix says that your settings are recalled for the next time you use Linux. Support for Live Bookmarks is included but you can’t open local files on SplashTop.

SplashTop is also reportedly able to access and use the mainboard’s built-in ASUS 802.11n wireless adapter right out of the box as well. Supported screen resolutions inside SplashTop are basic and no 3D acceleration is available. Linux fans may be disappointed to hear that there is no Linux virtual terminal.

The MSRP for the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe is $360 USD.



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How about this...
By Dactyl on 10/8/2007 7:06:03 PM , Rating: 4
An embedded Linux distro that boots within seconds, and puts you onto the web.

Meanwhile, your main system boots up in the background. When you main system finishes loading, it seamlessly moves your FireFox windows from the embedded Linux to whatever your main OS is.

In other words, when you arrive at your computer, you can start surfing the web/checking your email, while it takes a minute or two to boot, so you don't lose that time waiting for the system to start.

I think it would be pretty easy to carve out 256MB of system ram that Windows (or whatever main OS you want) would not use that during its boot sequence.

The big hassle, it seems to me, is figuring out how to share CPU cycles/other system hardware (mostly the wireless internet) between the embedded Linux and the main CPU while it boots.

Maybe if they embedded a slow CPU into the northbridge, with very little cache, in order to run the boot-up OS, that would solve the problem...

Or maybe I'm just making things WAY too complicated :-)




RE: How about this...
By maveric7911 on 10/8/2007 8:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
This is probably one of the greatest things to come out on a motherboard.Bsod no problem you can still boot into a working operating system to begin your repairs. All these nay sayers that say linux is worthless or you can't use it is just absurd. Linux is the fastest growing os on the market, and its FREE. Just because you haven't tried it doesn't mean its not usable or can't be used by any run of the mill computer user. Please try it before you start to say something isn't usable or can't be used by any average computer user. This really is the future of computing to be honest.


RE: How about this...
By psyph3r on 10/9/2007 3:01:58 AM , Rating: 2
i definitely agree. Seems the Technical possibilities are great


RE: How about this...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/9/2007 7:50:40 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Linux is the fastest growing os on the market, and its FREE.

Well, if you separate versions of Windows I would say Vista is the fastest growing OS on the market. I also have to point out that few people would ever pay for Linux. It's an option only because its free, but wouldn't be worth purchasing. The development cycle for Linux is sketchy at best for most distros. Only the larger distros that are geared towards Corporate use have a semi-respectable development cycle (ex. Novell, Red Hat).

quote:
Just because you haven't tried it doesn't mean its not usable or can't be used by any run of the mill computer user.

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here. I have lost track of how many times this statement has been used for Linux, and I'm losing track of how many times I have to state the obvious. Linux is DIFFERENT. The average computer user knows how to turn their computer on, open their email, surf the web, and maybe do some work in a word processor. If you change it where the interface doesnt work the same, and the apps dont work the same, then they will hate it. People do not like change. We have seen this with every minor change to the Windows OS, or changes to applications, even the techies absolutely hate when things change and get moved around (See Complaints about Vista / Office 2007).

quote:
Please try it before you start to say something isn't usable or can't be used by any average computer user.

It's not. Deal with it. Let me give you a history lesson. Back in the day when Mac's and PC's were fairly new there was 2 thoughts to how to take over the market. Apple thought that if you gave Apple's to every school and taught them to use them, that when they buy their own computer later in life, they would go for an Apple. Then there was the IBM/Microsoft method, which was to put them in all the businesses with the idea that people want to use the same thing at work and at home. Guess who won that eh?

People will in 98% of cases buy the same type of machine they have at work. Why? Because it's easier to learn 1 thing and have it work in 2 places.

quote:
This really is the future of computing to be honest.

The abysmal 4-5% Linux marketshare says otherwise. Linux is no more a serious player in the market than Apple, and Apple is tied to their own hardware. Pretty sad when it works on many hardware setups and still can't beat out the closed Apple box. No, Linux is going to be a footnote on the sidelines of the Windows dominated market for years to come. Linux is simply too diverse, with too many flavors. Windows is a relatively stable and unified platform for Drivers, Software, and more.


RE: How about this...
By maveric7911 on 10/9/2007 10:21:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This really is the future of computing to be honest.


This was in reference to embedded os on the motherboard.I would say in fact that integrated os would be the future of computing.

As not to get in the tireless battle of linux or no linux with a person who obviously hasn't even tried it "can tell easily by your comments about the environment". I would say that your preconceptions about the linux desktop environment, release schedule, and usability are a far stretch from the truth. At this point in time one could easily exactly replicate a vista or xp desktop with the same usability,layout, and functionality. If you actually look at the growth in the entire os field "this includes servers" you will see linux is gobbling up a ton of marketshare at this point. One could say there really isn't any slowdown in sight.


