Ok, I usually don’t get really excited about distributions, after all, I did spend the last 10 years inside different Linux distros – so getting me excited about something won’t be an easy task. However, this time something took me a little by surprise, mainly, something that comes from a distro that I really used to love in the past.
Mandriva (Formerly Mandrake + Connectiva) had brought on to the world a distro that is bootable directly from a DiskOnKey. Well, this isn’t a new thing, I’ve created one my self a while back. The thing that I liked about this one was that it is jam packed! It booted without any problems on my IBM T42 Notebook, bringing up a cool KDE 3.5 Desktop is less than 2 minutes – which is really fast for my notebook. The 3D desktop effects work like a charm, and even the wireless network worked immediately – all in all – a very satisfying experience.
The key it self is a 4GB Disk-On-Key, with enough space to have you work on any Internet Cafe computer, and still keep your data inside a /home that has around 300MB of storage space. For a developer like myself, this environment gives a very portable computer to take with me, while I travel or when I’m on customer location.
I’ve tried booting it on several different PC hardware environments, mainly notebooks and Internet Cafe POS computers, they all worked in a more or less similar manner (well, apart from that Internet Cafe that was using old P2 computers – what a shit place!). I loaded onto my home directory on the key my Asterisk sources, and here I was sitting in a coffee shop in Tel-Aviv, working no Asterisk on a public computer – I don’t know what it means to you, but to me it means a great deal. I hope they come out with a 8GB or a 16GB version of this key, as that will enable more to be done, turning this tiny little gadget into a really portable development lab.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re a computer geek, or just an average Joe on the street, no one, and I really mean no one can stay un-affected by the 3D desktop. The slick look and the smooth operation of the environment on a modern PC leaves almost any spectator breathless.
Most of the reactions I’ve gotten in the Cafe were: “DEAR GOD – WHAT IS THAT? CAN I HAVE THAT IN VISTA?” – always ending up with a big fat “NO – YOU CAN’T – GO LINUX”.
Ok, need to move now, I don’t think the Internet Cafe attender here will like me booting something else but his silly little XP and bypassing all his Billing system – well, have to go now.