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Fast-boot environment moves to Moblin

Jul 13, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Phoenix Technologies announced that its fast-boot “HyperSpace” technology is now “aligned” with the Moblin project and that it will work with Intel to promote the technologies to netbook and nettop OEMs and ODMs. HyperSpace will improve the Linux-based Moblin stack's already considerable capabilities for fast-boot and power management, says Phoenix.

HyperSpace offers one-second "boot-to-web" times, claims Phoenix. Announced last November and released in January for x86 computers, HyperSpace was spun off the following month into an ARM version. Shortly after, Phoenix announced that HyperSpace was compatible with Freescale's netbook-oriented, ARM Cortex A8 i.MX515 system-on-chip (SoC).

HyperSpace comprises a minimalist, stripped down Linux environment with a Gecko- and Firefox-based browser, a WiFi connection manager, and a teensy kernel that leaves most peripherals (such as USB controllers) powered off to save power. With PCs it is marketed as a secondary OS option that boots much faster and offers much better battery life than Windows. On systems with virtualization hardware enabled, Hyperspace can also boot Windows in the background, after which the user can toggle between the two environments.

Intel preps for ARM invasion

Like other "instant on" environments, HyperSpace is primarily targeted at Windows computers, but it is also compatible with faster-booting desktop Linux. Meanwhile, netbook versions of Linux have whittled down boot times even more, with Moblin v2 already capable of remarkably fast boot times on its own. In fact, its core fast-boot technology formed the basis of HyperSpace competitor Presto, offered by Xandros.

Still, in the age of always-on smartphones and other responsive devices, even the relatively fast Moblin may seem slow, and netbook makers are looking for every advantage. Intel, meanwhile, is hoping to ward off competition from ARM Cortex-A8-based "smartbooks," which are likely to boast faster boot times than Atom-based models, as well as much longer battery life.

HyperSpace can also improve on Moblin's power management capabilities to give it a boost in battery life, says Phoenix. In addition, the technology provides Moblin with new security, wireless connectivity, and virtalization capabilities, claims the company.

HyperSpace applications

Phoenix is said to offer a Microsoft-compatible productivity suite for HyperSpace called HyperSpace Office, with word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications. In addition, Phoenix also partnered with Yahoo for HyperSpace-optimized search directly from the user interface, says the company, and has partnerships with Google Picasa and Adobe Photoshop for fast access to photo editing, storing and sharing.

Stated Woody Hobbs, president and CEO of Phoenix Technologies, "Moblin provides OEMs with an optimized framework for Intel Atom processor-based systems. HyperSpace enhances this platform with a unique, easy-to-use and fun interface and the ability to bring any application to life instantly."

Stated Doug Fisher, VP of Intel Software and Services Group and GM, System Software Division, "The combination of Moblin and HyperSpace will deliver a more satisfying and rich experience for ultra-mobile consumers. Both improve instant access to the web and other applications, dramatically extend battery life, and optimize emerging new classes of ultra-sleek, ultra-mobile computing devices."


Phoenix did not say when the Moblin version of HyperSpace would be available to OEM/ODMs, nor when it might appear in netbooks. More information may be found here.

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