Netbooks are in thing nowadays. All the companies are vying to get the larger part of the market share in this new segment. While all that is happening on the hardware front, there is no proprietary software tailored just for Netbooks. While the costlier Netbooks offer Windows 7, most of the others have turned towards Linux thanks to its reputation of being light on the meagre resources these Netbooks possess. We have searched through quite a few netbook OS and one that has managed to catch our eye is Jolicloud.
Founded by Tariq Krim, the project has just come out of Alpha testing and is available with the pre beta release tag. Jolicloud handles both desktop applications as well as cloud applications very well. For first timers, Jolicloud comes paired up with virtual machine software and thus you can give it a trial run on your Windows before installing it. There is also the option of running the ISO file as a Live CD too. Though the option to install applications is disabled in the Live mode. The installation by default takes 8GB of space by default in Windows. The installation is very much similar to an original OS so you will to specify details like username, password, machine name etc. To install on a new drive the ISO will have to be burnt on to a disc and then boot from it. The user is presented with the option of first trying out the Live version too. You can also convert your USB drive into a bootable device and load Jolicloud on to it. This is pretty useful for Netbooks which do not have an optical drive.
The UI of Jolicloud is kept simple while exuding a feeling of freshness. The dashboard is organized where the applications are on the right side of the screen while system folders are on the left. Jolicloud, by default uses Mozilla Prism to run its web applications and therefore all of them open in Firefox like windows. Tweaking the look and feel or the internal working of Jolicloud is pretty simple too. The control panel resembles Windows and this helps people who are new to Linux.
There is an application manager which is pretty useful. It arranges cloud based as well as desktop applications together. There is not much of a difference in how Jolicloud handles both the type of applications. Jolicloud supports Wine for those who simply cannot stay away from some of their Windows applications. There are also loads of applications pre-loaded in Jolicloud. They are arranged in categories such as Accessories, Development, Games, Graphics etc.
Jolicloud is one of the more complete netbook OS available despite its pre beta tag. It is faster than Moblin though not as fast as Chrome, but it also features desktop functionality while Chrome only supports cloud based computing. Reviews also state that Wi-Fi connectivity is better on Jolicloud than on Moblin or Chrome. Thus go ahead and give this fresh new flavour of Linux a try.