A look at MeeGo on a netbook
| by Rossi Fernandes
The operating system scene is bubbling with Windows 7 being the clear winner and early builds of Windows 8 being made available to public. In this chaos, there are a few other platforms based on Linux being designed specifically for small screen devices, such as tablets and netbooks. One of these talked about OS' is MeeGo. MeeGo was designed to be an operating system for mobile phones, tablets and netbooks. It has been around for a while in different forms. We reviewed the ASUS X101H, a netbook that comes bundled with MeeGo. There a couple of other netbooks by other manufacturers that come with MeeGo instead of the usual Windows 7.
Operating systems designed for netbooks aren’t a new phenomenon and there’s a ton happening on that front. Google, for example have their Chromebooks, which run a bare bone operating system with a variant of the Chrome browser. Dependence on web-based services is high. Google isn’t the only one to take this approach, there are other netbook operating systems, such as Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Jolicloud.
The main screen - high on social networking content
MeeGo’s popularity on the netbooks is slowly increasing, so it’s time we look to see how good or easy the experience is. We used the ASUS X101H that came preinstalled with the MeeGo operating system. You don’t need to buy a MeeGo netbook to experience it, though. If you have a netbook and want it to give it a run, head over to MeeGo’s site. There are disc images available for download. The latest stable build was version was 1.2.
The user interface is unique and different from most other operating systems designed for netbooks. The interface looks simple enough, and this particular build on the X101h has the Asus branding on it. Apart from that, the interface is identical to any other MeeGo build. Of course, mobile versions of MeeGo designed to run on ARM devices, such as the Nokia N900 have a different user interface.
As netbooks have limited resolution displays, workspace is also limited. The interface uses large colourful icons. While this might look pretty, it’s not the most efficient use of space. Smaller icons and text could’ve been better. There’s a chance of losing the elegance and simplicity of the design, though.
Calender and Tasks application for MeeGo
The top of the interface has a bar that contains key applications. The main screen is lined with social networking widgets for Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. The left panel has a list of applications and other modules that belong in a personal information manager software. For example, you can set appointments and maintain a list of tasks through the interface. You’re then taken to a separate application, which is isolated from the main user interface. Once the entries are made, they appear in the side menu. The same is the case with the appointments feature. The bulk of the applications that don’t show up in the top menu can be found under the Applications menu. Like on any other operating system, all of the applications are sorted. Most of the apps are Linux software that run in a full screen environment.
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