Open source heresy, Splashtop and Windows


The dispersal of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) is the stated role of this blog and most of the time this author attempts to do so through plain, simple, out and out advocacy of Free, Open Source software.

Today, though, I am going to attempt a balanced approach and do something tantamount to heresy. I am going to say that sometimes it's ok to use Windows.

Yes I know it's just this condescending attitude of 'penguinistas' that really gets up people's noses but I have been playing with various ASUStek products recently and have discovered Linux Splashtop and The Eee Box desktop PC. The reason for the 'Windows' statement will become clear as we go on.

The Eee Box was delivered with Windows XP pre-installed on its 160gb hard drive but still cost only £169 + vat and delivery (is XP being given away these days?). But my mistake of leaving the sound on during boot up whilst working in the office is part of the reason that I am writing this post whilst in hiding: thank goodness for 3G and Google Docs.


My Windows boot-up jingle-crime was compounded with subsequent actions but before I go into these a brief word about SplashTop....cooool. Splashtop is a cut-down Linux that is increasingly being shipped embedded into motherboards. Asus are first to do this with their ExpressGate boards and now offers Splashtop on most everything from humblest Atom CPU-hosting boards to mighty QuadCore jobs.

Splashtop may be the truly revolutionary super-fast micro-Linux that I singularly failed to mention in a recent roundup of speedy Linux distros. The first useful software every computer user will encounter after switching on will be Linux. They then can choose to boot into their chosen full operating system be it Windows, Mac or Linux..or of course not bother at all.

The whole point of Splashtop is that you can be 'web-apping' (as I am on Google Docs now) or Skyping 28 secs from a cold boot even on a small Atom powered 20 watt PC; ten seconds is possible with beefier boards! Linux on every motherboard is now a real probability... as is turning off your computer when not using it. Given just how much power computers use on standby this is a real plus.

Booting the Asus Eee Box into its installed Windows XP OS was a much slower process but I had a cunning plan for my school customers. Unfortunately I now compounded my jingle-crime with all out heresy.
Free, Open Source Software (FOSS) on Windows

It took only minutes to strip off most of the pre-installed proprietary software, MS Works (? God help us) for example had to go but I left Notepad and Mediaplayer.

On went: Open office 3.0 (office productivity suite); The Gimp 2.6 (graphics manipulation); Inkscape (vector drawing); Scribus (DTP); Audacity (music editing); Firefox (web browsers); Thunderbird (e-mail client), Pidgin (Instant Messsenger), ClamAV (anti-virus: which you need because it's Windows) together with a pretty wallpaper.

What more could anyone want? All the applications of note are Free, Open Source Software.

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