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Phoenix Hyperspace, the Instant-On Linux: Needs More Time in the Oven - page 2

Cool Stuff

  • March 4, 2009
  • By Carla Schroder
Still another oddity is it has a button for switching to Windows that doesn't work correctly on HyperSpace Dual. It asks you "Do you want to shut down HyperSpace and boot to Windows?" Click Yes and it restarts the system, but it goes to the normal boot menu so if you aren't paying attention and manually select Windows, it will start up in HyperSpace again, which is the default. True, it's a small thing, but it really should be a one-click task. Just like when you go into the Network control panel and click "Repair Wifi connection" it says "This program will now attempt to repair the Wifi connection. OK to continue?" Nah, I went that far out of my way just to click a button and then change my mind, so thank you for making me click again to be sure. Why not throw in a couple more. I hate when annoying Windows-isms infect Linux.

Somehow Firefox got goobered up. It seemed to be closed, but when it should have started up automatically it told me

"Firefox is already running. To open a new window, you must first close the existing Firefox process, or restart your system."

Um. OK. Poor old single-process Firefox is just as big a pain on grownup Linux. I imagine most folks will restart. You can avoid rebooting by opening the command shell and killing off the offending process. This is not the fault of HyperSpace, but Firefox.

Not Getting Free/Open Source

There seems to be an accelerating trend of wrapping Linux in all kinds of closed, proprietary stuff on embedded devices, and keeping it all under tight wraps. That goes against what Linux and FOSS stand for. Sure, there are many clever GPL dodges; I'd rather support vendors that don't dodge. It's exciting to see the explosive growth of Linux and FOSS in so many arenas, and I really want to like the vendors who are piling onto the FOSS bandwagon. But folks, the goals of FOSS are not exploitation and locks and chains.

Linux On Netbooks, or Linux to Pressure Microsoft?

I have my doubts about the whole Linux netbook market, and I wonder if any OEM Linux netbook vendors are serious about releasing and supporting a high-quality, polished Linux machine, or is it just leverage to use against Microsoft? Remember, it wasn't that long ago that the titans of tech were poo-pooing and badmouthing OLPC. Then the first Linux netbooks hit the market with big happy splash, and the chorus of mockery got louder. Then suddenly it was Windows XP on netbooks, and Linux netbooks disappeared from entire countries. I can't think of a single OEM netbook Linux that is worth a darn; they have bizarre, dumbed-down interfaces, don't connect to stock repositories, and have lots of broken bits. Most Linux geeks blow off the stock installation and replace it with a stock Linux, or one of the excellent netbook-customized Linuxes that never find their way onto OEM machines.

How hard can it be to make a nice customized Linux with complete hardware support and everything works? Not hard at all, because there are all kinds of special FOSS programs just for making and deploying customized Linuxes. I can do it. Most LinuxPlanet readers can do it. You'd think a commercial vendor who controls the hardware and software could do it too. Hire some clueful Linux gurus, turn them loose, and watch magic happen.

Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Building a Digital Sound Studio with Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of LinuxPlanet and Linux Today.

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