RE: How about this...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/9/2007 11:28:31 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
As not to get in the tireless battle of linux or no linux with a person who obviously hasn't even tried it "can tell easily by your comments about the environment".

Too late, you already made the off-cuff remark. I've used Linux past and present. I'm a fan of the Fedora distro personally. That said, Linux is not ready for prime time with your average low IQ user.

quote:
I would say that your preconceptions about the linux desktop environment, release schedule, and usability are a far stretch from the truth.

No, they are quite on target. Depends on the flavor. Some are better than others. (See Novell, Red Hat for examples of decent release schedules)

quote:
At this point in time one could easily exactly replicate a vista or xp desktop with the same usability,layout, and functionality.

Do-able yes. But will all of their software work on it? No. Will it work exactly the way they are used to it working? No.

For the regular user, change is to be avoided at all costs, they want it to work and work the same way each time. Ever wonder why the Windows UI hasn't changed much from 95A to XP SP2?

quote:
If you actually look at the growth in the entire os field "this includes servers" you will see linux is gobbling up a ton of marketshare at this point. One could say there really isn't any slowdown in sight.

We aren't talking about servers. People who maintain and stand up servers are more technically savvy and are more than capable of handling Linux. We are talking about regular mainstream Desktop OS, and the Feasability of Linux as one. It's not. We won't get into all the reasons why, but it's the same reason that holds Mac to such an abysmal market share. Start with Games, and Productivity Packages, then move on to Business Applications, that should give you a starting point.


RE: How about this...
By HighWing on 10/9/2007 6:07:53 PM , Rating: 1
I would just like to add this as an IT/Network admin.

Ask any other Network Admin weather they would prefer to have a Windows or Linux for their desktop users, then ask what they think would actually work better for their environment?

Chances are if the person has any knowledge of Linux they will tell you that they would prefer to have it as a desktop and might already be running a server with it. However, as is already pointed out, they would also tell you that it would NOT work as the desktop PC in their environment.

Putting aside the fact of it being different and people having to learn new things, which IS a big part of it. You also have to think about compatibility with other software and/or products on the market. Which that part of linux is also spotty at best between flavors.

Now if you want to tear apart my statements let me first tell you that I am speaking from the experience of just having recently migrated from a Sun Solaris Thin Client (dumb terminal) desktop to Windows XP. Granted I did like the security of the Solaris system, the fact was the only thing we could really use them for was Word Processing and Web Surfing. Any third party Software had very little support and installs or config changes sometimes ment logging everyone off the system. At which point the clients were not usable till the system was back up fully.

Fact is the Windows Environment just offers a greater verity of flexibility and compatibility that is easier to implement with known stability . Those last two are the most important that to a growing business, is worth more money and a few extra headaches. Till *nix or even apple can overcome that the desktops will forever be owned by Mircosoft.


RE: How about this...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/10/2007 7:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, as is already pointed out, they would also tell you that it would NOT work as the desktop PC in their environment.

Spoken like any System or Network Admin I've ever worked with. I'm in a shop where we maintain about 9000 desktops and laptops daily. It's just not reasonable to switch out to *nix, the headaches of changeover and compatability would kill us, but the users and their bosses would kill us faster.


RE: How about this...
By RMSe17 on 10/10/2007 9:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
People do not like change. We have seen this with every minor change to the Windows OS, or changes to applications, even the techies absolutely hate when things change and get moved around (See Complaints about Vista / Office 2007).


People do not like useless changes. (See most changes to the UI in Vista).

When changes are good, people love them.


RE: How about this...
By Hare on 10/9/2007 1:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
An embedded Linux distro that boots within seconds, and puts you onto the web.
Or you could just put your XP or Vista to standby (macs use the term sleep) and have the same functionality... It takes a second or two to wake the computer from S3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Configuratio...


Linux is nice, but too expensive
By fleshconsumed on 10/8/2007 4:56:11 PM , Rating: 4
Linux is a neat idea, not very useful at least to me, but nice to have - if my main hdd is completely hosed I can boot into linux and search for solution (or order new parts) on web.

Too expensive though. The price disparity between good motherboard like Abit IP35-E which went for $60-70 recently and this is almost unbelievable. I cringe at paying anything over $150 for motherboard because anything over rarely if ever adds to the functionality, but to each his own I guess.




RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By bhieb on 10/8/2007 5:18:49 PM , Rating: 3
It is a nice feature, but probably worthless 99% of the time. Anything to set your uber high end motherboard apart. I just don't see the point most people buying a board of this price are most likely to be gamers and/or workstation folks. Neither of which is a good match for Linux IMHO.


RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By keitaro on 10/8/2007 5:19:03 PM , Rating: 3
That much is true. The inclusion of an embedded Linux OS is nice but the pricetag asked for the board alone is what killed it. I'm going out on a limb on this assumption: Most net cafes aren't going to spend that much on a motherboard that does basic internet tasks.

