Splashtop OS

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Graphical menu showing list of applications and boot options
One vendor's main SplashTop screen (2008)
Developer Splashtop Inc.[1]
OS family Unix-like
Working state Discontinued[citation needed]
Source model Closed source[2]
Initial release October 30, 2007; 9 years ago (2007-10-30)[3]
Final release[4] (July 14, 2011; 5 years ago (2011-07-14)) [±]
Final preview MeeGo Edition Beta[4] (August 4, 2008; 8 years ago (2008-08-04)) [±]
Update method Manual, via PC vendor[2]
Platforms x86
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface Blackbox
License Proprietary software with open-source components[5]
Official website os.splashtop.com

Splashtop OS (previously known as SplashTop)[1] is a discontinued proprietary Linux distribution intended to serve as instant-on environment for personal computers. The original concept of Splashtop was that it was intended to be integrated on a read-only device and shipped with the hardware, rather than installed by the user. It did not prevent the installation of another operating system for dual booting. It was an instant-on commercial Linux distribution targeting PC motherboard vendors and other device manufacturers. The first OEM partner for the original Splashtop was ASUS, and their first joint product was called Express Gate. Later, other computer manufacturers also built Splashtop into certain models and re-branded it under different names. The aspects below detailing these events are retained verbatim from past articles, for historical reference.

It boots in about 5 seconds,[3] was thus marketed as "instant-on". It uses Bootsplash,[6] SquashFS,[5] Blackbox, SCIM, and the Linux kernel 2.6.[7]

Support for Splashtop OS has been withdrawn and downloads of Splashtop OS have been disabled on the Splashtop website.


Splashtop features a graphical user interface,[3] a web browser based on Mozilla Firefox 3.0, a Skype VoIP client and a chat client based on Pidgin.[3][7] It also includes Adobe Flash Player 10.[8]

Splashtop OS (beta) version uses Microsoft Bing as search engine, a Chromium-based web browser with Adobe Flash Player plug-in preinstalled. Existing Windows bookmarks and Wi-Fi settings can be imported from Windows.[4]

Most versions of Asus motherboards no longer come with Splashtop preinstalled, as the manufacturer now limits the inclusion of its built-in Express Gate flash drive to "Premium" motherboards such as the P6T Deluxe and P7P55D-E Premium. Other Asus motherboards allow installation of the compact OS via a Windows-only based installer on its support CD. Installation from CD requires a Windows partition to store 500 MB of files, which has to be a SATA drive defined as IDE (no support for AHCI).[9][self-published source] If one doesn't have a Windows-based machine, it is possible to install Splashtop on a USB hard drive, from the sources.[10][self-published source]

As of June 2010, Splashtop, as supplied for Asus motherboards, had no support for add-on wireless hardware such as PCI cards.[citation needed]


Splashtop can work with a 512 MB flash memory embedded on the PC motherboard.[11] The flash memory can be also emulated on the Windows C: drive (see below). A proprietary core engine starts at the BIOS boot and loads a specialized Linux distribution called a Virtual Appliance Environment (VAE). While running this VAE, the user can launch Virtual Appliances (VA). Skype is a VA, for instance.[12]

The Sony VAIO versions such as are installed as VAIO Quick Web Access.[13] The installer and the resulting SquashFS files occupy roughly 2×250 MB. The SquashFS files consist of a hidden splash.idx and two hidden folders splash.sys and splash.000 in the Windows C:-partition, where splash.000 corresponds to splash.sys\persist for a DOS file system emulation of an USB flash drive.[14][self-published source] The MD5 checksums of the various Bootsplash bs-xxxx.sqx and Virtual Appliance va-xxxx.sqx files (including a special Firefox configuration) are noted in splash.sys\version for a simple integrity check at the Splashtop start.[15] VAIO laptops offer special buttons ASSIST, WEB, or VAIO depending on the model. The power button on these laptops triggers an ordinary PC boot process, the WEB button starts Splashtop. If a Windows-version configured for VAIO is already running the WEB button only starts the default browser.[16]

