JoliCloud moves into Pre-Beta

29 12 2009

Previously I wrote about Jolicloud while I was testing different Linux distributions on my EeePC netbook. I chose distributions that were, in theory, better suited to life with a netbook. After some basic trial use of Google ChromeOS, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Moblin and Jolicloud I settled on Ubuntu and for the last month I’ve been using it quite successfully on my little EeePC 901.

The thing I liked about Jolicloud was its ‘Jolicloud application installer’ this provides a whole slew of applications ready to install and not just the off the shelf Linux stuff, this also has applications that would normally require you to compile from source or run through Wine (the pseudo windows emulation library for Linux)

Since that initial look Jolicloud, which is based in Ubuntu so shares the same solid foundation, has gone from alpha to pre-beta. Pre-beta drops the need to be invited to try Jolicloud and opens it up to the wider world, in their words, “We consider the product and its installation stable and simple enough for a broader release.”, I would agree.

Now the thing that potentially interests me again in Jolicloud is the ‘New UI’, reading the Jolicloud blog further reveals this to be a lot of theme and icon redesign with the goal of providing a more consistent feel to the, lets be honest, mixed bag of typical Linux distro’s.

The launcher has been given a HTML5 makeover and looks greatly improved, cleaner, clearer and ultimately more usable. Compare

with the current/old

It seems to me that if Jolicloud roll out the UI update and pull off a good attempt at a cohesive UI for Linux then they will have a success on their hands. Google’s play is to simplify (dumb down?) the UI to a HTML5 browser, but its tomorrow’s toy, Jolicloud looks set to offer this today.

Season the mix with 98% netbook compatibility and a Windows installer that will install Jolicloud alongside Windows on your netbook (assuming you have the disk space) and there might never be a better time to give Jolicloud a spin and see what the latest world of Linux has to offer the daily netbook user.

So I am going to be re-installing Jolicloud soon, once that new UI is available, and quite possibly moving on from Ubuntu Netbook Remix. That is as soon as I get hold of a new SD card to load it onto.

Posted via email from Steve’s Blog

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Moblin and EeePC901

22 11 2009

Moblin is an optimized Linux platform that provides a modern, engaging user experience for mobile devices. Installation is a pretty standard affair and follows the usual download the image, burn it to a bootable media (USB or SD), boot it and install. Painless.

Once it boots you’re confronted with a very different UI, one that is very neat and well designed. A floating tool bar appears at the top of the screen when you mouse up to the edge, this is the main navigation and, quite restrictively, is fixed to what you see. I guess adding to it or changing it is there somewhere but its not something you are going to do easily. Thats a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view, for me it wasn’t so good.

The UI is well laid out and quite nice to use, but adding applications not in the Application Installer ‘Garage’ was troublesome and I found myself losing the will to live over getting what I wanted installed. This shouldn’t be viewed as the big problem I am making it out to be, if you don’t need other apps then there is no issue and the garage does have a decent spread. It didn’t have what I wanted though.

I also had problems with WiFi dropping out and refusing to reconnect. I tried this on both the wireless networks here so it wasn’t that, I am guessing its a driver issue on the EeePC901.

I don’t feel like Moblin is quite ready for use in the wild and in fact I don’t think it’s meant to be either, I think we are going to see devices running it soon and as it is built to order for each device I am sure its going to provide a very friendly and effective UI. But for a general purpose geek’s netbook, nah!