JoliCloud, A new Linux Distribution aimed at the Netbooks we use, and shooting for the Cloud. Leveraging the Cloud based apps around us. Right now they are in public alpha, but my initial reaction is that if this is Alpha, the Gold is gonna rock.
The literature, etc, from the site, leads me to believe that the creators of JoliCloud Linux, "get it" when it comes to Cloud Computing, and they are committed to aiming at the concept of , always on, always available computing. They are IMHO right. You don't need to worry about syncing 4 or 5 copies of a single data/app/configuration set when you only have 2, current and backup. (You do, do backups of critical data don't you?) You just need that all important way to reliably access it inside the cloud.
Initial look, yielded an "Oh God not another version of Ubuntu" However despite this initial encumbrance it is starting to rock. Just so you know I've run easypeasy, Ubuntu-NetMix, Fedora 11, Debian, Xandros, Kubuntu, Puppee, Slitaz, EEbuntu, Elive, and Mandriva on this so far. So I'm no stranger to the needs of my little Netbook Antique. (An EeePC 701 4G) Configuration of the hardware is pretty stock except for two additions.
1. Two Gigs of ram
2. I run my home dir off of the SD card rather than the internal flash. (much nicer to have a bit of data storage that is my real home not a dos based dir hanging off of the root dir. )This allows me to have executable scripts etc. Just like a 'real' Linux box does. ;)
OK, The installer is casper. 'Buntu's standard live CD tool set. They have you download a tool to flash a USB device to boot the OS for the install. The tool works well enough however if you don't want to use it you can use Unetbootin or the ever present dd to create the disk image on your USB device. They were also kind enough to supply tools for use from OSX and the Windows cacophony. (So that the digitally deprived don't feel bad.) That part went on without a hitch (I tried all 3 methods to create the install key. They worked for me.)
Let the install begin. From the get-go if you've done a *buntu install then it will look and feel very familiar. A lot like hunting rabbits with Elmer Fudd. You know what's going to happen but you still can't resist the urge to follow along. Once it booted all hardware was (as expected) recognized, configure wpa and boom, you are off and running. Ok live CD up so now to take a look around. (The install is pretty standard for any other child of the *buntu, so I won't cover it. Suffice it to say that if you can install *buntu, this will work for you too.)
Initially when you login, you are presented with nothing more than the familiar *buntu netbook UI. But click on the Jolicloud icon and that is where the magic begins. You login to the JoliCloud application (not site, but an honest to god webapp.) and you are greated by an extrodinarily slick UI. Responsive as heck. (Considering that I'm on a first gen EeePC and running a Celeron) and it fit's the screen size like a glove. No left-right scrolling, no playing wheres the OK button. it's all there without feeling cramped.
The Joli Cloud Catalog.
This presents you with an array of cloud and local apps that can be installed to enhance your web experience. Cover everything from Social (Facebook and Twitter) to Business (Zoho word processing Gmail and GCalendar) to Personal need (Google Reader, Medial Players etc.) One click poof it's installed and available to you, Not only on this Netbook but on any other JoliCloud enabled Netbook you login to. I haven't tried that aspect out, I've only one system with it installed so far, but you never know.
Next, thing you notice, No Synaptic. Apt is still there for the Debianites, but synaptic is not part of it. Why? Well because the installer is a part of the webapp. It allows you to be able to maintain that all important security aspect of keeping up with security based upgrades, without opening a new screen just click on the dashboard tab.
The JoliCloud Update Tab
Can't IMHO get much more straight forward than this is. For those who ask, yes, it does separate out security updates from the run of the mill application updates. Enabling you to just do secrity upgrades if that is what will fit you best. It also prioritizes when you are doing a full, update them all, update and does the security first. Nice touch I think.
But a Cloud OS really wouldn't be in the Cloud if it didn't include Social interaction, and JoliCloud seems to have it in spades. Check out the dashboard notification page.
Ok yes the "example' page is a bit lame. But what it does for you is allow you to keep online and in contact without the constant in your face world of IM clients etc.
Over all, and especially for an Alpha release it's stable enough to start using and beating up on. It lacks, at least from my viewpoint a proper bug tracking methodology for consumer bug reporting, but it is heavy as heck with ways for you to contact the JoliCloud team (Twitter, Facebook, IRC etc)
- Usability = 4 out of 5 stars (no one gets 5)
- UI =3.5 out of 5
- Security = Judgement is still out as I'm learning it.