The open sources used for major parts of different Splashtop versions can be downloaded.[7] Parts of Splashtop are subject to patents.[17][18][19]

Products using Splashtop[edit]

Splashtop OS screen with menu for switching built-in programs (2008)

Asus distributed Splashtop in various motherboards and laptops, including select products from Eee family, under name "Express Gate". Splashtop was also available in netbooks and laptops from various vendors under names "Acer InstantView", "HP QuickWeb", "Lenovo Quick Start", "LG Smart On", "VAIO Quick Web Access" and "Voodoo IOS".[13][20][21][22][23][24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Larabel, Michael (October 30, 2010). "Remember SplashTop? Here's An Update On Them". Phoronix. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Splashtop Instant-On Desktop from DeviceVM". Official website. DeviceVM. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Larabel, Michael (October 6, 2007). "ASUS Motherboard Ships With Embedded Linux, Web Browser". Phoronix. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Splashtop OS - Support". Official website. Splashtop Inc. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Larabel, Michael (November 4, 2007). "SplashTop Source Code Released". Phoronix. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ Larabel, Michael (July 29, 2008). "SplashTop "Instant-On Linux" Gets Hacked". Phoronix. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Open Source". Official website. Splashtop Inc. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ Burke, Catherine (October 5, 2009). "DeviceVM Introduces Splashtop for Business; Instant-On Platform Offers Fast, Secure Access to Cloud Computing" (Press release). Splashtop Inc. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ "ExpressGate install from VirtualBox". Ubuntu forums. August 24, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ Mathieu, Kévin (October 22, 2008). "ExpressGate sur Eee PC 901" [ExpressGate on Eee PC 901]. Kinox (in French). Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ SplashTop's Instant-On Linux Desktop | Geek.com
  12. ^ "Core Engine" slide by ASUS as reprinted in Larabel, Michael (October 10, 2007). "SplashTop On Notebooks, Desktops". Phoronix. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "VAIO Quick Web Access". Sony VAIO. 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Hacking Express gate (Asus Splashtop)". Phoronix forum. 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  15. ^ Pannell, Benjamin. "DVM-version.exe". ExpressGate. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Using the Internet without Starting Windows (Quick Web Access)(the Web button)". Sony VAIO. 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2011. 
  17. ^ US patent 7082526, Rong-Wen Chang, "Mechanism for intuitively invoking one or more auxiliary programs during a computer booting process", published 2006-07-25, assigned to Elegent Technologies, Inc. 
  18. ^ US patent 7441113, "Method and apparatus for the virtualization of appliances", published 2008-05-29, assigned to DeviceVM 
  19. ^ US patent 7827558, Rong-Wen Chang, "Mechanism for enabling a program to be executed while the execution of an operating system is suspended", published 2010-06-03, assigned to DeviceVM 
  20. ^ Vaughan-Nichols, Steven J. (January 5, 2009). "Everyone's free Linux: DeviceVM's Splashtop". ComputerWorld. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  21. ^ Lal Shimpi, Anand (June 3, 2008). "ASUS Eee Box Preview & Intel's Atom Benchmarked". AnandTech. p. 3. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  22. ^ Johnson, Jennifer (October 12, 2010). "Acer and Gateway Business Notebooks Get Splashtop". Hot Hardware. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ Piltch, Avram (January 6, 2010). "Splashtop 2.0 Hands-On: Customization, New Home Screen, Touch Support". Laptop. Tom's Guide. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  24. ^ Miller, Paul (January 9, 2009). "LG's new X120 netbook with Splashtop-powered instant on". Engadget. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  25. ^ Davies, Chris (July 16, 2008). "Voodoo IOS (aka Splashtop) video demo on Envy 133". SlashGear. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 

External links[edit]