Netbooks are capable of running regular operating systems, but I’ve recommended time and time again that users find an alternative netbook OS to get the most they can out of their systems.
To that end, four netbook operating systems worth checking out, and mentioned that Moblin had merged with Maemo and been rebranded “MeeGo.”. I was impressed, but stated it’s not quite ready for prime time. More recently I wrote about
Well, MeeGo 1.0 is now available for download, and while the merger has slowed development a little, I must say I’m impressed with this operating system (although I’m still not sure it’s ready for prime time.)
Boot up MeeGo and you’ll be impressed with the boot time, a very similar experience to Moblin. In fact, if you used Moblin, you’ll find almost everything about Moblin familiar, even if the branding is a touch different. The taskbar is the same and features most of the same buttons (albeit with more colours) and the first thing you see when the operating system starts is the “MyZone” which combines your calendar with your recent documents and posts from your friends on Twitter.
Unlike last time, however, it’s now possible to set up Google Calendar to work here. Joy!
Browser: Google Chrome
I mentioned in my Moblin review that the system came with a Mozilla-compatible Moblin-branded browser, and that it was amazingly fast. Since that time Google’s Chrome has made tremendous strides on Linux, and is also blazing fast. It’s probably for these reasons that Chrome is the default browser in MeeGo.
If you don’t like Google-branded products in your Linux operating system you can opt to download the open-source Chromium version of MeeGo when you download the operating system.
Music Player: Banshee
The Moblin media player was a weak point of the system, in my opinion. It’s gone in MeeGo, replaced with the fantastic Banshee media player. Capable of becoming a library for your music and video, Banshee fits into the MeeGo operating system perfectly.
The down side, of course, is that MeeGo does not at this time support proprietary media formats, so my MP3 collection don’t play back at all. And as far as I can tell I need to compile these codecs myself in order to use them (though if someone can correct me on this in the comments I’d be really grateful.)
There are a few other changes to Moblin worth mentioning here. My favorite is the new page that comes up when you click the clock:
As you can see this screen is split into three columns: the time in other time zone, my schedule for the day and my current tasks. This is a really efficient use of the space.
Another key change is the “devices” button on the main bar. It features information about all the storage devices connected to the drive. If I click “Import Data” Banshee will import all music and video from that device. Neat, huh?
MeeGo’s really coming together as an alternative Netbook OS. Sure, there are quirks””I couldn’t get the Twitter integration working for the life of me””but overall the system is very polished and, most importantly, fast. If you’re finding other netbook system disappoint you try this one out just to see what’s possible. Even if you don’t find the system ready for you it will give you something to be excited about.
What do you think? Is MeeGo an improvement over Moblin, or is it pretty much the same? Do you think this system has potential for netbooks, or are you happy with another system? Sharing in the comments below won’t necessarily help you impress the opposite sex, but it might.