Always the one looking for a new alternative to [fucking cock shit ass] Windows, the wide variety of Linux distributions allow never-ending possibilities. Most recent, and noted on WebbAlert and Digg, is gOS. Built on the core of Ubuntu 7.10, it fits my ultra-minimalistic / online-centric mentality. I’ve already started to migrate most of my work online and away from the ‘download and install’ routine most of us are stuck in.
The most obvious feature is the addition of a ‘dock’ on the bottom of the screen, that vaguely resembles the infamous dock found in OSX. It has very limited functionality, compared to the Apple dock; but serves as a useful ‘starting point’ for common online portals. As you can see from the screen shot on the right (taken from their front page), there are shortcuts for gMail, Meebo, Blogger, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Google Docs. Having quick access to online social and productivity tools makes this an incredibly simple and straightforward tool. There was, however, the minor omission of my favorite Google product – Reader. Rss feeds are something that can cause seizures if I can’t get a daily fix. However, an edit of the already placed icon of Google News now brings up Google Reader on my current install.
Their distribution is currently in release 1.01 and is noted on their site as being an ‘alpha build’. With that said, it seems pretty solid. The installation process was as simple as any other Ubuntu installation. You can install applications from the synaptic package manager, customize your desktop, perform updates with ease, and do a quick Google search from the enlarged bar on the top right of the screen.
The only problems that I must note is that the Google search on the top right has a few aesthetic issues if you play around with it too much; and given that the entire online experience is based around the Firefox browser, the Google Search pops up a non-Firefox window without the typical back, forward, stop, and reload buttons. The more major issues, however, were that pop up dialog boxes would appear behind the main window you were working on without warning – causing the inability to close the window without any explanation why. It wasn’t until you move the window or minimize it out of the way could you close the box and continue on your way with your application. Given that it’s an ‘alpha release’, you can forgive the typical flaws. Lastly, MP3 and DVD playback aren’t included in the release that may be downloaded from their site – for obvious reasons.
This is a great Linux release and I love the minimalistic layout, lack of customizations, and online productivity tools that this distribution promotes. Once they fix the flaws and come out with a more stable release, the support will trickle in, and the popularity can only grow larger. I would recommend this to anyone that spends their life online, doesn’t want viruses and other problems that are associated with Windows, or wants to make use of an old computer that has been wasting away in the garage.