Last month I got a chance to see what Intel and Nokia were up to.Forging their technologies together,The Moblin and the Maemo OS were combined into a single platform targeting Mobile users and Net books.Called MeeGo it has been doing the rounds for quite some time now on the cloud,and the early builds available look quite promising.
While I as going through the MeeGo website,I fortunately found the Lenovo Ideapad S10 to be under the Hardware compatability list.Being an opensource enthusiast I downloaded the Image on the same day and copied it into a thumbdrive.Since its a '.img" file we will need to use a thirdparty tool to push the image into the thumbdrive.More installation instructions here
[caption id="attachment_628" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="MeeGo's clean and no nonsense background"][/caption]
The boot took about 30 seconds to get into the desktop(While using it with the Live USB).The interface is intuitive and quite simplistic in my opinion.
Navigation must not be a problem since its almost analogous to tabbed browsing.What really interested me was the social media connect apps which come with the OS itself.Much like gwibber in Ubuntu(But quite responsive).It also has a new feature I have not seen on any other platform called "Myzone" .Basically it shows previews of all the social media connect updates Including web,twitter and IM in a single page.
The default my zone was empty when I first using the OS but things started showing up as I used twitter and the internet.Look how the default zone is in the beginning
After some social media tinkering It ends up something like this.Nice!
Another simple thing of MeeGo is the switching of applications .While most Linux geeks would love to use desktop composition and compiz to get a nice and eye candy app switching experience,MeeGo takes the simple way.How? It has another tab / feature called "zones".Its similar to the myzone feature I mentioned earlier but this once is used to switch between various apps.The default screen for Zones looks something like this
After you open multiple applications and want to make a switch just go to the zones tab to select/Open any apps which are running.Simple and easy to use!But if you still wanna how some fun for switching its not available yet but we do have compiz!! on the others at least.I opened an achieve manager,a contact list and an IM simultaneously and this is how it looks like
The applications which come bundled with the OS are not heavy weights either.Since it is targeting the Netbook and the mobile segment,you will find the most basic apps which will keep us running if we are an avid netbook user.There are Card games,IM,A media player(Banshee) and some basic system tools.In other words the app package collection is a stripped down version of what we get in a standard ubuntu setup.There is no Gimp or a Productivity application like Open office(Both of them are available in the most basic Linux distros I have seen).But considering the environment for which the OS has been designed it is prudent that MeeGo doesnt have the biggies in it(Installed by default)
Internet Experience :
Using the Internet on MeeGo was no issue.It comes with the Chromium web browser.The one thing which also made me notice was the fast page rendering.Chrome works more or less the same for me in both Windows and ubuntu,but on MeeGo it was way too much snappy.Simply put Opening sites was like Zip Zap Vrooooommm!
[caption id="attachment_622" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Web experience on MeeGo"][/caption]
While I dont know the exact reason for it,I do believe that MeeGo has been optimised for certain platforms and we may see customized versions of MeeGo in the days ahead.Already Other Linux vendors are making their own versions of Meego,Novell's SuSE MeeGo as shown below
[caption id="attachment_623" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Novell's Version of MeeGo"][/caption]
I have not seen how devices work with the OS,but it seems plug and play works ok,excluding the case where my Toshiba external HDD was not getting detected.One more thing to mention is that the present form of MeeGo does not have support to Read/Write to NTFS partitions.But since it is still in the nascent stages we can expect better support as time progresses.
The integrated webcam was not working either with the bundled application cheese.I could successfully turn on the webcam using the same app on a Thinkpad X200 running on Ubuntu 10.04.Looks like I need to find an alternative.Also present in the menu system were some other options like network settings and bluetooth devices.
[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Network settings"][/caption]
While multimedia on this platform is not so perfect as I expected,the recent news of Cyberlink's announcement to support this platform is a boon in the making.It also looks like netbook makers have started releasing MeeGo based sytems. I am seriously thinking of switching to this light weight Social media centric OS.I like Social media and the cloud,so this is a good chance for me to use them to my best.Who knows I may switch from Ubuntu to MeeGo on my netbook in the future!But till then to all those Opensource guys-- try it if you have not!!