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Dell Selling Dual-Boot Laptops 289

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-wait-a-minute dept.
rsmiller510 writes "The EE Times reports this week that Dell has released a hybrid laptop running both Linux and Windows clearly aimed at business travelers. Linux for quick tasks and Windows for more intensive ones, but will such a machine really fly in the business world?"
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Dell Selling Dual-Boot Laptops

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  • Will it fly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:03PM (#26828543) Homepage

    NO!

    Rebooting is a chore. Once people start up, they don't want to shut down to start up another application. It's not what they are used to. On the other hand, if this were done as a VM where the Linux machine were to boot and they installed Windows XP in a VirtualBox or some other VM, then that might be acceptable. Then they would have their safer, virus-free environment for email and web browsing and then a VM to host the applications they need to run. This stuff works really well.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:06PM (#26828591) Journal
      It will fly, but you have to leave the laptop out of the bag for security check. Have a nice flight sir...
    • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:15PM (#26828737) Homepage Journal

      I agree. And you can even suspend/hibernate/resume and both OSes will retain their state. This is what I did for my wife's laptop. She occasionally needs Windows for a few things (like loading/converting other people's Microsoft Publisher or Visio files), and it works great. Just make sure you buy lots of RAM.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Now that many RAM makers have been spanked for price fixing, RAM is cheap again... nicely cheap. Lots of RAM ain't hard to come by unless you are using an older machine. Then again, 4GB RAM (the standard maximum for a lot of machines made in the past 5 years) is starting to feel rather cramped.

        • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:42PM (#26829181) Homepage Journal

          That'll change. 64-bit OSes are now mainstream -- and even VMs are becoming mainstream -- so it's only a matter of time before chipset and mobo manufacturers push the limits of more and more of their consumer-grade commodity stuff beyond the previous '4GB barrier'.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            so it's only a matter of time before chipset and mobo manufacturers push the limits of more and more of their consumer-grade commodity stuff beyond the previous '4GB barrier'.

            Yep, but for now multiple active VM's are a non-starter when Windows itself needs 4GB. The only way I can see it is if one had a very lightweight version of Linux that did nothing but host the VMs, and then a VM of Windows and a VM of Linux to alternate between.

            • If Win 7 is any indication, win better NOT need more than 1GB. When SMART companies realize that Linux is running in under 1 GB with pretty decent response, and that Vista w/o any SP1 runs "so-so" to "ok" in VirtualBox, in a 2GB max system, then they should begin the next round of PUMMELING the hell out of ms.

              For example, my laptop:

              Gateway P-6301, 17-inch lappy with TWO HDD slots.
              2GB RAM max, with 256 MB going to graphics

              Mandriva Linux 2008.0, with use of under 300 MB... because
              VBox i assigned 1.5 GB so win

          • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Informative)

            by chaim79 (898507) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:54PM (#26829381) Homepage

            The new 17inch Macbook Pro's have an 8gb limit [apple.com].

            Dell XPS line of laptops also have an 8gb limit [dell.com].

            It may take a while for that standard to trickle down to the lower end laptops, but the trend at least has started.

      • by yet-another-lobbyist (1276848) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:24PM (#26829827)
        I once thought this "Dual-Hibernate" (suspend-to-disk) was a great idea. However, I ran into real trouble as soon as I wanted to exchange data between the two partitions. Trying to mount an NTFS partition in Linux that was left hibernated by Windows can create a real mess. More generally, think of file systems in which you do not really have control at what time the data is actually physically written onto the disk. Having all the data on a third partition that is unmounted before hibernating in either of the two OSs could work, though.

        I have no idea how a "Dual-Suspend" would work if you mean "suspend-to-RAM"! How can you even start the other OS while one is in suspend? How do you tell each OS to only use a part of the memory?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I would presume that he meant that he had Windows installed in a VM. That would not presumably have any more issues with S3 than any other program.

