Any plans to add support for new features of laptops targeting Vista?

Constantine Evans constantine at
Thu Jan 25 11:22:58 UTC 2007

Miles Lane wrote:
> Hello,
> This article introduces a bunch of new laptop technologies that
> Microsoft is supporting in Vista.  According to the article,
> these technologies will result in shortened boot times, less
> power consumption in hard drives, the ability to have commonly
> used files stay resident in non-volatile memory for rapid program
> launches, etc.  These technologies all have a hardware component
> in addition to the software side.  My hope is that we can figure
> out how to have Linux benefit from these hardware changes.
> Power management on laptops remains an area where Linux
> is challenged, though it is improving. 
> Is there any hardware specs are out there for these
> new chunks of hardware?
> Here's an article discussing the new gizmos:

Nearly all of the features described are either currently unreleased
gimmicks (Sideshow) or currently unreleased and overhyped technologies
(HHD). When they are eventually released, I expect that there will be
Linux support forthcoming for the sane ideas, though it is important to
note that some of the ideas are highly flawed, especially those
involving flash as cache, since flash memory has limited rewritability,
meaning that using it as cache will result in a short lifetime for your
computer, and is among the slowest memory throughput-wise used in modern
computers: typical hard drives are two to four times faster than flash,
and typical modern DRAM is 100 to 300 times faster.

Hard drives do have higher latency, but this will only matter in a few
circumstances. For example, while a flash cache might decrease boot time
significantly for Windows, it won't do so for Ubuntu, which has its boot
file order optimised so that the data can be read sequentially.

It should also be noted that Linux already uses otherwise free RAM as
cache, and I would expect that Windows does this as well. All of the
cache features described are absurdly slower than RAM-based cache, so it
would be more advisable to just buy a laptop without the gimmicks and
with much more RAM.


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