Two headlines grabbed my attention today. The first proclaiming that Linux sucks while the second announced it was possible to boot into a full Linux OS in less than a single solitary second.
Paul Rako reports that one company, an embedded-Linux specialist called MontaVista Software, has gone step further than developing a proper Real-Time Linux implementation by developing a Real-Fast Linux implementation which boots in a second.
Actually, let's be accurate here, it boots in *less* than a second!
Actually, let's be even more accurate here, according to this report MontaVista has not only managed to boot its Real-Time Linux in under a second but can boot a bog standard, conventional, Linux distro in the same time. There's a video demo of the embedded version booting up in double quick time on YouTube which is worth a look if you are intrigued by all this. not even the embedded version of Windows 7 can get this speedy, so how did the Linux lads achieve it?
MontaVista achieved the impressive feat by getting rid of the bloat, and yes you have to admit that Linux is starting to look a little flabby around the middle these days, and paring down the boot loader. A little bit of Direct Memory Access here to move boot tasks into flash or processor memory as required, plus a clever bit of RAM disk usage by loading those parts of the end-user application needed to start up into page-cache memory and the process was pretty much complete.
Sounds pretty cool huh? But not everyone is convinced that Linux is cool at all. Take Adrian Kingsley-Hughes over at ZDNet who posted a story entitled "Why Linux still sucks" yesterday that recalled recent feedback from users looking to make the switch to Linux who were put off after taking it for a test drive. Notes that these are not necessarily the views of Adrian himself, but rather yer actual would be converts who decided not to be converted after all for the following most reasons:
- No gaming support
- Little or no OEM support
- No iPod support
- No migration tool
- Driver/hardware confusion
- Free tech support dries up
- Confusion about distro differences
So there you have it, Linux has come a long, long way and still has some distance left to travel if your average Windows or Mac user is going to make the switch. While nerds like me, and possibly you dear reader, will be mightily impressed by the sub-second booting story I suspect that the man on the Clapham Omnibus will be more concerned with the bullet-list of common problems than how long it takes to boot up. Sure, Linux is always going to be quicker than Windows, but if it is less newbie user friendly is that really a big deal?