Last evening, my friend Jason Perlow, IM'd me and told me to go to this link and download a program called Presto. He had just returned from some "green" IT show in New York City and apparently had seen, or heard about, this Presto thing--a new Linux operating system that works on almost anything--even old laptops.
"It boots in seconds," he exclaimed with almost childlike excitement.
"What is it?" (My snappy retort)
Here's the description given on CNET.com:
You are seconds away from productivity with Presto. Start up your computer in seconds. You will be able to instantly start to e-mail, chat, Skype, instant message, listen to music, surf the internet or download apps before Windows XP or Vista even boots. You will automatically be connected to the best available network. Browse the web securely using Firefox. Chat using instant messaging (IM). Make free Skype calls. Listen to music and watch videos.
CNET Editor's Note: This is a very large (463MB) file and may take several hours to download via slow Internet connection.
Now, I trust Jason implicitly but I'm always cautious about downloading random files and installing them without investigation. When he told me that he had to reboot, I became even more suspicious.
From our IM chat, he told me that Presto is a type of Linux desktop that installs via Windows to your system. What he didn't tell me is that it creates a dual boot installation of Linux on your system and that's why he was rebooting.
I almost stopped the download right then and there.
But, I had another thought: I'll install this on my new Acer Aspire One Netbook. If it crashes it, I can always recover it from the manufacturer's recovery setup (I hope).
So, I did it. I started the installation, which took about 5 minutes and kept my fingers crossed the whole time...meanwhile Jason kept asking me if I had installed it yet. I told him I was installing it onto my Netbook. He became even more excited at this news.
Once installed, I rebooted and to my surprise--my little Netbook became a dual boot Windows/Xandros Presto Linux. I chose Xandros Presto. The boot from that choice until I was presented with a complete Linux desktop was about 15 seconds. The first boot takes the longest according to the information during setup.
Subsequent boots take about 5 seconds--very inspiring indeed!
To install the application to my Netbook, I used a wired connection. To setup and test wireless connectivity, I unplugged the cable and checked the network icon on the taskbar. I was shocked when I opened it that all of the wireless networks in range were listed. I selected mine and presto, I was connected. Jason and I then called each other via Skype while I did a live video tour of my house for him using the built-in webcam.
After a couple of hours on the phone with Jason and installing apps via the Application Store, I decided that Presto is a good thing. A very good thing. Now I have a fast booting Linux and Windows XP.
Presto is a Xandros product and therefore is commercial. Presto only costs $19.95 USD and is well worth that price. Rarely do I champion a commercial product like this but Presto is just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. It works. It's fast. It lives up to its marketed promises and that alone is worth a paltry twenty bucks.
Download it and try it. After you do, let me know what you think of it.