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Portables Software Linux Hardware

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?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dell Selling Dual-Boot Laptops

Comments Filter:
  • 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) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:23PM (#26828837) Homepage

        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:Will it fly? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:53PM (#26829359)

            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.

            • by davidsyes (765062) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:07PM (#26829615) Homepage Journal

              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 can have 128 MB video RAM
              Vista runs so-so to ok, and i run AutoCAD 2008 (rarely, but it behaves well), Punch! ViaCAD (mostly), and other graphics intensive CAD software. I NEVER yet touched the Internet with vista, virtualized or natively!

              Now,

              Same laptop/same hardware

              Mandriva 2009.0, with numerous updates.
              Same virtual disk of VBox/Vista
              Some kinks to work out, but overall, vista is still as fast as on Mdv 2008.

              Why should windows require 8 GB, or even 4 GB?

          • 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: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:Will it fly? (Score:2, Informative)

      by nickruiz (1185947) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:24PM (#26828849)

      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, because most business people wouldn't have a clue.

      • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:29PM (#26828935)

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

      • Re:Will it fly? (Score:2, Informative)

        by columbus (444812) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:37PM (#26829109)

        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.

        • 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:Will it fly? (Score:3, Informative)

            by Teun (17872) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:17PM (#26830623) Homepage
            The ext2/3 driver(s) for Windows are R/W.
          • 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.

    • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:29PM (#26828943)
      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 mount that a whole lot easier than the other way 'round.
    • by eln (21727) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:39PM (#26829143) Homepage

      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:Will it fly? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by onefriedrice (1171917) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:45PM (#26829243)
      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.
    • by beyondkaoru (1008447) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:51PM (#26829339) Homepage

      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.

    • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:55PM (#26829399)

      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) <drsmithy@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> 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...

    • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:21PM (#26829773)

      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:Will it fly? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:39PM (#26830071)

      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 business traveller doesn't want to un Windows in a VirtualBox.

      Second, these aren't really 'dual booting' in the usual sense. These have an embedded linux, that's almost instant on, running on a low power ARM chip.

      Windows is on the hard drive, and runs of the Core2Duo or whatever the main cpu is.

      So when you boot, you can choose instant on, embedded linux, running cool with long battery life on the ARM, or you can launch the full blown windows install on the intel cpu.

    • by AusIV (950840) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:00PM (#26830371)
      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 box, why not?

    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:09PM (#26830519)

      Rebooting is a chore.

      Yeah, have it crash randomly.

    • by bill_kress (99356) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:27PM (#26830807)

      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) <bassbeast1968@gm ... UTom minus punct> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:31PM (#26830859) Journal

      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 put the OS code in an 8GB partition(or 2 4GB in this case) and have it boot very fast and then use the larger HDD section for file storage.

      But while VMs are nice on servers the average user, even the average business user, will find it too much work with too little performance. Much easier to have simply the Winflag and Penguin on a boot screen and let them choose which to use.

    • by jabjoe (1042100) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:39PM (#26830993)
      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 and Office, they are expensive? The answer is increasly, no.

      My only slight fear is though it will show to people Linux can run on many architectures and boot quickly, if the Linux is just running on the ARM, the less informed users will think Linux is less powerful than Windows (which is running on the faster x86).
  • This is new? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:03PM (#26828549)
    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.
  • by muppetman462 (867367) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:05PM (#26828573)
    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) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:08PM (#26828627)

    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 commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:10PM (#26828661) Journal

    >>>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.

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

    Should read Linux for intensive tasks and Windows for Powerpoint.

  • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:19PM (#26828781) Journal
    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.

    • by what about (730877) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:33PM (#26829027) Homepage

      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:Bad for Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:39PM (#26829145)

      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.

    • Re:Bad for Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:49PM (#26829305) Homepage Journal

      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 if I need a bash shell or something there's cygwin. (I haven't figured out powershell yet and I hope never to have to.)

      The simple fact is that multi-booting is annoying. Windows has a hard time reading Linux filesystems and Linux has a slow time reading NTFS, so you end up with files that you can't conveniently access from one OS or the other (or both) and having to bounce back and forth to move files around, et cetera. Every so often you add or remove some big waste of disk space and then you have to repartition and the most entertaining Linux filesystems can't necessarily be moved around conveniently, so you have to shuttle Linux off to another disk, repartition and resize Windows, then bring it back.

      With all that said, a quick-booting mini-Linux distribution that booted into XBMC and with a couple of programs under the programs launch menu (like firefox, skype, etc) could be a great additional feature for a laptop, especially if it loaded from flash. Granted, I can do this myself by leaving something in my SD slot, but then I can't view photos from my camera in XBMC with autorun on insert. It could be a strong selling point on consumer-grade laptops which are marketed as a media player (glossy screen at. al.) I could also see a teensy linux web-only boot on a netbook that has windows installed - sometimes you just want to browse the damned web. And again, probably it should also have a SIP client and Skype.

      You should be able to accomplish this in a pretty small footprint, tucked off in a corner of a flash drive. It could be a standard feature on 12GB and 16GB models which would never even notice the lack, and an optional install for others.

    • by transporter_ii (986545) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:36PM (#26830025) Homepage

      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.

  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:29PM (#26828929) Homepage

    "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.

  • by aquatone282 (905179) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:02PM (#26829511)

    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.

  • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:29PM (#26829895)

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

  • by slashdotlurker (1113853) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:42PM (#26830143)
    Linux for light tasks and windows for heavier ones ?? Yeah, right.
  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @01:56PM (#26830337)

    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!

  • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:00PM (#26830377)
    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? :(

All the simple programs have been written.

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