Free Quick / Fast Boot Linux OS Reviewed
Quick boot OS or Fast Boot OS is the in thing these days and plenty of laptops shipped these days, come pre-installed with some version of it. While Chrome OS is still under development there are a couple of Quick boot “OSes” already out there, these are mostly Linux based and are free to use. This post is going to review two such options (xPUD and Splashtop OS), there are non-free OS too but we won’t get in to those. I mean if Free stuff gets the job done, then why bother.
xPUD is an Ubuntu based quick boot Linux OS which you can run off USB sticks or install it to Hard Drive. Installation is easy, you can just download the ISO file and then transfer it to a USB stick using Unetbootin. For detailed installation options see here. xPUD comes with plenty of applications that one would need for day to day. The default ISO file comes with Firefox and MPlayer and a simple file browser. But you can add support for additional drivers, applications (Skype, Open Office etc) by adding the corresponding .OPT files that you can download from the website to the /opt folder of your bootable USB drive, they get loaded automatically at the boot time.
The start screen looks like this, it allows you to select your language.
Once the OS boots (it took 12 second with an old Lexar USB on my Dell Inspiron E1505 which has Intel Dual Core 1.8 GHz Processor, with a better USB it might be a second or two faster), you get to the main screen which looks like this. If you are using ethernet it would connect automatically or else you would be shown a list of Wifi networks to choose from.
The interface is very simple and you go to Menu tab to launch your programs or to the File tab to access the file browser.
What I liked:
- Fast boot (12 seconds using a standard 1 GB USB drive) and light weight OS.
- Easy installation (either on HDD or on USB stick)
- Comprehensive set of packages (including the additional packages and utilities)
- Base packages: Firefox, Terminal, Gnome-mplayer, Facebook, Youtube, Instant messenger, File Manager.
- Additional packages: Skype, Pdf viewer, Image Viewer, Bittorrent Client, Text Editor, Open Office Word Processor.
- Additional drivers for better hardware support, it supported X1300 mobility radeon card out of the box with full 1650×1050 resolution.
- You can save your data and settings before exiting.
- Applications can be run in full screen mode.
What needs work:
- Support for greater array of hardware. It didn’t work on my newer Toshiba laptop which uses Intel’s newer onboard graphics.
- Save data option doesn’t save Wireless key information, so one has to enter wireless key on each reboot.
Within its limitations xPUD does what it is supposed to and is highly recommended for netbooks and lower end machines. Drivers may not support every hardware out there, but if it does, it works very well. Give it a try and see if you get lucky. Highly recommended!
It is currently in Beta stage and the only application you have is the Chrome browser with Flash support. The list of supported hardware currently includes
• HP Mini 110
• Compaq Mini CQ10
• HP Mini 210
• HP Pavilion dm4
• HP Pavilion dv4
• HP Pavilion dv5
• HP Pavilion dv6
• HP Pavilion dv7
It certainly has a long way to go before it can be a serious threat to a real OS. I tested it on an HP laptop with a Kingston SSD and it booted under 10 seconds. If you have a HP netbook then it is certainly worth a look. For more information checkout their promotional video included below.
What I liked:
- Easy installation from within Windows.
- Very fast boot.
What needs work:
- Limited hardware support.
- Lack of application suit.
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