Thursday, September 25, 2008

GOS 3 on a EEE pc 901

I am environment friendly, I am a botanist and probably that's the reason why I love Green. GOS a.k.a Green OS, Good OS or Google OS has always attracted me because of its aesthetics and more importantly the dominance of green (Opensuse being its alter ego). I am a fan of the environmental friendly Asus EEE pc which consumes less power and seemingly helps reduce global warming. Asus has done a great job in introducing a tiny, yet cheap laptop that would shape computing in the years to come. It would be a good combination for GOS and EEE to work together in delivering a great computing experience. So I set out to test my hypothesis by installing GOS on my new EEE 901.

Gos 3 Gadgets was released yesterday, I downloaded and installed it using a USB stick, thanks to Unetbootin. I installed GOS into the 4 GB SSD in the EEE with 600 mb for swap and the rest for / .Sound worked out of the box, and to my surprise the screen resolution of 1024 X 600 was set automatically. But as expected both wired and wireless did not work. The quick fix was to download and install the kernel from using a USB stick. When I rebooted into the custom array EEE kernel both lan and wlan were working fine and I could go immediately online with my 64 bit WEP encrypted home wifi. I added the array repository and gpg keys and updated the system. The special Fn keys for brigtness control worked but the audio control keys did not work.

After updates, i was able to boot from grub screen to desktop in 50 seconds which is impressive. GOS looked pleasing and a joy to use. The use of Google gadets added to the coolness and functionality of GOS. I interchanged the awkwardly placed right shift key and end key to the up and down arrow keys using the script from here. I installed maximus to make use of more space from this here. I did not install the full netbook remix , but only maximus, so that I could claim more space from the tiny laptop screen. The lack of close buttons on the tabs in the panel was bit difficult to close a window (I used right-click and close), but it is a worthy tradeoff for getting more screen space. I wish future editions of GOS will use maximus by default.

Though I am an ardent KDE user, but gnome based GOS still attracts me. It took only a meagre 2.5 GB of disk space so the 4GB SSD in EEE 901 is enough to hold the fully functional OS. I liked the MacOSX like dock which is very attractive and also useful. I prefer the neat dock to the Ubuntu NBR's UME launcher, which looks kind of cluttered all over the desktop. With the use of Mozilla Prism applications like Gmail, Google Docs and Youtube get more space. With Prism the navigation bar and and location bar are gone and whatever inside the window is just the web application (see screenshot below).

Rhythmbox is the default audio player and Totem is the video player. Openoffice is very snappy and it took only an impressive 5.11 seconds to cold start and open an excel file. The system in general is fast and responsive. Adobe Flash was not enabled by default and so were the codecs to play proprietary media formats. But being Ubuntu based, it would be easy for even a newbie to get Flash and other codecs running.


GOS 3 is truly an impressive OS for netbooks. The choice of cloud applications is very good. Though I tried both Ubuntu-eee and EEEbuntu, I prefer GOS for its neat interface. The look and feel is somewhat mimics OSX the use of Prism improves usability in netbooks. Being Ubuntu based, it is easy to get support and the latest packages with the goodness of apt-get. Ubuntu's interface has deterred me from using it, but I love GOS which is an attractively dressed Ubuntu. Overall I liked GOS 3 very much and I plan to keep using it as the main OS in this EEE.


Looks : 9/10
Functionality : 8/10
Installed packages : 8/10
Ease of Use : 7/ 10

Overall : 8/ 10

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google chrome - first thoughts and gripes

The first thing I did today morning was to download Google chrome. Of course the saddest part is that I had to download it my home XP PC. Then I came to office and installed it in my Vista laptop. I have to tell that Chrome is amazing. Google really has the best ideas and they implement it. I think many of you will be feeling the same. They have deviced it to make use of most of the screen real estate. Its really good because modern day laptops have widescreen and not to mention those tiny weeny netbooks. This will be a sure success in the netbooks.Youtube worked out of the box if Flash is enabled (unlike Arora browser). The download bar is amazing on how it downloads a file and you can open by a click within the brower. So once this browser is open the whole beneath it OS goes out of sight. The incognito mode is good that it does not save each and every link you visit. This browser is only in state and imagine how good it will be once it evolves. Once again Google has proved itself, that is has a great sense of being sensible. 

The major gripe I have over Google is, why doesn't it in support Linux platform on the first day of its release. Its senseless to release a open source browser on a propreitary platform. Netbooks which will need this application run on Linux platform. Its a sad thing to say that I am forced to use Windows Vista or Windows XP with SP2 to install Google chrome. Shouldn't Google with so many brilliant brains show better team work to develop and release the browser on the rapidly growing Linux desktop market. So again Google (like Picasa and Google Gears) let down us Linux users.