Mandriva InstantOn

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Mandriva IntantOn is a product made by Mandriva. It allows to access the Web and your data in less than 10 seconds.


Boot time

Boot time from BIOS POST is less than 10 seconds on systems with fast storage, mainly SSD (measured on Nec NL1 Convertible Classmate with Sandisk 16BG SSD). On systems with slower harddisk (5400 RPM), it can be up to 12 seconds.

Fast init

The finit tool developped by Mandriva is used on the Mandriva InstantOn product. It allows to start the graphical server very early in the boot process, after initializing only the required services (such as D-Bus that is required to get devices access permissions through ConsoleKit).


Readahead is used in two steps, to first preload the required files to start the graphical server, the lightweight interface, and the web browser. After the interface is loaded, another readahead pass preload other interface and system components.

Graphical server

InstantOn uses the Xfbdev graphical server, from the TinyX project, to further reduce boot time. It has some drawbacks, like not being as configurable as Xorg server, and being limited to the modes supported by the framebuffer kernel driver (vesafb is used for InstantOn). It means that some widescreen resolutions (like 800x480 and 1024x600) can not be used with Xfbdev and the vesafb driver, only standard 4/3 resolutions can be used (800x600, 1024x768,1280x1024).


The resolution is locked by default to 800x600. The desktop interface requires at least a 800x480 resolution to be used.

OEM-specific features

Fast switch to another operating systems

An additional icon can be added in the main desktop interface to switch to another operating system. This allows for example to switch in a few seconds to another Mandriva Linux desktop. It can also be used to switch to a Windows operating system (by rebooting). More advanced features are in development, using virtualization features from the processors to allow starting another operating system in parallel, and hot-switch from Mandriva InstantOn to it.

Boot time optimization

The consumer product is a generic product, and some parts can be stripped down if InstantOn is to be deployed on a specific machine. Also, the readahead process can be optimized depending on the storage type (SSD or harddisk).

Desktop customization

Mandriva can install additional software and integrate it in the desktop interface. The theme and design can also be modified to match a specific branding.


Root password

Root password is: mini

Get a console

From the main desktop interface, go to Multimedia section, open User Files (which will run nautilus). From there, you can look for /usr/bin/xterm and run it.


800x600 resolution is used by default. This can be modified at boot time by editing the kernel command line. To do so, at the first boot screen, press F3 and edit the command line. Replace the argument of vga option by the desired mode (788 by default, for 800x600@16bpp). Depending on your screen, with the vesafb kernel drivers, the following modes can be used: 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024. See Linux video mode numbers (wikipedia) for a full list.

To modify the resolution permanently, edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

Changing the resolution step-by-step

Many novice or inexperienced users may need guidance in editing a file in console, especially with the vim editor deemed complex.

  1. Start Mandriva instanton, then browse through Multimedia > Personal folder.
  2. Click the "Back" to get to the root disk, then Scroll through the files "usr" and "bin", and finally start xterm, located towards the very end of the list of executables.
  3. Type the su - command, then the administrator password (mini).
  4. Type the following command : vim /boot/grub/menu.lst
  5. The vim editor opens the file containing the boot parameters, including the one of the resolution.
    1. Using the arrow keys (use the arrows left and right to go after the long drive), and place your cursor just after the value 'vga=788' located at the end of the first order.
    2. Press the 'Inser' button to activate the writing, erase the three numbers and replace them with the value corresponding to the resolution you want (such as vga=791 for a resolution of 1024x768, for other resolutions to see link above).
    3. Once the change is done, press the 'Escape' button and simply type :wq to save and quit.
  6. Type reboot to reboot immediately your computer and apply the changes.
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