For those who are sick of using Windows XP on their netbook and wanted to try out a netbook-efficient and more user friendly OS, then Jolicloud could well be the one heading to your netbook.
Jolicloud is a new Linux distro based on the Ubuntu Netbook Remix, but specifically optimized for netbook devices. What make it stands out from the rest is its Web services that delivers a whole new Web-centric experience to its users (we will discuss more on that later).
Jolicloud is currently at closed alpha testing stage and only offer download on an invitation basis. The download is a LiveCD installer of around 600MB, distributed in iso format. You will have to use a USB creator software to mount the iso file on a USB drive before you can use it to install on a netbook.
When you first boot up the OS, you will see a Ubuntu-like grub splash screen.
Similarly, on the home screen, you will find the familiar UNR user interface.
On further exploration, you will also find that many of the standard software suite found in UNR (like Open Office, GIMP, Rhythmbox) are no longer available. Even Ubuntu signature app installer: Synaptic Package Manger, is missing. There is a good reason for that. Jolicloud stripped out all the heavy-duty and redundant applications in the system and allows you to customize fully what applications you want in your computer.
This is also where Jolicloud Web Services plays its part.
Click on the My Jolicloud icon (or the Get Started icon in Favorites tab) to launch Jolicloud Web Services. This is basically a Mozilla Prism application that connects you to the Jolicloud server.
This is essentially the starting point of your Jolicloud Web-centric experience. The dashboard contains news information and notification of the software update for your netbook.
The application panel functions just like the iPhone App Store where you can choose the applications you want and install it in your netbook, easily and quickly. You are not restricted to install only desktop based application. Most of the popular web-based apps such as Google docs, Zoho office, YouTube can also be installed in your system (basically they are just customized build of Prism). Who says you need to know command line to install applications in Linux?
Jolicloud Settings – the social media stuff
The Settings panel is where you can follow other Jolicloud’s members (in Twitter style) and get update on what they are installing in their system. One thing though, for those who are concerned with their privacy, (unfortunately) I have not found a way to prevent others from following you. I strongly hope that Jolicloud can fix this up and allow more privacy control to the users.
For an OS that is still in alpha testing, Jolicloud is impressive. Surely there are plenty of bugs still need to be sorted out, but for the simple, yet user-friendly and easy to use interface, it really worth the praise.
Things that I hope to see improvement in future release:
1) Privacy control for the end-users
2) Support for a wider range of netbooks (currently it only works on certain models)
3) Better hardware support