1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

SplashTop Linux On HP, Dell Notebooks?

Michael Larabel

Published on 14 June 2008
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 1 - 7 Comments

Back in October we were the first to deliver a full review of the DeviceVM's SplashTop, which is an instant-on Linux desktop embedded into motherboards, before the product was even unveiled. This technology was quite innovative and we were very fond of it and its original concept. This review went on to jump-start DeviceVM and garner media interest. Since the launch of SplashTop less than a year ago, we've named it as one of the greatest Linux innovations of 2007 and SplashTop is continuing to ship on more and more motherboards. To the open-source community they have released a few patches but not much more than that right now (and hopefully an SDK later this year). Over the past few months there have been DeviceVM engineers working on new features such as virtualization support to boot to a traditional OS while running within this instant Linux environment, etc.

Days after we delivered that inaugural review, we found out DeviceVM was in talks with OEMs about shipping SplashTop on desktops and notebooks. In January at the Consumer Electronic Show we witnessed SplashTop running on an ASUS notebook. In May, ASUS had formally announced they would begin shipping SplashTop on notebooks and also providing SplashTop (or "Express Gate", as they call it) on all of their motherboards.

It's been quite a run for DeviceVM in under a year, and now it appears they've picked up another OEM -- while still continuing their strong bond with ASUS. This week Hewlett-Packard announced the HP Envy 133 as its competition to Apple's ultra-thin MacBook Air notebook. Like the MacBook Air, the Envy 133 runs off an Intel CPU. With the HP Envy 133 they are also shipping an "instant-on Linux" they've called Voodoo IOS (Instant-on Operating System). Details, however, have been short on this Voodoo IOS Linux. Representatives for DeviceVM have declined to comment whether Voodoo IOS is a re-branded version of SplashTop, but all signs are that it is. We'll just have to wait until the Envy 133 starts shipping to see whether or not it's really SplashTop Linux, but we're reasonably certain. More information on this notebook is available in this HP PDF file.

In addition to the instant-on Linux excitement this week for the HP Envy 133, Dell is apparently working on a similar Linux solution. Engadget has shared details surrounding the Dell E and E Slim. These notebooks are direct competition to the very popular ASUS Eee PCs. These Dell E and E Slim notebooks will use Intel's Diamondville processors and come with a similar set of features to the Eee PC and potentially at a better price. The E and E Slim also ship with what Dell is calling "BlackTop" for providing an instant-on Linux solution.

While BlackTop sounds quite similar to SplashTop, indications are that this is a separate solution from Dell. Like the HP situation, DeviceVM has refrained from commenting, but there's a strong belief that they're actually competing products and the only common links are their usage of Linux and focus on a quick-booting OS. Dell's BlackTop 1.0 has WiFi and WWAN/WiMAX support while BlackTop 1.5 is expected to bring expanded WiFi support, expanded localization, a software updater, and an instant messenger. When BlackTop 2.0 is ready, this instant-on Linux will be expanded from their E line-up to the Latitude and Vostro series. BlackTop 2.0 is expected to bring additional features as well, but no time-frame is provided.

For a few months now DeviceVM has had a version of SplashTop that comes equipped with the Pidgin (formerly GAIM) instant messenger. From the very beginning SplashTop has been using SCIM (Smart Common Input Method), which supports more than 30 languages. With Dell only having these two features on their road-map, this goes in favor of the belief that Dell is working on their own (competing) product. One of the slides provided by Engadget also shows quite a different user interface than SplashTop's BlackBox desktop environment.

That's all we know right now. We are confident that Hewlett-Packard is using SplashTop as the basis for their Voodoo IOS on the Envy 133. On the other hand, Dell appears to be developing their own embedded Linux solution for their notebooks. When we have more information, we'll be sure to pass it along.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm
  2. Habey MITX-6771: Mini-ITX Board With Quad-Core J1900 Bay Trail
  3. OCZ Vector 150 SSD On Linux
  4. Noctua i4 CPU Cooler: Great For Cooling High-End LGA-2011v3 CPUs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver
  2. 12-Way AMD Catalyst 14.12 vs. NVIDIA 346 Series Linux GPU Comparison
  3. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver Brings Mixed Results For Linux Users
  4. 6-Way Winter 2014 Linux Distribution Comparison
Latest Linux News
  1. An Open Hardware Random Number Generator Proposed
  2. LLVM 3.6 Will Be Branched Next Month
  3. Opera Browser Puts Out Linux Updates For The Holidays
  4. GNOME Shell 3.15.3 Adds Support For High-Contrast Themes
  5. Linux 3.19: ThinkPad Muting Redone, New Dell Backlight Support, Acer Is Banging
  6. KVM Drops Support For IA64 While Adding Various x86 Improvements
  7. GCC 4.8.4 Officially Released
  8. FSF's High Priority Project List Now Has A Committee
  9. Details On Using OpenACC & GPUs With GCC
  10. Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 For Its Various Flavors
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. The New SuperTuxKart Looks Better, But Can Cause GPU/Driver Problems
  2. Need some hand holding with upgrading xserver
  3. XLennart: A Game For Systemd Haters With Nothing Better To Do
  4. Debian init discussion in Phoenix Wright format
  5. FPS capped on Linux (AMD fglrx drivers)
  6. Are there an app using HSA ?
  7. Bench specific mount point
  8. Tool for measuring FPS in games