    • Re:Will it fly? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jandersen (462034) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:22PM (#26828823)

      What they should do - what I am sure someone will do at some point - is to make an "LPARable" PC/laptop after the same general principle as IBM's newest pSeries servers. The system would come with a VM hypervisor in NVRAM, as the "BIOS", and all other systems would run under that, concurrently.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nickruiz (1185947)

      Okay, I'm going to admit my ignorance in the hopes that someone else will learn. I've been a bit removed from Linux, so my question was going to be "Does Linux support the NTFS file system?" Because VMs running on FAT-based file systems suck. The last Linux-based OS I had used was Ubuntu 6.04 (Hardy Heron), which, to my knowledge didn't support NTFS.

      Then, with 30 seconds of research, I came across NTFS-3G [wikipedia.org] implementation.

      All of that to say, I agree with the Windows VM idea. But Dell had better set up the VM,

      • by Nursie (632944)

        Why would you care if Linux had NTFS support if you're running windows in a VM?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by chebucto (992517)

          Why would you care if Linux had NTFS support if you're running windows in a VM?

          It's helpful to be able to access the files on your virtual disk from your main OS. Being able to mount your virtual disk in GNU would be sweet.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by columbus (444812)

        Yes, Linux supports NTFS. You've referenced the right module NTFS-3G.
        Ubuntu has had this module included by default since version 7.10: gutsy gibbon. Prior to that, it had to be manually installed.

        I run a windows XP / Ubuntu 7.10 dual boot setup at home & the NTFS support is great. Ubuntu can read and write to both windows & linux partitions flawlessly. All of your windows files are accessible in the linux mode. I think that there is a slight performance hit (10% or so) for using linux rather t

        • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by causality (777677) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:25PM (#26829841)

          Yes, Linux supports NTFS. You've referenced the right module NTFS-3G. Ubuntu has had this module included by default since version 7.10: gutsy gibbon. Prior to that, it had to be manually installed.

          I run a windows XP / Ubuntu 7.10 dual boot setup at home & the NTFS support is great. Ubuntu can read and write to both windows & linux partitions flawlessly. All of your windows files are accessible in the linux mode. I think that there is a slight performance hit (10% or so) for using linux rather than windows to write to the ntfs partition.

          The sole downside to that arrangement is that it does not provide any facility for fsck-type maintainance of the NTFS filesystem. The NTFS-3G userspace driver unfortunately does not come bundled with anything of the sort and I've had difficulty trying to find a standalone fsck.ntfs type of program. You can find good programs to read, write, and resize an NTFS filesystem but no Open Source software seems able to repair one. I'd love to find out I'm wrong about this. A friend of mine used a setup like this and eventually experienced a small amount of data loss after unexpected shutdowns (power failures) that were not immediately repaired like Windows would have done on bootup.

          If anyone does know a reliable way to repair NTFS filesystems under Linux without actually running Windows, please let me know. Otherwise I'd recommend staying away from NTFS filesystems if at all possible or considering an alternative like FAT32 (as terrible as that may be). If you don't mind Windows having read-only access to your data, you may want to try the EXT2/3 driver for Windows as an alternative.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Teun (17872)
            The ext2/3 driver(s) for Windows are R/W.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by arth1 (260657)

              The ext2/3 driver(s) for Windows are R/W.

              True, but it's unusable as the root file system.
              And also unusable by apps that use 8+3 (SFN) links internally, like Microsoft Office.

          • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Informative)

            by lmfr (567586) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @03:37PM (#26831927) Journal

            ntfsfix is the equivalent fsck.ntfs

            It comes in the package ntfsprogs.

            • Re:Will it fly? (Score:4, Informative)

              by causality (777677) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @04:31PM (#26832889)

              ntfsfix is the equivalent fsck.ntfs

              It comes in the package ntfsprogs.

              I appreciate you pointing this out but I looked into it and unfortunately it looks like a partial solution.

              From the output of "man ntfsfix":

              DESCRIPTION
              ntfsfix is a utility that fixes some common NTFS problems. ntfsfix is NOT a Linux version of chkdsk. It only repairs some fundamental NTFS inconsistencies, resets the NTFS journal file and schedules an NTFS consistency check for the first boot into Windows.

