Intel has been at the forefront of producing hardware for netbooks and other mobile devices thanks to their Atom processor family, but they are also looking at being a key part of the mobile software ecosystem. Back in 2007 we witnessed the launch of the Moblin project, which is Intel's open-source venture for creating a complete stack of software for these mobile devices. Originally, the Moblin core was based upon Ubuntu, but Intel ended up rebasing off Fedora last year and they have been preparing for the second version of their core operating system. Just this week they released Moblin V2 Core Alpha, which we are looking at in this article. Specifically, we are looking at how fast this Intel software is able to boot!
Moblin V2 Core Alpha is based upon the Linux 2.6.29 kernel (specifically Linux 2.6.29-rc2), the latest X Server 1.6 code with DRI2 support, and a snapshot of Xfce 4.6. Some of the mobile optimizations in Moblin V2 core are the Moblin Core Components, which consists of Clutter and other user-interface development tools, along with a new Moblin Image Creator and installation tool. Integrated into this mobile Linux desktop is ConnMan, which is a new network connection manager. Also featured in Moblin V2 Core is Fastboot -- a new Intel feature designed to improve the boot time.
When in the Xfce desktop environment is the Firefox web browser and other common desktop packages. The standard ISO though is only a bit over 256MB, but packages can be installed through yum (though the Moblin repositories are not complete, so you may want to add some of the Fedora repositories to yum). Also worth noting is that the final Moblin 2 interface will not be based upon Xfce. In this article though we are just looking at the boot performance. To start with, below is a video we recorded while testing Moblin V2 Core Alpha.
On the left is a Samsung NC10 and on the right is a Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Both netbooks use an Intel Atom N270 CPU, but the NC10 is loaded with a 32GB OCZ Core Series V2 SSD and 2GB of DDR2 memory. If you watch the video, you will see that Intel's Moblin V2 is booting super fast! On the Samsung NC10, it was just a couple seconds, but with the HDD-based IdeaPad S10 it was a few times slower, but still fast compared to a full-blown desktop distribution. Both the Lenovo and Samsung netbooks were running off battery power.
On the next page is the Bootchart data for Moblin V2 Core Alpha on the NC10 along with boot results from Fedora 10 and Ubuntu 8.10