Monday, May 24, 2010

Moblin: the future past of netbooks?

You might know I've been on a long quest for the "perfect" OS for my netbook. So far, I've found that "full" systems like Windows XP or Ubuntu are just too hefty for a netbook and even distros like Jolicloud, which is based on Ubuntu but supposed to be simpler, are still even too "complicated" for what I wanted to do.

The idea of simplicity really first occurred to me when I came across a Deviant Art submission about a UI design for Linux. It was so incredibly basic, yet everything was there. You could launch your internet browser, your IM client and everything, and all your basic computer info was right next to you whenever you needed it. It really got me thinking, why should I expect my netbook to be a desktop? What if, instead, I got a distro that was ultra slim and could zoom around at high speeds, 'limited' possibly, but fast and good at what it does?

Anyway, very short story long, I just yesterday stumbled across a distro called "Moblin", which I hope to be everything I wanted. It's oh so extremely basic but can do everything I need, and it's designed for mobile devices such as netbooks. I'm actually posting this blog post from it right now on my EEE 901 from a Mozilla-based browser. It looks good (a heck of alot better than the normal GNOME), everything works right off the bat (except the battery doesn't think I have a battery installed, and the multitouch), and I'm excited.

Bad news, it's been discontinued. Yeah, Intel (I believe) were the ones making it, and they actually fused it with one of Nokia's projects to form Meego, a new OS. Unfortunately, Meego is still in the works and Moblin is still cancled so it may be a while before I can get my hands on a final version of Meego. Plus, they might go and make Meego cost money, and I won't have that.

But Moblin might be fine. Honestly, the whole "actively updated" thing seems a tad overrated to me, at least for OSes. If it works, great. I'm not going to stress that they're not constantly putting out little updates like Jolicloud or putting out huge updates every six months like Ubuntu.

The only thing I need to worry about is install size. Moblin has a wonderful little deal where you can pick what you want in the install which is great. But if it runs up to 4GB again like Ubuntu and Jolicloud before it, I'm going to start losing hope.

The last thing I guess I should consider is Ubuntu Moblin Remix. Honestly, I'm not a gigantic fan of Ubuntu, and I'm not sure how I feel about them taking Moblin and running with it. I think I'll have to try both out for a few days and decide.

Anyway, exciting stuff.

[UPDATE 5-27-10] I must have amazing timing because MeeGo v1.0 was just released yesterday (the 26th), so HECK YES! I haven't even had a chance to try it, I just randomly went there tonight and saw that 1.0 was out. I'm going to download and try it ASAP, and then probably install it after that, assuming I love it as much as Moblin. And hopefully it will fit under 4GB, with more than 200MB to spare like Jolicloud, currently.

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