I just read this article on Phoronix on the Phoenix HyperSpace quick boot Linux. So a quick boot Linux partition installed side-by-side with Windows is nothing new. It happened early last year.
Rather what this article shows is the increased awareness of Linux in the vendor space. It also shows that vendors will ditch their loyalty toward Microsoft and the Windows platform, if it suits the vendor. And Phoenix is not a sole rogue vendor. Nokia does it with Maemo on its internet tablets. Dell on select machines and its Mini 9 netbook. Asus and Acer, again two Linux netbook vendors. And a number of other vendors do the side-by-side install too.
Microsoft should be worried. The Vista debacle caused more than just users to get upset for a slow, bloated OS. Vendors got upset, when Microsoft promised a feature and then didn’t deliver half of what they promised. And vendors trying to stay ahead of the curve got burned when a vital feature didn’t appear. Don’t be surprised that vendors will happily pull a Julius Caesar on Microsoft.
Vendors and user both got tired of Microsoft telling them how they should do their computing. The basic beauty of computing is the flexibility and freedom of workflow that it allows for. Imposing limits of the technology for “historical” and business reason is folly in the long run. Also today’s state of the art technology is past the desktop. The desktop has to interact seamlessly mobile handhelds, web applications and cloud computing offerings. Making everything into a desktop paradigm as Microsoft sees things, doesn’t work. It doesn’t cut it anymore. And vendors know this.
Vendors now look to Linux and free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) as a way to simplify development, cut costs and ultimately as a way to go forward. That is the beauty of FLOSS, you have the freedom to take technology where you want it to go. The only constraints on computing technology should be the laws physical universe and your own imagination.