Android, Chrome OS, and Ubuntu united in one platform

A new option from Always Innovating adds a fourth Linux-based operating system for a quad-boot alternative.

With so many exciting new operating systems to choose from today, it can be tough to settle on just one -- particularly if you're an open source fan.

Recently, however, Always Innovating has created an option that allows users to avoid choosing altogether. A new platform demonstrated recently by the company on YouTube combines Canonical's Ubuntu and Google's Android and Chrome OS with its own, custom Linux-based operating system to offer a quad-boot alternative.

Yes, that's four operating systems in one, downloadable for free from Always Innovating's site in just 2.04GB.

Four OSes in One

Dubbed Super-Jumbo, the new offering was designed for the Beagle Board, a high-performance, low-power and open source computer produced by a community including Texas Instruments and distributed by Digi-Key. Priced at $149, the Beagle Board is a fanless, single-board computer based on TI's OMAP3530 system-on-a-chip, which in turn uses the ARM Cortex-A8 core.

Also compatible with Always Innovating's own Touch Book and Smart Book hardware, Super-Jumbo is a single image that provides four operating systems fully optimized for the third-generation OMAP chip: Google's Android 2.3, or Gingerbread; Ubuntu Linux 10.10, or Maverick Meerkat; Chrome OS; and Always Innovating's own AIOS, which is a fork of the Ångström Linux distribution built for embedded devices.

The platform represents the first time Chrome OS has ever been released for the OMAP3 generation of processors, the company says.

No Rebooting Necessary

Users of Super-Jumbo -- which is bundled with hundreds of applications, Always Innovating says -- can run the four operating systems concurrently and then switch among them without rebooting or incurring any performance loss. Each can also be set to load by default.

Can more choice and flexibility ever be a bad thing, particularly when it's all Linux-based, free and (mostly) open? I certainly don't think so. Here is the video demonstrating Super-Jumbo in action. Time to take it for a test drive.

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Katherine Noyes

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