Presto Instant-On Operating System Review

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News Posted: Wed, Sep 2 2009 12:58 PM

With the growing popularity of inexpensive netbooks and nettop PCs, the Linux operating system (often installed on the lowest-priced budget units) is reaching a wider audience--although nowhere close to giving Windows or the Mac OS a run for their money (albeit Mac OS X is based on a Unix kernel). Some pundits even argue that the Linux OS has finally matured enough to the point where everyday computer users can use it with little trouble. This might be arguable, but the often free or inexpensive nature of the different Linux distributions, as well as the plethora of free open-source Linux applications, makes the OS an appealing option to users on a budget.

But what if you could "dumb down" the Linux OS to its bare essentials, limit its focus to mostly Web-based tasks, make it dead-simple to use, and sell it for less than $20? Could that appeal to users? The folks over and Xandros think so with their Linux-based Presto OS.

Presto is an "instant-on" OS that is meant to give you quick and easy access to a number of Web-centric tasks, such as surfing the Internet, sending Web-based e-mail, sending instant messages, and making Skype calls. What makes Presto different than the handful of instant-on OS options presently available is that Presto does not reside in a system's firmware, but instead gets installed onto a Windows system's hard drive. Whereas most other instant-on OS options are only available as an embedded feature of select motherboards, laptops, or systems, virtually anyone with a Windows XP or Vista system can install and use the Presto OS...

Presto Instant-On Operating System Review

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That's pretty cool. I'm a bit disappointed it's not truly instant-on, though. We need motherboards with swappable OS flash chips so I can go and buy a Windows chip and pop it in there for a full-blown instant-on OS. Until then, I'll just stick to my ~45sec booting Windows 7.

><((((">Lev Astov

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I'm downloading this now. Shame it doesn't support 7 yet. I'm going to install it on my netbook, because there are many times when I just grab it and wanna look something up real quick. Would be cool for that. Anyway I'll try it for the 7 days and see if I wanna buy it.

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Ok using it now. It does install fine from windows 7. The whole reason I wanted to try it is to get into it quick and looks something up and so on. It does boot a bit faster than windows. It takes a few extra seconds to get my wireless connection though which almost negates any gains made and it is very stripped down. With any linux distro though you can add to it, but I feel like that would kill any beneft that it does have. IDK if it's really worth the $20 for me. It is a really cool concept. I'm going to play with it some more for the next week. My feelings so far are kinda Meh though. I need to reinstall Ubuntu Netbook Remix and see how fast that boots. I have a install of Kubuntu on here now and I will say that this is faster than Windows 7 and Kubuntu.

Edit: Also CNR is crap. That is all.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Sep 3 2009 12:47 PM

>> albeit the Mac OS is based on Linux

Whoa whoa whoa... I can't read the rest of the article until I get this corrected:

While the operating systems may look similar due to the common GNU software you'll find running on top of both environments, OSX and Linux share no code whatsoever. Linux only refers to the kernel, not any of the additional programs that make up a distro.

Mac OS is based on the NextStep Mach Kernel, which borrows a bit of code from FreeBSD and NetBSD; it is in no way based on Linux.

Since OSX, BSD, and Linux all implement POSIX standards (to differing extents), you'll find a lot of the same programs running in each environment, but the OS's themselves don't have anything in common other than they implement their own versions of the necessary APIs.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Sep 3 2009 2:00 PM

How fast did it boot, Bob?

I just booted the latest fully patched Ubuntu 9.10 alpha on the kids machine, and it only take 19 seconds to get to the login screen - and that's even running from NTFS (it seems to be a little bit faster on my Ext4 box).  I doubt Presto is going to beat that by enough to justify paying $20 for a stripped down version.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1:
How fast did it boot, Bob?

Well after realizing that I have way to many OSes on my laptop I did a quick stop watch test. This is to the desktop because Kubuntu and Windows 7 stop me for my password I paused when I saw the log in screen and started the timer again after I hit enter. This is by no means scientific because I installed Presto and Ubuntu Netbook Remix(UNR) yesterday and Kubuntu and Windows 7 have been on there. I used the handy dandy online-stopwatch.com to test.

Again to me seeing a visible destop and taskbar and in UNRs case the desktop background menu thing.

UNR - 34
Presto - 15
Kubuntu - 43
Windows 7 - 37

Kubuntu is a wubi install to be fair. I know for a fact it is much faster on a Ext3 or 4 filesystem. Presto does look much faster, but It is another 15 seconds before the wifi connects. I'm not sure why it takes so long to connect. UNR and Kubuntu both connect much faster.

Other than the quick boot it is just a stripped down linux install with XFCE and no synaptic or terminal in site. It is a bit of a pain to do much more than browse.

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We've updated the article... Sorry for the mix up.

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Sep 4 2009 6:16 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymbB8RT6Aas

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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I should install a regular install of Ubuntu and test it out. kubuntu really hurt under Wubi with my slow netbook. UNR was a ext4 just fyi. I think its loads a good bit extra with the desktop menu thing.

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