Linux OS – A Rose By Any Other Name

February 28th, 2010 | by Oo Gin Lee

I wrote a piece for the Sunday Times published today about the emergence of the smartbooks – netbooks which use mobile processors and Linux/Google operating systems instead of the usual Wintel duopoly. I drafted the specs from the info provided and e-mailed it back to the computer company for them to confirm the specs. Everything was in order, except the OS part which the PR wanted me to
“pls state OS to be ‘comprising of a customer user interface layer, built on a custom Linux-based OS.”

In other words, a Linux OS. “That’s rubbish” was my response and I simply told him/her that the sentence was a total waste of valuable space on the newspaper. He/she said he/she did not understand why I used the word rubbish and went on to send me more info:

Q. What is the OS for Skylight and why did you choose it?
A. The Skylight User experience is comprised of a custom UI layer built on a custom Linux base OS.   The average user will not be aware that the OS is based on Linux.  We chose this approach because it provided the flexibility to deliver a simple, discoverable, and fun gadget based way of presenting web applications and media.

Q: Is this a Lenovo Operating System?

A: That depends on your definition of “Operating System”.   We have created a unique software stack optimized to achieve a specific user experience focused on web applications, media and cloud computing.    The focus of our investments have been on the User Interface layer.

Q: What did you base the OS on?

A: Lenovo’s Skylight Interface runs on Embedded Linux.  ThunderSoft is Lenovo’s Linux System Integrator.

Q: Are you working with a Linux distribution partner? Who is it?
A: Yes Thundersoft.  Lenovo recognized the value of running Linux as a base platform for the Skylight User Interface for everything from performance to extensive customization.   This allowed us to pick the best and most appropriate elements to solve the SmartBook equation.   An extensive team of partners along with internal development teams from Lenovo and Qualcomm worked together to pick, customize and create what we needed to provide a world-class solution.

Yes my friend. It is still a Linux OS.


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