              Regretably, that does not make me feel very confident. Filesystem integrity is one of the few areas where I really must insist on a complete solution. I don't take that position because I want to but because it's dictated by necessity. Preventable data loss or even the possibility of such is simply not acceptable to me.

              Just my personal opinion, I don't really consider trying to play catch-up with Microsoft's proprietary standards (or even when the standards are published, their proprietary implementations) to be a sound idea especially when truly open alternatives are readily available. I just feel like you're always going to have problems like this that you can never completely overcome because you're playing someone else's game. Considering the inherent difficulty of this task, the progress that Open Source has made is really quite amazing but I just don't consider this to be anything like an ideal solution.

              Microsoft created NTFS, they own it, they can "upgrade" or change it on a whim, and they have no interest in anyone else being able to work with it. That's the nature of the situation and it's beyond our control. Therefore, to me, NTFS compatibility is very much like a dual-boot setup; it is to be avoided unless truly necessary.

    • Re:Will it fly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dokebi (624663) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:24PM (#26828857)

      If the ARM side has access to the hard disk and wireless, I'll definitely be running it in ARM mode for 10x the battery life.

    • I've been doing this for years and through at least four laptops. It isn't that you reboot to change tasks, I pick which OS to boot depending on where I am and what I intend to do. Connect to internet through hotel or airport network: Linux. Quick review of stuff and make some notes for meeting on airplane: Linux. Connect to secure network either at work or at travel location: Windows. End of the day gaming session in hotel room: Windows. Data files are kept in the Windows partition, because Linux can
      • by Teun (17872)
        Mounting an ext2/3 partition from Windows is completely transparent and not any harder than a FAT or NTFS one.
    • by eln (21727)

      I agree with the virtualization bit. If this were 2002, or even 2005 I could see them thinking dual boot was the best way to go about putting Windows and Linux on the same box. Nowadays, though, using virtual machines is the clearly superior answer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by onefriedrice (1171917)
      Worse than rebooting is maintaining two separate configurations. For example, if you use an email client, you configure it on both sides. Browser, same thing. And so on.
    • Personally, I didn't switch over to Linux until I had a computer that was purely Linux. I had a dual boot machine for a while, but simply never ended up using the Linux partition, except the first time it was installed. Rather than the dual boot helping me learn, it just sat there. The better learning experience was probably doing things for school on the command line over ssh (via putty).

      I eventually simply had to make the plunge, and have been very happy with Linux since.

    • Any linux distro able to do that would take around as long to boot as windows (depending on startup aps) which eliminates the point of having this kind of setup. Then you'd have to deal with the added drain on resources running a VM on top of another OS would have, both in terms of CPU and ram usage and in terms of battery life.

    • Re:Will it fly? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:00PM (#26829475) Journal
      I wouldn't write this one off too soon. This isn't a simple dual boot which, I admit, is largely pointless in this context. This is a setup where you can either run Linux on an embedded ARM core, or Windows on the main x86. The Linux option won't just be for a slightly shorter boot time, it will be for vastly longer runtime, which could well be interesting to a fair few people under many circumstances.
    • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:18PM (#26829741)

      The Linux install is actually running out of a little embedded ARM card, not the main system. Dell call it Latitude ON, and it's activated by a dedicated button near the power button.

      Since suspending/hibernating (rather than sleeping) a Windows laptop usually means you got through much of the boot process anyway (where this thing can kick in), it *might* have some practical value.

      Unfortunately I got my E4300 before Latitude ON was available, but I was under the impression that when it was finalised, I'd get the necessary upgrade for free.

      Might have to give my Dell rep a call...

    • I agree. I decided to give Vista (another) try and didn't mind doing menial tasks like surfing, coding, and email. I left my XP partition for gaming. However, I found myself just booting straight into XP because it seemed bothersome to go somewhere that gave me less functionality and endure a reboot just to game.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602)

      Rebooting is a chore. Once people start up, they don't want to shut down to start up another application. It's not what they are used to. On the other hand, if this were done as a VM where the Linux machine were to boot and they installed Windows XP in a VirtualBox or some other VM, then that might be acceptable. Then they would have their safer, virus-free environment for email and web browsing and then a VM to host the applications they need to run. This stuff works really well.

