Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

Thoughts on gOS

Google OS LogoI was ecstatic to find a new Linux flavor on Linuxtracker . While some people are fazed by having a Linux distro compiled with the idea of their web apps (docs, youtube, gmail, blogger etc) at the helm of the OS, I was curious as to how the gOS would fare with Ubuntu, it’s mother distro and several of the more popular ones like Fedora, Gentoo and Freespire.

Here’s a few screenshots:

Boot CD

Here’s how the Enlightenment Desktop Environment looks:

Boot CD

Boot CD

Boot CD

Notice the Google Search Bar on the upper left? It’s a quick way access the Google Search Engine but it opens in Webrunner, not Firefox so if you have to do some browsing, you have to click the FF icon on the Dock below.

Looking at the other icons on the Dock (or iBar) you’ll not that more than half of these are web applications and/or services (blogger, youtube, facebook, meebo etc). While I support trimming services and bundled applications down, I think the gOS team overdid things by removing several items that powerusers are likely to use. On the bright side, the gOS is a light distro which makes it a perfect partner to low spec’d computers and laptops and even the gPC.

The only qualm I have on the desktop is that it’s multi-desktop support seems a bit lacking. You can easily configure the gOS for multiple desktops but once I started switching screens, they began to overlap so you couldn’t tell which desktop is holding which.

Overall though, I think it’s the most minimalist Ubuntu distro so far. It’s not bloated in terms of included applications, only what you need for basic computing needs. The front end focus on web apps makes it a good choice for thin clients and people who want to work on their own build of Ubuntu without going back to the original Debian distro.

If you’re interested in what applications google has bundled in, here’s a list:

  • FF
  • Pidgin
  • Skype
  • GIMP
  • Open Office
  • Rhythmbox
  • Xine
  • GnomeBaker

If you want to test out the Enlightenment Desktop without booting into the gOS LiveCD, simply download it via Synaptic or whichever package manager you are using, log out and use Enlightenment in your login session.

The only drawback I’ve experienced in using gOS is the default file manager. When you launch multimedia files, say a video, Xine launches but doesn’t play. The file isn’t even loaded into it’s current playlist so you have to use the Open File function of the application. It’s not much of a hassle but I suggest installing a more functional file manager like Dolphin.

EDIT: Thanks for the correction

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