Jolicloud – A Linux Distribution for Netbooks
This review of Jolicloud details my experience in running this Linux distribution on my Samsung NC 10 notebook.
I am typing this in JoliCloud. It is a netbook centric OS based on Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope. My search for a good operating system to run on a netbook started when I got a Samsung NC 10 netbook.
My Samsung NC 10 netbook came pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP. I erased the OS and installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix Karmic Koala on it. However, I soon found out that Karmic Koala was not ready for normal use as I was getting a
mountall error during boot time – which incidentally, is a well documented bug in launchpad.
I soon removed Karmic Koala and started trying out various other Linux distributions on my laptop. But in each case, I was faced with either a slow system, an error during boot time, or other incompatibilities.
It was by chance that I stumbled upon JoliCloud website.
JoliCloud is a Linux operating system optimized for cloud computing. It is based on Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix a.k.a Jaunty Jackalope and inherits Jaunty Jackalope’s rock solid stability and versatile features.
This review of JoliCloud details my experiences in running this Linux distribution on my Samsung NC10 netbook.
Installation of JoliCloud on Samsung NC 10 Netbook
Jolicloud is available as a live CD ISO (of around 600 MB size). I downloaded the ISO image from their website, burned it on a CD and booted my Samsung NC10 netbook using the live CD. If you do not have a USB CD/DVD drive, Jolicloud also provides a USB creator which can be used to burn the ISO on to a USB pen drive which can then be used to boot your netbook.
The installer is essentially the same installer found in Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope. In a few steps, I was able to install Jolicloud on my netbook sharing space with Windows 7.
Jolicloud is essentially a spruced up version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix. However, what I really like about Jolicloud is that it has nearly every thing that a netbook user needs. It automatically detected every in-built interface on my Samsung NC10.
The function keys of the netbook for battery power indication, volume control, and brightness control works flawlessly.
WiFi and direct Internet connection works out of the box.
It took only 14 seconds for Jolicloud to boot to the login screen on my Samsung NC10 netbook having 1 GB RAM.
The first time you log into Jolicloud, it prompts you to create a Jolicloud account. This account gives you access to your personal Jolicloud dashboard where you are able to easily update and upgrade the OS and applications at the click of a button.
When ever new versions of software or security fixes are released, it is reflected in your Jolicloud account dashboard and you can choose to update or install them.
The Firefox web browser bundled with Jolicloud contains all the media plugins installed by default as seen in the following screenshot.
After logging into your Jolicloud account, if you navigate to Settings > Computers, you can see a list of computers you have installed and used Jolicloud.
Jolicloud Applications Directory
Jolicloud account provides access to the applications directory which contain hundreds of well choosen, hand picked applications – both native and web based – which you can install or update with ease. The web based apps are essentially Prism Webapps. But these web apps are vetted for relevance and divided into different categories which makes it easy to find and install.
Jolicloud doesn’t come with OpenOffice.org installed by default. However, you can install it in from the apps directory in your Jolicloud account with the click of a button. And because Jolicloud is based on Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope, you get to install all the software from the Ubuntu repositories using the traditional apt-get or Synaptic method as well.
My Software Recommendations
After I logged into the newly installed Jolicloud OS on my netbook, I installed the following software which I feel are invaluable on a netbook.
- Gnome Do – Allows you to quickly search for many items present on your desktop or the web, and perform useful actions on those items.
- PyRoom – Is a free editor that keeps distractions at bay. As a fullscreen editor without buttons, widgets, formatting options, menus and with only the minimum of required dialog windows, it doesn’t have any distractions and lets you focus on writing and only writing.
- GIMP – It is a graphics suite which can be used for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
- Abiword – A word processor with a low memory footprint but high on features.
- Cheese Webcam booth – A software that uses your webcam to take photos and videos, applies fancy special effects and lets you share the fun with others.
I also installed a number of Web apps like Evernote, Gmail, Google Reader and so on.
Jolicloud supports a large number of netbooks. The full list contains netbooks from popular laptop manufacturers such as Acer (Aspire One), ASUS (Eee PC), Compaq, Dell (Mini), HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba just to name a few.
Here is a quote from the Jolicloud website -
Jolicloud is now compatible with almost every netbook. With our recent announcement on the GMA500 support, we think we did quite a good job in enabling 98% of netbooks with out-of-the-box compatibility (only some netbooks running VIA C7M or using the old AMD GEODE are still a bit slow or do not have optimal graphic support. We don’t loose hope of seeing these models gaining faster and better support in the future).
Not surprisingly, on my Samsung NC 10 notebook, JoliCloud works flawlessly. There were no errors whatsoever. All the interfaces of the laptop were detected properly. Even the sound recorder which doesn’t work in Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope works in Jolicloud.
In fact, if you own a Samsung NC 10 notebook, I strongly recommend that you give Jolicloud a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Jolicloud is no doubt turning out to be one very good Netbook centric OS.