Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So I decided to install Presto My PC on my wife's laptop to see how it worked. She has an Acer Extensa 4420 running Windows Vista. One of her biggest complaints is that it takes forever to start up. Presto promises very quick boot times.

I was impressed with the ease of install. It took less than five minutes to install (the installer works from within Windows XP or Vista), and the next time I started the laptop the Windows Boot Loader asked me which OS to start. I selected Presto, and Bam! I was in. After a couple of quick changes to the network settings (I use manual IP, it's configured for DHCP by default). It automatically picked up both the wireless and wired network cards, something that impressed me greatly.

I was up and online in under a minute the first time, and under 30 seconds from no power to firefox running on the second boot. I was very impressed.


I wanted to try to connect the laptop to our windows-based server. I found no way to do this. I tried manually installing Samba using the command line (I had to use ALT-F2 to run xterm, there is no icon to launch it), and I was able to install this, and a number of other packages using apt-get. I even installed Synaptic to make it even easier to select and install packages. The problem, though, is that the kernel is built to load quickly, so they do not include cifs support, which is required to mount samba shares.

Now, I have absolutely zero experience with the kernel. This became very frustrating very quickly. I am going to try to find a way to add cifs support to the kernel, but honestly I think that Presto should look at making cifs a part of their system. The only file system that is supported is NTFS. I am sure this is part of the reason that boot times are so quick, but I would be more than willing to sacrifice a few seconds of my time with the promise of being able to connect to my Windows shares.

I guess I'm going to have to learn how to work with the kernel :)

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