It's a small step for an operating system, perhaps, but it could be another giant leap for Linux. DeviceVM has announced that its Splashtop 'instant-on' Linux is to appear on Asus laptops from this US summer.
The news follows the DeviceVM's recent coup of persuading the influential Taiwanese PC company to embed Splashtop - which Asus calls 'Express Gate' - on all its motherboards, out of the blue putting a type of Linux in millions of mainstream computers for the first time.
The first Asus machines to feature the system will be the M70T, M50V, M51Vr, and high-end F8Va/Vr, but it looks as if all new Asus laptops will feature the software in time.
Anyone buying such a machine will be buying a conventional Windows Vista laptop, but with a key difference. At boot time they can bypass the lengthy Windows startup to load a suite of simple Linux applications from a flash chip in a matter of seconds. These include a version of Mozilla's Firefox, Skype telephony app, and a simple photo viewer and media player, but might be extended to cover new types of software in future.
"The integration of Splashtop into notebooks represents a big step forward in portable computing, where instant 'on' and 'off' is essential," said DeviceVM's CEO and founder, Mark Lee.
Asus appears equally pleased to have embraced an interesting innovation in a market where so many PC vendors look alike.
"Asus is always committed to bring customers the most innovative solutions," said Henry Yeh of Asus. "With Express Gate, users will experience a new, fast, and secure way to surf, chat and play on Asus notebooks for a new computing experience."
YouTube users can view a demonstration of the Splashtop environment, coincidentally, another application that can be accessed using it.