Phoenix HyperSpace: An Instant-On Linux Environment?
Does HyperSpace Hybrid work with a Linux OS on the hard drive? We tested this out by resizing the Windows partition and loading up Ubuntu 8.10 in the remaining space while preserving all partitions. When GRUB was installed the Windows Vista boot option remained, but the support for booting into HyperSpace was eliminated. When then booting into Windows Vista, it would directly boot without any option of going into HyperSpace Hybrid.
HyperSpace will begin appearing on OEM notebooks and netbooks, but if you want to use this instant-on Linux environment with your own unsupported system, you can easily do that. HyperSpace Hybrid is being sold for $59.95 USD per year or $149.95 for three years. HyperSpace Dual is being sold for $39.95 USD per year or $99.95 for three years. These prices included HyperSpace updates and free web-based support.
Between $40 and $60 USD per year for HyperSpace is a bit expensive. HyperSpace is essentially just a very lightweight Linux operating system installed on the hard drive. You can essentially get the same thing as HyperSpace by running a highly optimized and configured Linux distribution, which in most cases will cost you nothing but some time. Unless Phoenix Technologies intends to violate the GNU GPL and other open-source licenses, they will be required to release some of the Linux source-code they use, which in turn will help enthusiasts construct their own Linux OS spins.
The virtualization feature found in HyperSpace Hybrid is nice, but you can do that on Linux too with KVM, VirtualBox, or Xen. It is also quite problematic that HyperSpace currently isn't working when a Linux OS is installed on the hard drive with GRUB.
From our initial testing of HyperSpace this is a user-friendly quick-booting Linux environment. It could use a few more features such as a photo viewer, media player, and VoIP application along with being more flexible and allowing users to do more within this environment. Considering Phoenix Technologies designs BIOSes it is a bit surprising that HyperSpace is not more integrated with the BIOS (like SplashTop). HyperSpace could also use more work in the way of a faster boot process. While HyperSpace is not perfect at least it will get Linux in front of more consumers.
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