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News

Jolicloud thoughts

The Jolicloud netbook operating system promises so much and it’s highly likely that its developers will deliver. It already has a well thought out desktop and some nice applications…

The Jolicloud team believe that a movement that will change the computer industry forever has begun. Computers are not expensive and operating systems are free and software is online for download. This is the something that Jolicloud dreamed of when they discovered computers and the internet Which is why they wanted to build an operating system around a platform that gives everyone the opportunity to be part of this movement and gain access to a whole range of possibilities which haven’t existed before. Jolicloud combines the two driving forces of the modern computing industry: open source and the open web.

The desktop is well thought out with some very nice applications, all of which work well as long as you have an internet connection. There is a high-quality word processor and office suite, Zoho. This is an online office suite which is a lot like Google Docs. Choose whichever you prefer. Web applications such as Flickr and Facebook are to be seen on the same desktop alongside traditional applications such as Firefox and Pidgin. If you want to use Twitter or Google Maps, you just click on the application icon on your desktop in the way that you would with any other app. Jolicloud seems to have already accomplished those things which Google hopes to achieve with its upcoming Chrome operating system. Convergence is defined as an approach towards a defined value or a definite point or common view or opinion. Some years ago many of us discussed the internet and the prospect of convergence. This is to do with the fact that radio and TV programmes would all be available online as well as many other services. At that time the internet was much less sophisticated. In the present day we expect just about anything to be available on the mobile phone or desktop PC or laptop or television. On top of this, yet another paradigm shift has been introduced with the invention of the netbook: low-cost portable hardware that sells like hot cakes and mostly runs on GNU/Linux software. You can use it anywhere – it’s not quite as portable as the mobile phone but almost. As well as this, mobile phones like the Apple iPhone and those produced by other manufacturers have a similar design to the netbook desktop. Along with the ease of use, there is a continuity of design ideas across many hardware devices. This affects the way that we do things and our future and the further development of our civilisation.

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The webpages on the Jolicloud site are also well thought out and well designed. More information about Jolicloud and support can be found on the community page. While you are here you will also notice that you can contact the Jolicloud crowd through Facebook, Flickr or IRC. The online documentation is quite good, although not as good or extensive as the documentation you will find in mainline GNU/Linux distributions such as Fedora, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu.
Whilst some of this software is not secure, the average user will not understand such a concept. Most people who have not read a book about internet security will just get a netbook and use it. The same probably applies to Jolicloud. Not many people who use it can understand that it’s not a good idea, security wise, to use something like Facebook. With Jolicloud you can create your own jolly little environment and you can live within it or expand it or shrink it at will. Your desktop is your own to create, offering many jolly hours of computing and living in the cloud. Be careful though. From time to time it may be useful to see some daylight once again. Even the wisest koala knows that it’s a good idea to come down from the clouds in the top of the tree from time to time.

A great idea and applied well in time before Google finishes its Chrome operating system. This shows you what a few people can achieve with open source software tools if they put their minds to it. It remains to be seen how popular the finished version of Jolicloud will be, but so far many people have welcomed its approach to the use of the internet and the netbook.
Richard Ibbotson

This article originally appeared in issue 81 of Linux User & Developer magazine.
Back issues are still available here.

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