Linux

HyperSpace brings netbook ease (and Linux) to laptops and desktops

The HyperSpace OS is an instant-on, secure Web environment which you can boot into from your laptop or desktop, bringing netbook benefits to your regular machines. And unlike the SplashTop environments bundled via OEMs, this Linux-based layer can be downloaded to run on existing XP and Vista machines.

Phoenix Technologies is demonstrating its HyperSpace instant-on OS at CES this week. CNET's Dan Ackerman gives HyperSpace a pretty good review. He likes the quick boot (his timed at 24 seconds) and the fact that the network options are easier to use for Wi-Fi connections.

The Linux Foundation's Brian Proffitt is even more enthusiastic about HyperSpace's potential to put a Linux layer on a whole lot of machines:

If this sounds a lot like the SplashTop environment, you're right. Both virtualized environments sit on notebooks and netbooks and deliver faster boot times and more security. And, yes, both are Linux based.

But there is one big difference right now between the two offerings: SplashTop is only offered through OEM bundles, since it is directly installed in the system BIOS. HyperSpace can also be downloaded and installed on existing Vista and XP machines.

You can feel the excitement that world domination is just over the horizon, yes? Be that as it may, Proffitt's post is food for thought.

Related:

Pre-boot operating systems solve problems we shouldn't have

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

14 comments
martian
martian

I beg to differ. Splashtop is also integrated into some motherboards for desktops. I bought one recently and it is pretty nice.(ASUS M3A78 Pro) It has a small component that is resident on the motherboard, the rest is installed through the OS. Drawback - it seems to only have an installer for Windows-based systems. I emailed their support about it and whether there is a Linux-based install. (have yet to receive a reply) So for now, I am dual (triple?) booting XP with Xubuntu. The Splashtop portion boots first, at which point (much like Grub) you can choose to launch a browser, IM client, Skype, a picture manager, go into the OS, or shutdown/restart. This is up and running within 6 seconds or so.

mdhealy
mdhealy

Well, my netbook runs XP as its main operating system because for actual work on the road I need that. But in places like airports an instant-on OS for basic web browsing and email could be a major convenience.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"HyperSpace can also be downloaded and installed on existing Vista and XP machines." What would the advantage be?

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

The blogger from the Linux Foundation thinks it is significant because it provides an easy way to add a Linux-based layer to existing XP and Vista machines, while taking advantage of the current fascination with fast-booting netbooks.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

So it would result in a dual-boot system, or Linux as a VM hosted by Windows?

desktopanalyst
desktopanalyst

I watched the video on Phoronix and it took the netbook 22 seconds to get to the main screen. I powered on my EEE 900a with Windows 7 beta and it took 19 seconds to get to the login screen. I personally do not see a need for this. I surely wouldn't pay for it. Instant on for me is like a PDA where you turn it on and start working. I mean, the title says... "Phoenix HyperSpace: An Instant-On Linux Environment?". $0.02

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

The reason why you would is to save battery life, and get to basic functionality (web, email...) quicker. The smaller OS should consume fewer compute resources, so you use it when possible, and if you need your full OS, then you hit [F4] and it brings your Windows OS out of Hibernation. Then when you are done, toggle back to re-suspend Windows and save battery. I am in agreement with you however. This makes sense as a BIOS feature, not a subscription(/potential extortion?) feature on the HDD. But then I'm not much up for anything that requires a subscription, so could just be me. I don't know, 24 sec. just doesn't excite me that much either. My Vista install is up in 75 sec (45 boot + 30 login), and Ubuntu is 5 sec. faster than that (40 boot + 30 login). If I would remember to use it, Hibernate cuts that in about half. Okay, so it is 2-3 three times quicker. But A 20-50 sec reduction isn't really that exciting to me. Not exciting enough to pay for, or even fiddle with really.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

is this... 1) If you have the intel virtualization technology supported on your cpu, then it will run in parallel with windows, much like colinux. Windows "sees" it as a running program, but its a self contained memory space etc. You can switch between the two at will. Which begs the point, why would you? Its big selling point is boot speed. once Vista/Xp are booted, that advantage goes away. As for security, well, I guess you could argue it is more secure, but for many people, windows is secure enough. 2) If your processor does not support intel V, then its basically a dual boot mode. Which would mean its a waste of the $40 a year they want for a subscription. Nothing I see here is not easy to accomplish with either Puppy or any other disro in dual boot, or colinux. My next question is what happens to the product when your "subscription" runs out? Does it disable its self? Or does it no longer update? Also, does it resize partitions to install or install inside the NTFS file space (limiting any real security benefit)? How cleanly does it uninstall if you run the 21 day trial? Will it put you in a buy or rebuild your MBR (trivial I know, but Im lazy) situation? So, while this looks to be a cool toy, I see no real use. Splash top has the advantage in that it will play DVDs etc on may laptops, and is designed for quick, specific tasks. Being hard coded in the BIOS means no updates, but it also means a reboot clears any exploit code installed (unless memory resident, but thats easy to fix too with RO OS's).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm still don't know if it boots to a separate Linux installation, boots a Windows VM on a Linux host, vice versa, a Linux VM on a Linux host, or something else entirely. If I install this, can I get to my installed Windows-based apps immediately after booting, or can I only get to a set of Linux-based apps useful for web browsing and e-mail? Has anyone here actually seen it?

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

You should be able to find all the answers to your questions in there. ;)

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

This is not an article I would be proud of. It would have made a good intro to a full review of hyperspace but you could have at least given your opinion and given us a link so we COULD download it.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

You're right -- there should have been a link to the Phoenix Tech site that I forgot to add: http://www.hyperspace.com/. I added it to the post above. I just read about this debuting at CES yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to try it (there is a free 21-day trial, but it's subscription-based). I thought it was interesting enough that others might want to check it out, though.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

Have you already heard of HyperSpace or do you have plans to try it out?

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