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NEC launches embedded Linux

NEC launches embedded Linux

The hypervisor technology is likely to debut in NEC's range of business-oriented notebooks first.

If you've always wondered at the logic of running an anti-virus program within the operating system that you think might be infected, NEC might just have the answer.

Betanews has unearthed evidence that the company is about to launch a new range of notebooks featuring a 'hypervisor' built-in to the BIOS from Pheonix Technologies.

Built around an embedded Linux platform, the hypervisor operating system allows anti-virus and firewall applications to run outside the main operating system – meaning that a user is protected from threats even before the OS has booted. It also means that, in theory, nothing that the operating system does can affect the security applications; it doesn't matter how clever a particular bit of malware is, it will never be able to disable the anti-virus running on the hypervisor. In theory, at least.

Similar to the Splashtop embedded Linux OS developed by Asus but with a security-oriented thrust, the hypervisor – known as HyperCore – will be able to take advantage of virtualisation extensions built in to the latest generation of Intel chips in order to run at full speed without impacting the performance of the main operating system. Well, no more so than running an anti-virus package from within Windows would do, anyway.

The embedded Linux fun doesn't end there, either. HyperCore is part of the HyperSpace suite of technologies, and while the current plans are to implement ManageSpace – a security-oriented system that allows security applications to check for updates while simultaneously preventing Windows from having network access until given the all-clear – the company hasn't ruled out the possibility of using AppSpace as well; a more Splashtop-like embedded operating system designed to offer instant-on access to web browsing and media playback applications.

Do you approve of running vital security packages outside the main operating system, or should companies concentrate on making operating systems that don't need such third-party utilities to keep them secure? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Bauul 15th July 2008, 09:22 Quote
I don't think you'll ever create a perfectly secure OS, regardless of the developer, so I applaud this, in theory it sounds like a very good idea.
iwog 15th July 2008, 09:35 Quote
I like the sound of this, when can we get it for desktops?
Paradigm Shifter 15th July 2008, 11:16 Quote
This could be very useful, provided the linux distro knows about such details as networks and anti-virus updates.
p3ri0d 15th July 2008, 12:23 Quote
Yes, i pretty much like the idea of that. Clever indeed.
Timmy_the_tortoise 15th July 2008, 12:25 Quote
Well... the Anti-Virus software/Firewall has to actually be good for this to be worth any consideration..
SlickGnome 15th July 2008, 13:48 Quote
I'm in agreement on the above points about having the right AV/AS Firewall software. I also like that ability of not allowing windows onto the network until it passes its security checkup.
p3ri0d 15th July 2008, 14:00 Quote
Next step : Embedded Linux Firewall.


Would be cool with those two ideas together.
salesman 15th July 2008, 15:15 Quote
Any effects on people becoming hyperactive when using this new HyperCore system?
airchie 15th July 2008, 15:50 Quote
That's bizarre.
I thought about something like this and now its a reality.
I'm just wondering if I read an old press-release and didn't actually think of it on my own or if its a coincidence. :)

Sounds cool though, if done right. :)
Saivert 17th July 2008, 01:33 Quote
Well. Virtualization is becoming more and more mainstream it seems. Soon everything will be virtualized. I would love to be able to switch operating systems on the run as well (not like VMWare Workstation, but more like done from EFI/Hardware). When you power on the PC you get a menu presenting the running operating systems (with virtualization you never power down an OS, it's state is preservered on disk) and you just get right into the action.

Only the future knows.
p3ri0d 17th July 2008, 02:49 Quote
Soon all PC's will be empty and all hardware will be far away.

The PC will have the strict necessary to boot and connect to the main machine :P
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