Intel team gives Eee 5-second boot

October 13, 2008 // 12:42 p.m.

Tags: #boot #eee #fedora #intel #linux #mid #moblin #netbook #speed

If you're looking to put a full-fat Linux distribution on your Eee PC but don't want to lose that stunningly quick boot time, help is at hand: Intel is working on a system to allow a standard Eee to boot into a Fedora desktop in just five seconds.

First reported over on LWN.net, the work has been carried out by Arjan van de Ven and Auke Kok, two Linux developers at Intel's Open Source Technology Centre. Rather than attempt to merely improve the boot time, the pair started with the that attitude that “It's not about booting faster, it's about booting in 5 seconds.

While fast-booting OSes aren't new, this latest work is impressive in that it provides a fully-finished ready-to-use desktop in the five second time limit – no cheating by giving a barely-usable GUI while the disk thrashes and loads additional services in the background. In fact, the only thing that isn't quite ready within the five second limit is the network – although the network manager daemon itself is loaded and ready, it takes a few seconds longer for the system to do its magic in the background to negotiate a link.

The boot speed is an incredible improvement on the out-of-the-box 45-second boot time Fedora users will normally experience, and brings the diminutive Eee PC closer to an instant-on PDA-style device. While a boot time of almost a minute precludes whipping your netbook out of your pocket in order to make a quick note to yourself, five seconds is much more feasible for this kind of usage.

The work – which included the removal of non-essential daemons and systems which duplicated functionality already present elsewhere in the boot process, along with a modified version of the Fedora Readahead patch which allows for simultaneous, rather than sequential, loading – isn't going to be kept as an Intel specific tool, either: the team has announced that the code will be provided to the Moblin mobile Linux development community, meaning it's quite likely to be improving the next generation of netbooks and mobile internet devices.

Fancy having a play with the technology to pare down the boot time of your own ultra-portable, or is a forty-five second boot time really nothing to be getting worked up about? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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