      RTFA.

      First, your average bu

    • by AusIV (950840)
      I used to have a laptop that was set up so that I could boot Windows, or load the same Windows installation in a VM.

      That laptop wasn't really capable of good virtualization, but if you need both Windows and Linux, I'd say that's the way to go. If you need to access some lightweight program, pull it up in a VM. If you need dedicated resources (or dependable graphics acceleration), reboot. Configuring hardware profiles can be a bit of a pain, but if we're talking about selling computers with this out of the

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jurily (900488)

      Rebooting is a chore.

      Yeah, have it crash randomly.

    • by bill_kress (99356)

      MAYBE

      Assuming windows can learn to suspend to disk as well as Linux (a HUGE assumption), I think there could be a really good case for choosing which system you want to resume at boot-time.

      From the consumer point of view, you get a screen at boot time that says "Browsing" and "Full Windows O/S", you pick browsing and you have your browser up in 3 seconds without a login. You pick the other alternative and windows thrashes for 30 seconds before it stabilizes. I could see uses for both.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      The problem with that idea is VM performance is simply lacking when compared to an actual desktop. It is getting better, but it still just doesn't match the "feel" of running native. And for the programs a business user would run why not just have Crossover Office installed and save the hassle of the VM?

      The reason why dual boots are popular with the geek crowd is there is just too many apps that run poorly in VM. This is why I always thought the SSD/HDD hybrid drive was a good idea for laptops. You could p

    • by jabjoe (1042100)
      This sounds to me like a reverse RiscPC! Like the RiscPC the other half will have to have emulated hardware. If Dell don't release with this, someone will do it for them. It will be too useful not to be done. Unlike the RiscPC, you can boot straight into either half. This could be great for showing people (who aren't technical) Linux. I can see people speed booting into Linux and setting Windows booting in the VM and surfing the web while Windows boots, then asking themselves, acturally, do I need Windows a
  • This is new? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178)
    My boss at FEI has been doing the exact same thing with VMWare for years. It is already flying in the business world; the only difference now is Dell is pre-installing it.
  • I can see this from a business aspect, but I would think that people would be thinking, "why do I want to boot into Linux when I have windows right here?" Oh well, at least dell is trying.
  • Good Idea but (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Pvt_Ryan (1102363)

    it won't work. People will boot to the 1st OS (as they don't want to select one and they will get annoyed if the 1st OS in the boot menu is not windows because they won't be able to leave the computer unattended to boot.

    Sadly it's human nature to be lazy. The computer would need to select the correct OS by reading the user's thoughts before it would be viable.

  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:08PM (#26828631) Homepage Journal

    Hasn't this already been seen, a couple months ago when Dell announced it?

    It's not just dual boot, the Linux boot is on a low power ARM CPU, so not only does it boot fast you should get significantly more battery life when running Linux.

  • Dupe? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bearhouse (1034238) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:09PM (#26828637)

    It's not dual-booting really, you either run Linux on an ARM, or Windows on a Core2.

    Link at end to the original EE article, rather than gushy blog.

    Did we not cover this earlier this week?

    http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=3TF41VYEZTQY0QSNDLRSKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=213402554&printable=true&printable=true [eetimes.com]

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      I'm sorry for not RTFA, but if their Linux runs on an ARM and Windows on a core2, could you partition some RAM and have _both_ OSes running concurrently without virtualization? That would be interesting.
  • >>>Linux for quick tasks and Windows for more intensive ones

    This implies that Linux can't do intensive work, as if it's not a real OS. That's not true, is it? Besides the real benefit of abandoning Windows is you can lower your retail price by ~$100, since Linux is free. With this dual boot configuration there's no price savings.

    Well whatever. Bottom line is: If I could buy a Windows Vista machine with a Linux at no additional charge, then sure I'd go for it. I enjoy free extras.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by i.r.id10t (595143)

      Retail price won't go down, may go up. Dell, et al, get $$ from application vendors for including trialware w/ icons on the desktop. AOL, McAffee, etc. all pay for "product placement". Ever wonder why a new in box machine has all sorts of icons, etc. on the desktop when a clean install of Windows doesn't?

