Monday, August 09, 2010

Jolicloud 1.0

My wife and I both have EeePC 900 netbooks in addition to our main computers.  Being a geek, I was not happy with the version of Linux that came with the netbooks--it worked OK, but it appeared that little effort was spent on keeping things up to date.  The versions of applications used were old, particularly Firefox.

I went through a handful of netbook-specific versions of Linux.  The Eee 900 series has slightly odd audio hardware, and needs a modified kernel to get sound working just right.   I was also hoping to find a version that could do Skype video cleanly.  I finally settled on on Jolicloud beta. Jolicloud was meant to be a "cloud" based system--rather than relying on local data storage, it is meant to be on the web for almost all use.  Many of the official apps are slightly modified versions of web applications, with most of the browser controls removed.  Not perfect--the default method of installing applications was limited to apps that fit their philosophy, but since Jolicloud is a tweaked version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix, entering "sudo apt-get install synaptic" in a terminal gave me the full graphical installer from Ubuntu.

I was mostly satisfied--I had come to the conclusion that the hardware just wasn't strong enough to do Skype with video, but other than everything worked fairly well.

Unfortunately, the "upgrade" from the 0.9 beta to 1.0 was not an improvement.   Power management no longer worked, the interface was drastically different, many applications that I had installed had been removed, and the Chromium browser would not remember changed settings.  It also refuses to log in without a network connection.  I did a bit of checking on the internet, and found that this was by design.

So rather than fight with Jolicloud, I went back to Easy Peasy. I've got the Eee with a separate drive for my home folder--this means that while I have to reinstall some apps, I do not have to configure them.  For example, installing Pidgin then launching it automatically logs me on to the IM networks I had set up before.

In my view, there should not be major changes when going to a "stable" version--too much of a chance of introducing bugs that won't be caught.  It is also a bit of bait-and-switch for those who went through the beta versions and expected something similar in the stable.

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