When it comes to pure innovation this year within the Linux ecosystem, one company that came immediately to mind was DeviceVM and their SplashTop product. SplashTop is essentially an instant-on Linux desktop environment that within a few seconds of turning on your PC, you can be surfing the Internet via a Firefox-based web browser or even using Skype's VoIP client. We broke open the floodgates on SplashTop when running the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi, which is the first motherboard to adopt this embedded Linux technology. The original article can be read in ASUS Motherboard Ships With Embedded Linux, Web Browser.
Aside from the time savings advantage, SplashTop also has the benefit of saving power compared to a traditional desktop operating system, allows for diskless computing, and succeeding updates will introduce new functionality. Some of the upcoming functionality on their roadmap includes being able to flash the motherboard's BIOS from within the SplashTop environment as well as watching a DVD or using a media player. The initial release of SplashTop was powered by the Linux 2.6.20 kernel and uses Blackbox, SCIM, SquashFS, and other open-source packages. DeviceVM has released bits of the SplashTop source-code, but a more formal SDK will be introduced next year.
In addition to the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi motherboard, it can also be found on the ASUS Eee PC and we have confirmed that it will be appearing on select notebooks and desktops starting next quarter. We anticipate that some of these new products will be on display at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month, which Phoronix will be covering.
While this technology is still in its infancy, it holds tremendous potential for opening new possibilities in computing and yet another opportunity for Linux. DeviceVM's SplashTop should really start to gain adoption next year, but with all that they have accomplished this year as a privately-held small company, SplashTop has been one of the greatest Linux innovations of 2007.
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