      • Ever wonder why a new in box machine has all sorts of icons, etc. on the desktop when a clean install of Windows doesn't?

        I always thought it was because Dell hated me...

      • by Dan667 (564390)
        I hate all the crapware they install on new computers. The very first thing I do is wipe the disk. Companies are going to have to come to terms with the fact that marketing your product in every possible way will not lead to increased profitability if your actual Customer hates it. I would go so far to say that I would pick a vendor that does not put all this crapware on the computer just so I don't need to re-install to get it off.
      • >>>AOL, McAffee, etc. all pay for "product placement".

        So with Windows it cost around $100 to license from Microsoft, minus the dollars collected from AOL, et cetera paying to advertise their warez. Now with Linux it costs $0.00, minus the advertising dollars, which yields a net negative cost for the software. So overall a Linux PC should still be cheaper cost.

        Who knows, with enough advertising maybe the PC could be free or almost-free, like those magazines I find in the grocery store.

        • by Xtravar (725372)

          $100 - $20 - $20 - $40 - $30 = -$10

          If they crap up your computer enough, OP is right. And I quite suspect that is the case.

          • by Xtravar (725372)

            Nevermind, ignore that. I fail reading comprehension.

            Anyway it's probably chicken-egg syndrome. You can't sell virus scanners for Linux (yet), so why advertise them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Windows_NT (1353809)
      I think be intensive tasks, they just mean things you cant do in linux. eg: Use linux for web browsing, checking email etc .. use windows for gaming, Powerpoint, MS office. basically what you need windows for. I use Windows for my intensive programming, because monodevelop [monodevelop.com] doesnt support Code completion for VB, and Squirrel-sql [squirrelsql.org] doesnt have the drag and drop for views with big joins.
      • >>>use windows for gaming, Powerpoint, MS office.

        Linux does all of that. Well maybe not the gaming, but you can substitute OpenOffice for your presentations, database, and word processing.

        • by aonaran (15651)

          Did Cedega disappear since I last stopped caring about PC games when I bought a PS3?

      • by eck011219 (851729)

        Indeed -- I spend most of many days in Photoshop and InDesign. I could run them in a VM, but I hate to use up processor or memory for that when I could get it all for my apps.

        I kept a Mac and a PC for a while, but since I do a lot of web development there were some tools I was more comfortable with in Windows. So my daughter has the Mac now (still around for the two or three times a year I need it) and I have an old box behind me running Kubuntu. I hate to wait for reboots, so I find that just having discre

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DrSkwid (118965)

      Where intensive == booting windows and running Norton AV

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Falstius (963333)
      That's because the TFS left out a very important detail. The laptop will have two processors.

      It runs with two chips, one from ARM and one from Intel. The ARM chip, provides instant on booting and is much more power efficient, while the Intel chip provides the juice to run apps that require more computing power.

      So Linux can do heavy lifting, but the ARM chipping running it can't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by coolsnowmen (695297)

      You have to keep reading...
      The the different OS's run on different processors.

      Linux, running on the power efficient ARM on a flash drive is for quick tasks.

      Windows, running on the more power hungry yet more powerful cpu, is for more cpu intensive things.

      The only thing it implies (to me) is that windows is less suited to small & quick applications.

      • >>>The only thing it implies (to me) is that windows is less suited to small & quick applications.

        +1 insightful. I wonder which is faster, a small light OS on ARM processor, or a topheavy Vista OS on an Intel DualCore. I suspect it would be a tie.

  • by LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:12PM (#26828695) Homepage Journal

    Should read Linux for intensive tasks and Windows for Powerpoint.

    • by Dunbal (464142)

      No, it's correct. Since Windows is so bloated, all task on windows (including the calculator) are hugely CPU intensive. Whereas if you want to run "intensive" tasks like encoding video or real number crunching, linux is your best bet.

