Have you ever had the need to boot your laptop in a Starbucks, an airport lounge, or a buddy's house, but don't want to go through the agonizing multi-minute procedure of starting up your operating system with all of its managed software and utilities? If you're a corporate Windows user on the go, chances are your PC might take several minutes to get up and running if you just want to get onto the Internet, GMail, surf, Twitter, FaceBook, instant message, Skype, or what have you. Well, now there's a solution: Presto.
The Presto Linux desktop.
Presto is actually an ultra-stripped down Linux that has been optimized to boot on even the oldest PC laptop hardware in a matter of seconds. Unlike other Linux environments that require re-partitioning of your system, Presto actually is stored in the C:\Program Files\Presto directory on your native Windows NTFS file system and installs just like a regular Windows Program.
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When you reboot your PC, your BOOT.INI menu now gives you a choice of Windows or Presto. If you pick Presto, it boots your computer within seconds into a Linux OS that is optimized for Internet Browsing, Instant Messaging, and Skype VOIP. You can even access files such as Powerpoint and Word documents on your Windows hard disk and view them or even modify the files using the built-in OpenOffice software.
Presto includes Firefox, Instant Messaging, Skype and the ability to browse/view/and alter files on your NTFS drive.
The technology which Presto uses to co-exist with Windows on the NTFS file system has also been applied to other Linux operating systems, such as Ubuntu, which offers the free WUBI installer for Windows. However Presto is much more stripped down than Ubuntu, and is really geared for Windows-based netbooks, older laptop hardware, or for anyone who wants to get their system up and running quickly.
Presto installs in a matter of minutes and as soon as my Lenovo laptop rebooted, it instantly detected my wireless networks. Presto is also extensible through a special "Click and Run" web site that it uses in combination with the Application Store program pre-installed on the system. Need some games or other special programs, such as the GIMP image editing software? or Picasa? Just add it for free through the online App Store.
The Application Store allows you to add thousands of applications to Presto with just a simple click.
Unlike WUBI, Presto is commercial software -- it costs $19.99. But this is a no-brainer purchase for the busy traveller on the go.
Have you played with Presto yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.