Sunday, March 13, 2011

Distro Hoppin`: Joli OS 1.2

Aaah... what a fine day for a relaxing distro hoppin`, I thought to myself. Little did I know, this wasn’t going to be a regular, down to earth, good old fashioned OS. No, no, it’s time to put on your Amelia Earhart glasses and grab your pilot leather jacket, as we’re heading for the clouuuuds.

I’m sure most of you heard of Jolicloud, the Ubuntu-based, cloud-residing operating system that took the netbooks by storm. As I don’t own such a device, I didn’t get around to test it properly. But, following the enthusiasm with which the previous release was received by critics, I promised myself that I shall take a look at it. Procrastination prevailed once again, but no more! Joli OS 1.2 (yep, name change! - better differentiation between the web app and the distro) was released a few days ago so here I am, sharing my thoughts on it.

Weighing in at an average ~700 MBs, the download doesn’t take that long and a 1 GB thumb drive or a CD will fit it just right. Firing up the live environment isn’t lightning fast, but it gets there in about 3-4 coffee sips, after which everything is snappy. The installation doesn’t yield any surprises and, in no time, you get to the beautiful slideshow, covering some of Joli’s main features. Less than 10 minutes later, a reboot is in order to fully activate the Joli experience.

The NVIDIA drivers were automatically installed and configured during the first boot, so thumbs up for that, Joli team! Also, whoever designed the Plymouth animation deserves some kind of award. :D Before getting to the “cloudtop”, you will have to provide your login information, be it a previously created Jolicloud user or your Facebook credentials. If you have neither of these, you can easily create a new account from the same window. Once that is complete you will need to provide some info about the machine you’re using Joli OS on - netbook, desktop, etc. I chose desktop and was asked to provide the brand of my computer. As this is a custom build, I had to choose other and type something in the info box, as I couldn’t proceed without some input. A bit annoying, but totally understandable, as this will help the team figure out their main audience and other relevant information.

The desktop loads to impress you with a tablet/touchscreen-like interface that is not only very sexy but also unexpectedly functional on a desktop computer. At the very top, there’s a thin black bar that hosts the Jolicloud logo for quick desktop access (also activated by pressing the “Super (Windows)” key), followed by an icons-only application switcher and, finally, at the right hand side, notification area plus volume control and clock.