Presto! It's a New Netbook.

khess 0 Tallied Votes 812 Views Share

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

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!

Once you're into the desktop, you're presented with a taskbar with preinstalled icons for FireFox, Pidgin, Skype, Thunar, Application Store and Window List.

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.

woodsmoke 0 Newbie Poster

Xandros is a partner of Microsoft through the CodeWeavers corporation. The original corporation was Codeweavers which used Xandros as a test bed and thousands of people wanting to get AWAY from Windows as testers for the Codeweavers product which is called Crossover in it's commercial incarnation and WINE in the "testing" incarnation.
When Crossover had confirmed, over several years, that the "codecs" and "drivers" would, indeed work for Linux Codeweavers then basically dropped the Linux community.
Presto is the latest and best version of this testing.
You have the "appearance" of Windows and a Linux on the computer. However, what you really have is Windows and a Linux which is a shell corporation to make transfer payments to Windows.
Thus, in actuality you have two Microsoft products on the hard drive but with two different "appearances" and "names".
You have a hard drive that is Windows with two names.

If all one cares about is a name, that is ok.

If one really wants to be separated from Windows, one should consider one of the newer REAL Linux distributions which are now completely "point and click" and have a desktop which does things that Windows just hopes it can do, and gives you a little taste of with "Aero peek"... Linux has REAL..."aero"... and it is completely functional.
You will not be able to install a stand alone windows game on your computer but you can play online game seamlessly. However, things like STEAM requires the WINE proggy of Codeweavers.
You can't run Photoshop's latest incarnation but if you don't need the commercial qualities of Photshop then a program called GIMP(Graphic Image Manipulation Program) does just fine..and it is free as in free beer and freedom to change it as you wish...
You also have, then the real free office programs which are Koffice and Open Office(OO has a windows version also), and these are complete replacements for office applications.
Again........... this is Windows operating through a shell corporation....if you want that.....ok........

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

This sounds awesome. I love my new HP Mini, all except for the fact it's running Windows. I'm downloading this immediately and trying it. Sounds well worth the $20. Thanks for taking the time to be the guinea pig on this. Can't wait to try it.

jparshall 0 Newbie Poster

Woodsmoke, I don't know where you're getting your information, but it's so far out of line with the truth I don't really even know where to begin. Having worked at CodeWeavers since 2002, and having been good friends with its CEO, Jeremy White, since college in the mid-80s, I think I have a pretty good idea of the evolution of this technology (Wine) and the company that supports it (CodeWeavers).

First of all, CodeWeavers has never had any relation, formal or informal, with Microsoft. Nor does the Wine Project. Obviously, Microsoft knows all about Wine, and loathes it, but neither CodeWeavers nor the Wine Project has ever been approached by Microsoft for any purpose. Frankly, given the LGPL licensing structure of Wine, any attempts to buy us out and then take us out back and shoot us would be useless anyway, so there's no point in their trying. Instead, Microsoft has sought to impede the development of Wine by raising the veiled threat of potential patent and copyright infringement (that they've never revealed any particulars of) to larger potential corporate users like IBM. While this has perhaps slowed the development of Wine, it certainly hasn't stalled it.

Second, CodeWeaves is not a shell corporation, nor do we receive any "transfer payments" from anyone except our loyal customers. We have existed as an independent entity since our formation in 1996. We raised an initial round of funding in 1999, and one of the investors in CodeWeavers is also an investor in Xandros. However, since 2002 our sole source of revenue has been the products we sell (CrossOver) and the work we do on Wine for software companies such as Google, Novell, Borland, and many others. If we *had* been receiving sizable transfer payments from some shadowy organization acting on Microsoft's behalf, as an officer and major shareholder I think I can assure you that I would be driving something other than a twelve year old Subaru wagon. If there are any shadowy organizations out there who would like to leave briefcases full of unmarked $100s out on our doorstep, our address is 2356 University Ave. W., Suite 420, St. Paul, MN 55114. Please mark the briefcase "Attn: Jon Parshall"

Third, Wine is not "Windows with another name." It's a redevelopment of the Win32 API for Unix. Microsoft has no hand in it at all. In fact, the very fact that Wine has to run on a Unix-based OS means that by definition it has to be a from-the-ground-up re-write in order to even work. You can't just recompile Windows DLLs for Unix and expect joy, for instance--it's a *lot* harder than that. Likewise, we take scrupulous care to ensure that no reverse-engineered or de-compiled code is introduced into the Wine codebase.

Fourth, CodeWeavers has never "basically dropped the Linux community." We have been fortunate, of course, to have had a second marketplace (that of the Intel Mac) dropped in our laps since 2007, because that gives us a second revenue stream, which in turn allows us to make Wine that much better that much faster. However, Linux product sales still comprise about half of our product sales revenue. Likewise, we feel that the opportunities for growth in the Linux market remain strong, both due to the proliferation of Linux-based netbooks, as well as the large Linux desktop opportunities to be found in many places like India, South Africa, and Brazil. We remain as firmly committed to the growth of Linux as we ever did. So, your touting of "REAL" Linux distributions is both divisive and unhelpful. It doesn't move the ball forward on larger scale adoption. If you were truly a fan of Linux, you would recognize that Linux is about returning the reality of *choice* to end users. Part of giving users meaningful choices also includes giving them the opportunity to run Windows applications on Linux if they so choose. You may not want to use Wine yourself. That's fine. That's your choice. But trying to make Wine sound dirty, or implying that it's tainted by Microsoft, is both highly inaccurate, and not in keeping with the spirit of free choice that Linux users as a whole hold so dear.

I hope this helps clarify matters.

Best Wishes,

-jon parshall-

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster


Are you sure you are commenting to the right posting here? Your comments make no sense in relation to the Presto netbook installation story at all.

jparshall 0 Newbie Poster

Hi Happygeek,

I think the question might better be asked of Woodsmoke and his comment to the O post. I'm not sure why he thought that the OP was an appropriate place to launch into his diatribe, either, to be honest--it didn't really seem to pertain. But there it was, and people might read it, and my job as Marketing Guy here at CodeWeavers is to respond to folks regarding Wine and CodeWeavers where I find them out in the Cloud. Thus, my primary driving factor here was to correct misinformation regarding my company (CodeWeavers) and our core technology (Wine). If you want to remove *both* Woodsmoke's off-topic comments, and my response to him, that's fine with me. But otherwise, I'd at least like the opportunity to respond to his comments. Thanks for your interest.

-jon parshall-

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

Doh! I missed the woodsmoke reference at the start of your comment. See where you are coming from now! :)

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