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50 mb Linux livecd distro with a XUL interface and 10 second boot (xpud.org)
61 points by sandGorgon on Apr 7, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

Can someone tell me if this is a good idea?

You put this fast-booting live distro on a thumbdrive or disc, and it boots straight into a kiosk mode where you have just a full-screen browser that is restricted to your web-based sales portal. Perhaps it is simply an online store catalog with shopping cart and checkout.

Let's say you sell products at various fairs or conventions - maybe you travel a lot - wouldn't it be nice to be able to turn any cheap, old computer with a network connection (maybe you have many of them) into a fully-functioning on-site store in under 10 seconds without having to mess with anything? Just plug in that USB drive, boot, remove the USB drive, and you're done (or you do the same for a set of machines). If someone kicks out a power plug, just reboot like you did the first time and relax, knowing that the same exact functionality will be available on every computer you run this on, every time, with nothing to configure, nothing to install, and leaves no footprint on any of the machines you touch (runs completely in memory).

If needed, this fast-booting kiosk distro could download config settings from your web service (maybe you want to change your prices or catalog depending on the computer's location).

Could something like this reduce the cost and hassle of running profitable vendor kiosks at fairs/festivals/shows/conventions/malls/lobbies? Enough to be worth paying for such software?

What are the implications of instantly deployable, domain-specific thin-clients along these lines? What are the risks? Or is this just backward thinking?

What are the risks?

You can't trust the hardware or the network, for one. Did you check for a hardware keylogger?

Because it's already easy to do this. The browser portal to your website is the easy thing to solve.

* Network connectivity * Computers (& physical considerations: space and tables) * Web store

Those are the hard things to implement, and would cost a business a fair chunk of money, even for a bare bones offering of those.

Can someone figure out:

(1) What does "compatible with most major Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Fedora" mean? It's a separate distro, right? I've never heard of one distro being "compatible" with another.

(2) Does the "media player" play DVDs?

<blockquote> mkxpud is an image generator, and a binary-level build system very similar to Woof of Puppy Linux.

We don't want to handle the package dependencies, so we just leverage APT/dpkg. When running mkxpud, it reads project config (called cookbook), parse it into package settings (called recipe), strips directly from a working Debian/Ubuntu Linux, extracts them into root filesystem and finally generates image. </blockquote>

(2) Does the "media player" play DVDs?

Probably not, since that's technically illegal.

Only in countries with laws similar to the DMCA is it illegal.

What's wrong with inserting a DVD on a computer's DVD drive and watching it using this distro's media player? GP didn't say anything about ripping.

I didn't make the law, but technically, what you describe is not lawful. I think, technically, you can do it... but vendors can't distribute the compiled code that does it without a license from the DVD consortium folks.

AFAIK and IANAL you're not completely right.

It depends on the type of DVD you use. If for instance it's a movie DVD using something like CSS (remember DVD Jon?) and you access it's content by breaking the CSS "protection" then you're right. Basically if you need specific codecs or circumvent certain "protection" layers it would probably be something that you might want to check with a legal expert. In any other case where you want to access a plain DVD, AFAIK this is completely legal anywhere in the world.

Would the gentoo way (ie distribution of source packages, gets compiled automatically) be lawful?

Incidentally, I tried Moblin in a VM earlier today:


It boots from nothing to a working desktop in 8 seconds. Wow!

booted in 5.4 seconds on my computer!

Acer Aspire 4730z Intel Pentium dual core T3400 (2.16GHz, 667 MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache) 732MB Mobile Intel Graphics 2GB DDR2 RAM

Using the USB boot, version xpud-0.8.9

wifi didnt work with my Atheros Communications Inc. AR928X Wireless Network Adapter 802.11b/g/draft-n but i havent had a chance to fiddle with it.

this concept is a good one, but it is obviously still in infancy and has a long way to go. I will personally be watching this distro closely to see where they go

one thing that concerns me, where on earth is the community?

...using SSDs?

Love the boot time on this. . . . boxee on the go ?

On my Acer Aspire One (1.6Ghz Atom, 1Gb ram) with a 2Mb/s USB stick I counted about 16 seconds to boot from selection, overall about 30 seconds with my BIOS boot.

Couldn't get Wifi to connect, and a lot of missing features.

Very interesting though, could be perfect for quick kisok-style applications as well as a quick boot loader - looks like the plan allowing other OS's to be booted into from it.

is there a place where one has a list of the most popular wireless and sound cards ? Maybe the developers can use that as a starting point.

It did seem to detect the device - the problem is when I clicked my SSID and put in my password, I'd click connect but it would just sit there doing nothing.

10 seconds (or 16?) doesn't seem that great - XP boots that fast for me. I didn't watch the video though, and most of my boot speed is due to my Intel SSD.

If this boots from a CD or a rotating HD in 10 seconds, then they could have an "instant-on" netbook. Instant-on netbooks and laptops will win over the end user. This is a step towards turning the computer into an appliance.

Booting from a USB or CD typically means the OS needs to adapt to new hardware, uncompress the disk image and so forth each time it's run. The start up time of the Ubuntu LiveCD is considerably greater than a HD install of Ubuntu, for instance. So a 10 second boot time for a OS on a USB stick is fairly impressive.

On that same machine?

Upvoted for XUL

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