Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jolicloud

Jolicloud  is a new Ubuntu-based OS designed especially (and practically only) for netbooks. So much so that it's "The OS your netbook's been screaming for", according to the website. I installed Jolicloud on my netbook because Ubuntu was starting to severely disappoint me and I figured I'd try something else before going through the hassle of switching back to Windows XP.

INITIAL IMPRESSION:
Ubuntu seemed to slow down dramatically after being installed on my netbook, possibly because of full disc space. Nevertheless, as soon as I had Jolicloud installed, it improved dramatically. The interface is intuitive, and definitely designed just for a netbook. I liked the app directory, which allowed me to browse apps in a more elegant way than Ubuntu's software center.

AFTER SOME USE:
I'm still loving Jolicloud a week and a half after the initial install. There's a few bugs/things that need to be changed I've found though..
  • Transmission is the default bittorrent client, but it's not even in the app directory, meaning you can't simply click "Remove" to uninstall it like the other apps. Yes, it isn't that complicated to do a 'sudo apt-get remove', but I'm just talking about coordination. Some of the apps that I wanted weren't in the app directory (like Deluge), and that's fine. But the ones that come standard should be in there.
  • There's no handler for apturl. I guess it's because I'm a Linux noob, but I liked being able to install stuff just by clicking a link on websites, and websites like GetDeb pass the install with an apturl, and since Jolicloud doesn't include Ubuntu's software center, it can't open these. I guess it's just something I would like changed. I mean, I really don't miss the software center that much, but I'd like to use GetDeb....
  • The Desktop screws up every now and then. Every once and a while the Jolicloud menu will crash you'll be stuck without the GNOME standard menu or the netbook menu, so you have to use the keyboard shortcut for "Run" or something.
  • The Jolicloud menu needs to have a changeable background. This is just for looks, but my netbook looks a tad boring with just black.
  • You can't mount drives from the Jolicloud menu. You have to go into nautilus and mount it there, then you can access it through the menu.
Those things really aren't that major. Just nitpicking, really. Overall, I've been very impressed and satisfied with Jolicloud so far, with no major complaints. Here's a few things I love:
  • It actually knows all the Fn shortcuts! Brightness, Volume, Wifi, you name it. Also, the Fn shortcut for Standby (excuse me....Suspend) actually Suspends, not like Ubuntu which just logs you off.
  • It includes a speed utility! This one works better than eeectrl in my opinion. It lets you choose several simple options from a tray menu, no configuration needed, AND it actually shows what speed your processor is operating at.
  • It has built in tools for Capslock and ScrollLock. If you don't own a netbook, here's an interesting fact: netbook keyboards (at least mine) do not have lights for Capslock or ScrollLock, so it's hard to tell if either is on or off. In Windows, the ASUS drivers have popups that let you know when the status changed, but Jolicloud does one better: it has a tray icon that lights up when a lock is on. That way you can always tell when one is on or off.
  • Included Firefox addons specifically for a netbook. Mostly one called Meerkat, but still nice.
  • Jolicloud looks like I wish Ubuntu looked like. It took me a while to skin Ubuntu to get it where I didn't hate looking at it, but I loved how Jolicloud looks as soon as I saw it.
  • Jolicloud's menu is HTML5 ready, which means it can have little HTML5 applets. MAKE WAY FOR THE FUTURE.
So there are a ton of things that I really love that make up for the small annoyances. There's only one real thing I've not been super impressed with Ubuntu or Jolicloud: Battery life. Ubuntu was definitely less efficient than Windows XP when it comes to battery, and I'm trying to see where Jolicloud fits. I'm pretty sure it's not as good as Windows, but I'm hoping it's better than Ubuntu.

By the way, I've gotta say, what makes Jolicloud better than Ubuntu? That kind of goes for all netbook remixes. What makes Jolicloud, EasyPeasy, or UNR better for netbooks than Ubuntu? Is it just the apps that are installed, or is it the kernel, or what? I dunno, I'm tired, it's late, I'm literally running on 2 or 3 energy drinks. Maybe I'm saying stupid things.

Anyway, I'll probably update more as it comes along, but for being pre-beta, I love Jolicloud. I expect nothing short of amazingness as it grows.

Long live the Jolicloud
-Bry

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