      • No, it's correct. Since Windows is so bloated, all task on windows (including the calculator) are hugely CPU intensive. Whereas if you want to run "intensive" tasks like encoding video or real number crunching, linux is your best bet.

        Except openoffice's calc is a lot slower than excel at the 10 minute (on excel, 20 minute on calc) simple simulations I had to run in grad school. And no, the Windows Calculator is incredibly resource light and feels literally instantly responsive, just like Notepad and a million other little Windows tools.

        Just because you want it to be different doesn't make it so.

  • My laptop came with some sort of diagnostic boot system which was launched by pressing F11 during the system startup process. Since converting to dual boot, that diagnostic system has disappeared. Is there a way to set up my system so that starting normally boots one OS, and starting with F11 boots another?
  • Bad for Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jahf (21968) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:25PM (#26828885) Journal
    The author seems to think that exposure to Linux here might convince people to leave Windows. I strongly disagree.

    I used to be in technical marketing for a desktop Linux distro. People listen to the marketing message especially when it is negative. What does that mean? Well lets look at the implied marketing message that is given by this system:

    "Linux is good enough for your quick tasks like firing off an email but you need Windows to do your heavy hitting."

    ANY corporate non-techie is going to see that if they have to boot Windows to get their big tasks done they obviously don't want Linux on their main system.

    Now let us think about the actual environment you get with each:

    Linux - Arm processor ... limited applications. The non-techie won't know that they've been artificially limited by the laptop manufacturer. They're just going to know that "Linux is slow" and "I can't download new apps in Linux".

    Windows - Intel processor ... full applications and no limit on downloading new software.

    Seriously ... things like this are the WORST thing possible for getting the idea of Linux as a desktop replacement out to the mass market. They not only have to fight the current battles regarding custom apps not being written for them but they add artificial misperceptions about the limitations of Linux.

    Sometimes no exposure -is- better than bad exposure. If you look only at the bullet points it is cool that a laptop is shipping Linux. And if you can keep your bosses from ever reading the parts about using Linux in a limited way (and NEVER let them touch one of these) then it would be good. But you can't. And you can't control the perception that Linux is limited once they start using it in a stunted environment like this.

    • It can also mean that Linux can do things that Windows cannot do, after all why putting Linux on a PC if you could do all of it with Windows ?
      Maybe as you say, Microsoft has paid to have this gizmo produced to show Linux in bad light, it kind of make sense, but I would wait to see how things actually perform before killing it.
      Anybody actually tryed it ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And if you can keep your bosses from ever reading the parts about using Linux in a limited way (and NEVER let them touch one of these) then it would be good. But you can't. And you can't control the perception that Linux is limited once they start using it in a stunted environment like this.

      No doubt--it seems to me that most people rarely forget a bad experience with new things. Let them see Linux for their first time on this wacky machine, and they'll be telling their friends for the next 5 years that they "tried Linux and Windows on the same machine and Linux was slow as hell."

      I suppose there's some awesome technical issue beyond my comprehension that would explain why I can't just run either OS on either processor. If anybody knows what it is, I'd love to hear about it.

      • 1- windows only runs on x86 systems nowadays
        2- the linux in question is a ROM-based, ARM version, so it won't run on an x86. You can still install another , x86 linux, like on any PC.

      • I suppose there's some awesome technical issue beyond my comprehension that would explain why I can't just run either OS on either processor. If anybody knows what it is, I'd love to hear about it.

        The fact that Windows won't run on the ARM processor?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm a non-corporate techie and I don't have Linux on my main system. Once I decided that I had to have Windows directly on the metal at any time, I had to jettison Linux. Why? Because pretty much anything I can do in Linux, I can do in Windows, and this way I don't have to multi-boot. Sure, Linux does many things BETTER than Windows, and if I need to attack a device with dd or something, I'm not running dd.exe. I'm plugging into one of my Linux systems. But for day to day use Windows will do everything, and

    • When Windows is hosed up from the latest virus/trojan/malware and Linux is the only thing that works...it will be good for Linux.

  • "but will such a machine really fly in the business world?"

    Yes, yes they will along with the chairs as soon as Balmer gets his hands on them.

