Presto Instant-On Operating System Review

By on September 3, 2009
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With the growing popularity of inexpensive netbooks and nettop PCs, the Linux operating system (often installed on the lowest-priced budget units) is reaching a wider audience–although nowhere close to giving Windows or the Mac OS a run for their money (albeit the Mac OS is based on Linux). Some pundits even argue that the Linux [...]

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With the growing popularity of inexpensive netbooks and nettop PCs, the Linux operating system (often installed on the lowest-priced budget units) is reaching a wider audience–although nowhere close to giving Windows or the Mac OS a run for their money (albeit the Mac OS is based on Linux). Some pundits even argue that the Linux OS has finally matured enough to the point where everyday computer users can use it with little trouble. This might be arguable, but the often free or inexpensive nature of the different Linux distributions, as well as the plethora of free open-source Linux applications, makes the OS an appealing option to users on a budget.

But what if you could “dumb down” the Linux OS to its bare essentials, limit its focus to mostly Web-based tasks, make it dead-simple to use, and sell it for less than $20? Could that appeal to users? The folks over and Xandros think so with their Linux-based Presto OS.

Presto is an “instant-on” OS that is meant to give you quick and easy access to a number of Web-centric tasks, such as surfing the Internet, sending Web-based e-mail, sending instant messages, and making Skype calls. What makes Presto different than the handful of instant-on OS options presently available is that Presto does not reside in a system’s firmware, but instead gets installed onto a Windows system’s hard drive. Whereas most other instant-on OS options are only available as an embedded feature of select motherboards, laptops, or systems, virtually anyone with a Windows XP or Vista system can install and use the Presto OS…


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