The countdown is on, my friends. The countdown to the fastest booting OS, that is.
Forget those operating system sloths, Mac OS X and Windows (any flavor). The gauntlet was thrown down when the first mainstream commercial fast-boot OS appeared on a small solid-state drive (SSD) that had been pruned to operate on an ASUS eeePC.
Granted, the fast seek times for data access with the SSD contributed to Xandros's (the eeePC OS) speedy boot time, but users became enamored with the quick, "less than one minute," access to their apps. Thus was born the race to the fastest boot time.
One of the best known initial entrants in this race was Splashtop from DeviceVM, Inc. Claiming to be an "instant-on" OS, Splashtop has recorded boot times of approximately 5 seconds. Built on a proprietary core engine with a lightweight Linux Virtual Appliance Environment distribution, Splashtop resides in a read-only hardware memory device and can relinquish control to a more conventional Linux or Windows OS at any time following boot.
Currently, Splashtop is restricted to being pre-installed on a handful of motherboard, desktop, notebook, and netbook manufacturers. What if you want to hitch a ride on the fast-boot-time magic carpet? While you can register as a Splashtop developer and gain access to the open-source code files, there is a better, more grassroots, alternative.
Known as xPUD, this fast-boot Linux OS is a different animal from Splashtop. But it's different in a good way.
The brainchild of Ping-Hsun Chen, xPUD operates on a fast boot desktop paradigm. Rather than hitting the accelerator pedal for "first-on" bragging rights, xPUD gives you both a full-fledged desktop (modeled on the Mozilla Gecko runtime engine) and a fast boot time. The only problem is, there is a slight discrepancy between real measured boot times and the stated xPUD boot time:
A Via C7-M 1.5GHz booted in 31 seconds. xPUD claims a 13.98-second boot time.
An Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz booted in 26 seconds. xPUD promises a 3.84-second boot time.
Regardless of which time you believe, xPUD is fast, very fast. Likewise, it's no slouch as a rudimentary desktop, either. Inside xPUD, you get a handful of apps that can be used immediately following boot:
- Firefox (the ubiquitous Web browser)
- Gnome Mplayer (a media player)
- LeafPad (a text editor)
- Transmission (a BitTorrent client)
- gPicView (an image editor)
- xTerm (a terminal emulator, for scouring the insides of xPUD)
- File (a file/folder navigator)
- Internet (a Wi-Fi connection portal)
Don't like that app selection? Then make your own xPUD image. Using Ubuntu/Debian packages, mkxpud, the xPUD image maker, can build your own custom xPUD image featuring your preferred Ubuntu packages.
Currently existing as a beta OS, xPUD 0.8.9 has a sub-48MB footprint, so it's easy on your system resources. While I couldn't get it to run on a PC with 24MB of RAM (an old Fujitsu Stylistic tablet PC), I had no trouble installing it on an Everex gBook. Better yet, xPUD can be easily installed on your choice of removable media (e.g., CompactFlash, USB thumb drive, SD, etc.) for a completely portable rapid-boot PC solution. [Warning: this link could start auto-downloading the xPUD ISO image.]
Remember, xPUD is a DIY OS. Therefore, many exciting features like xPUD Switch Mode (the ability to toggle into another OS, a la Splashtop) haven't been implemented yet. That's where you come in. You can help with the development of xPUD. What do you get for your effort? A backstage pass to helping with the development of a real contender to the moniker "fastest-boot OS" in the West (and the East).
Download the xPUD ISO image.
Hmmm - not sure why the author calls Mac OS X a "sloth".
My MacPro boots and is fully usable in just under 12 seconds. Plenty fast for me.
I have been enjoying "'less than one minute,' access to their apps" for many years now, not only my current machine boots in far less than a minute, my _previous_ Mac several years ago did.
Windows on the other hand? More like a couple to several minutes.
I think it is irresponsible to bunch Mac OS X and Windows boot times together as the author did. Have you ever even seen a modern Mac boot up???
I agree with 3DTOPO,
OSX boots up plenty fast for me. More important I feel is that the OS need to have a very good standby feature. When I close the lod of my macBook, or put my iMac to sleep. it's is just there right away after I let the OSX wake up, I just open the lid and voila... everything is there on how I left it. Just like the papers on my desk, we talk about 2 seconds max and one sec to open the lid.
On this analog, won't you hate it if your maid cleans out your desk completely blank and you need to pull out all your papers, pencils, desk lamp etc because your maid put your desk to 'sleep' (by cleaning and removing items...).
Really, what is more important is that a OS has a good sleep/standby feature...
Boot times don't matter.
These are my benchmarks used for testing the 'Fastest Boot in the West:'
ASUS eeePC 4G Surf 900MHz Xandros boot = 29 seconds.
Mac mini 1.83GHz Mac OS X 10.5.6 boot = 37 seconds.
Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E 1.5GHz Microsoft XP boot = 42 seconds.
Sony VAIO VGN-NR160E 1.5GHz Microsoft Vista Home Premium boot = 44 seconds.
PowerBook G4 1.67GHz Mac OS X 10.4.11 boot = 1 minute 25 seconds.
Everex gBook 1.5GHz Ubuntu 7.10 boot = 1 minute 32 seconds.
So you based your article on the slowest Mac available (Mac Mini) and not even a recent model of it? What about the MacPro - it runs circles around the Mini - which should come as no surprise.
A PowerMac G4 laptop? That model is 6 years old - and you seem to be comparing it to a gBook less than a year old?
Even if you don't have access to the latest and better models, it is not exactly difficult to research (ahem google?).
1. The boot time is not accurate, because we can only get the uptime from kernel with no loading and decompression time while X server is starting.
2. Fast boot is good, but not the most important thing. It's only part of user experience. No one will frequently reboot their machine, and the goal of this project is trying to make a ready-to-use Linux and get it done in a better design.
Thanks for this informative review. I'm very appreciated! :-)
I've got Vista and it boots in about 25 seconds. That's fine for me. I know that's slow compared to Splashtop's 5 seconds, but I don't need instant access.
My parents computer on the other hand (it runs XP) Has about 512 mb of RAM and is so loaded up with sh** that it takes at least 5 mins on a good day. It's sad.
Xpud? Never heart of them but i will check it out.
Well, this probably dates me, but I was running a DEC OS, RT-11, on a RAM disk over 20 years ago, and it took 0.25 seconds to boot it.