  • Easily enhanced (Score:5, Interesting)

    by johnw (3725) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:46PM (#26829253)

    Surely the obvious thing to do with this is to scrub Windows and install Linux on the other processor too. Then you can have low-power instant-on Linux for long battery life and quick tasks, then a fairly transparent transition to high power Linux when you want to do something requiring more grunt. It would be interesting to see whether you can have both running at the same time and communicating with each other.

  • But now I run Ubuntu 8.0.4 in a VMWare server on top of Vista Home Edition (this all powered by an AMD-64 with 4GB RAM).

    Works for my meager needs. I have access to the very few Windows-only apps I like (Quicken, iTunes) but I can use Linux for development and testing - at the same time. No more booting back and forth.

    And with the NoMachine [nomachine.com] server and client, I can access the Linux desktop from the cube-farm.

    Maybe not elegant, but it's cheaper than a Mac.

  • by doodlebumm (915920) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:04PM (#26829557)

    My Dell Latitude D820 is loaded up with Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex. My co-workers use Windows. Yesterday I got our department Sprint data card. They told me it would probably take me a bit to get it working on the laptop (because it took them a while to get the driver installed and setup to run). So I took the card and inserted it into the PCMCIA slot. In about 20 seconds (without my doing ANYTHING else) it was connected to Sprint's network and I was using it like the laptop was born to use it.

    I use it for doing every task that I have to do for work. There are over ten thousand windows users here at work. We went through a big change from Groupwise to Exchange and Outlook. I use Evolution, and I get complete access to everything I need - scheduling, email, the works.

    When people say that Linux is not ready for business use, they smoking somethin' that making them see the world in a false and distorted way. I'll never go back to Windows.

  • I, for one, welcome our ariborne dual-booting overlords.

  • Linux for light tasks and windows for heavier ones ?? Yeah, right.
  • 1. Nuke the Win partition.
    2. Setup Linux to run on ARM when using batteries, x86 when plugged in. (Yeah yeah, a reboot may be required to switch modes.)
    3. Watch as you have nice long battery life as well as good power when you need it.
    4. Profit!

  • I have near instant-on access to an OS called "BIOS".

    Now if only it ran the apps I (mostly) want on the plane.

    - play music / watch video
    - a pen-notepad I can doodle on and write notes
    - a PDF reader to review presentations, spreadsheets and to read books.
    - browse websites when that's allowed inflight.

    Perhaps it would have a full-sized screen inside and a cut down screen and keyboard that could be accessed when it was closed. Or a flip around touchscreen with a virtual keyboard.
  • by bgarcia (33222) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @08:29PM (#26836963) Homepage Journal
    Reminds me of my old Commodore 128 [wikipedia.org]. It had a MOS Technologies CPU for the main processor, and a Z80 CPU for running old CP/M programs.
  • by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @11:47PM (#26838925)

    I'd usually applaud any OEM's decision to sell their kit with Linux installed, but I'm seriously questioning whether this particular implementation style is going to help Linux or not.

    Why?

    PHB's, that's why. Already articles like the one linked to are setting-up Linux as a "light duty OS" by saying things like:

    The Linux OS provides a quick boot for checking email and other "light" computing duties while the Windows side allows "heavier duty" computing like running Microsoft Office applications.

    Taken out of context that's a complete load of crap, but it's something Microsoft must be just loving to see.

    You and I would understand that, in this case, it's because Linux is installed and running on an ARM-based subsystem with less memory and less bandwidth to play with, but PHB's will get this light-duty reference stuck in their heads. And this will be reinforced when they try to do something "difficult" with it, and it happens slowly or not at all, and they'll come away thinking "Linux is crap" when they really should be thinking "Windows is crap, why does it need so many resources?"

    Why should I care? Because it's the PHB's, unfortunately, that sign the cheques to get new hardware and if they get the wrong ideas about Linux then Microsoft with their Windows and other software will continue to dominate the market.

    Why couldn't Dell just quick boot into Linux and then run Windows apps under Wine, or even VM the whole Windows installation? :(

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