One can build a stand-alone mock-up for a fraction of the board's MSRP. All it takes is a cheap US$60-70 board, which will include an integrated graphics chip, a USB thumb drive, and a simple internal-external USB port adapter. And due to the nature of Linux, there are plenty of distribution flavors around to provide a stand-alone 'net station to be used in 'net cafes.


By LogicallyGenius on 10/9/2007 8:30:02 AM , Rating: 1
RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By TomZ on 10/8/2007 5:47:42 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and I would add that you could easily put Linux on a bootable CD-ROM and do the same thing. This would also have the benefit of working on nearly any PC.


By Mitch101 on 10/8/2007 9:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree its easy to download a copy of Knoppix and boot from a CD or even a USB keychain. Neat but not worth the overhead cost.


RE: Linux is nice, but too expensive
By Samus on 10/9/2007 6:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'd have to agree with everybody. This is the dumbest feature I've ever seen.

I can't believe they wasted money on a completely stripped down and outdated OS, then worked on a way to integrate it into non-flash.

That space could have been used for other more interesting things like a WinCE console or even a boot ROM for a mini-WinXP install (200MB)


Overwhelming potential.
By justinmcg67 on 10/8/2007 9:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
Useless or not. This is the greatest idea to come out on a motherboard that I've seen in YEARS. Should your main OS fail, and you NEED a method of figuring out hot to fix it, well, now you can get on the web to find it. That's just one method of use.

This new feature, over-priced or not, is a GREAT idea. I expect ASUS to make this a common feature in its boards from here on out. Great idea...I can't even stress this enough.




RE: Overwhelming potential.
By deeznuts on 10/8/2007 9:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. It's not the cause of the high price tag I'm sure but a geat idea. any innovation is good. there are times i've turned off my main comp and am running out the door when i forget something, like looking up directions or a phone number or anything for that matter. it's useful, not essential.


RE: Overwhelming potential.
By feelingshorter on 10/8/2007 10:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I cant believe no one else thought of this. I know i'm not the only one who has had hard drive failure! As with all new things, i'm not complaining about price because i'm not going to buy it....yet. I'll wait until the price drops like most other college students short on cash.


RE: Overwhelming potential.
By drebo on 10/9/2007 1:10:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I agree. I cant believe no one else thought of this.


Uhm, someone else did think of this. This feature has been around on HP ProLiant computers for quite a while. It's called Integrated Lights-Out. It gives you the ability to control the system remotely using an embedded OS that's completely separate from the OS the system is running. It's even gone so far as to add a virtual KVM, which is an amazing feature for anyone who has remote servers to administer.

This isn't new technology. It's simply the first (and most likely last) time it's been used in the consumer space.


RE: Overwhelming potential.
By Belegost on 10/8/2007 11:11:55 PM , Rating: 5
Or you could just keep a knoppix disk in your desk drawer.


wow
By skyyspam on 10/8/2007 9:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that's a really cool idea. I wonder why no one's tried to market embedded linux on mainboards before?




RE: wow
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/9/2007 7:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
It's been on several server class boards for years from HP, IBM, and Dell. Usually used for network admin and system admin remote administration.


Great!
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/8/2007 4:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
As a dumb terminal... But I guess you can get dumb terminals for an even lower price, or approximately the same but including all and a modest monitor and cheap input devices.

Great for internet enabled cafés, too, as you shouldn't need an HDD at all for a browse-only kind of use.




Hmmm
By Polynikes on 10/8/2007 4:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
An interesting idea, but it seems kind of useless to me.

I could imagine something like this being used in a public setting (internet cafe, library) for basic web browsing functionality or whatever else the embedded OS can do, but on a motherboard with a high-end chipset it seems like a bad fit. All that hardware is going to waste. An embedded OS like that with limited functionality should be paired with lesser hardware.




By SpatulaCity on 10/8/2007 5:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not too impressed with the booting times of the embedded OS since I use XP's sleep mode to turn my system off at night. But the real benefit is for times when your OS can't boot and you need another way to access your files. Of course, this is assuming it's possible to access your hard drive in the embedded OS. yeah I know you can use a Linux bootable Cd for that too, but this might make it just a little easier for the average joe to fix his system.




Released?
By Beno on 10/8/2007 6:56:08 PM , Rating: 2
release date?
i dont see any retailers




use?
By semo on 10/8/2007 6:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
so what is the intended use for this very expensive feature. what does the marketing say? what will be written on the box?

apart from backup, i can't think of anything else.




more apps
By mindless1 on 10/8/2007 10:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
"We plan to enable users to personalize the VAE with their favorite instant-on virtual appliances in the future. Any of the existing thousands of Linux applications can be packaged into an instant-on VA, running on VAE."

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px...




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