- App selection = 4.5 out of 5
- Ability to distiguish itself from other distro's around it = 4.5 out of 5
- Responsiveness =4 out of 5
- Chance of it staying on my box for a while = High
Like I noted in the title this is only day one. I'll most likely report more later but for now. I'm having fun.
Lead Mobile Internet Device market
Asianux Midinux 3.0 Early Access Program announced
July 14, 2009 – Asianux, the leading Linux operating system vendor, announced the Asianux Midinux 3.0 Early Access Program today.
Asianux Midinux 3.0 is a Moblin Compatible turn-key solution optimized for Intel? Atom™ processor. Asianux offers full commercial support for customers with Moblin-compliant pre-integrated and pre-validated 3rd party applications. Asianux and its members provide differentiated value-add service for customers. Working with open source and commercial applications, Asianux has built a rich open ecosystem for MIDs.
Asianux Midinux 3.0 Early Access Program offers OEMs, ODMs, IHV and ISV vendors an opportunity to access Asianux 3.0 latest beta OS build, schedule and supporting documents before product launch. By joining this program, partners will have better experience in evaluating and developing software solutions for their Moorestown-based MID products and an opportunity to get early feedback from their customers.
The Moblin 2.0-based Moorestown platform is Intel’s next generation MID platform designed to extend into Communication MIDs, which are expected to compete in the smart phone market segment. Moblin 2.0 software is designed to deliver a great PC-like Internet experience while supporting cell phone voice capabilities. Asianux Midinux 3.0 is fully compatible and optimized for Moblin 2.0 with Clutter-based 3D UI and applications ready to customize for any Moorestown-based MID as demonstrated at MWC's demo in Feb 09 in Barcelona, IDF’s demo in April in Beijing, Computex’s demo in June 09 in Taiwan. It is a one stop software solution for any Mobile Internet Device.
In addition to the voice and messaging function, Midinux 3.0 provides a set of revolutionary UI and more key applications.
The Home Screen of Midinux 3.0 leverages 3D graphics tech. Besides traditional function as an applications launcher, the main UI adds two more user modes: Media Center and Communication Center. Users can quickly start applications and personalize the widgets to meet their needs; easily browse all the photos, playback all music and video clips; record the recent and favorite contact items including the call, messaging, email, and IM log.
Midinux 3.0 also provides key applications with rich user experience and optimized UI for MID, including Browser, Music/Video/Photo, local/web search, .etc.
PC Sync tool is another highlight of Midinux 3.0. It is a MID and PC Suite that can synchronize the Contacts, Calendar, Task, Email, Book Mark between MID and PC. The tool also supports synchronization of MID users’ data’s backup and restoring, and the installation of software from the PC side.
Asianux has established itself as the OS of choice for the Mobile Internet Device category since 2006 serving Asia, Europe and America. As one of the leading members of Asianux, Red Flag has successfully shipped MID products from Lenovo, BenQ, Clarion, Gigabyte and SFR. These shipping MID devices range from information location-based, entertainment MIDs to communication MIDs.
To enroll in Asianux Midinux 3.0 Early Access Program, please contact ‘
Asianux co-development has started since December 2003 and released Asianux 2.0. China RedFlag, Japan Miracle Linux and Korea Haansoft develop and sell identical product with Asianux brand in China, Japan and Korea market. Asinaux is a completely new software business project from Asia based on the concept of “Common, “Collaboration” and “Contribution”. Asianux brings together the know-how and development staff from leading enterprises from all over Asia to establish and Asian standard Linux platform. VietSoftware also joined Asianux on September 5th, 2007 and has released Asianux Server 3. Asianux will contribute in the open source software development in Vietnam.
Hosted by the Linux Foundation, Moblin is an optimized open source Linux software stack and technology framework that delivers visually rich Internet and media experiences on Intel? Atom™ Processor-based devices including MIDs, netbooks/nettops, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), and embedded systems. More information can be found at www.moblin.org.
I recently purchased an ASUS N10J (please don't post a lot of flames about ASUS abandoning Linux, I am aware of it, I have written them a letter of protest and I am trying to get a refund of the "Microsoft Tax", but I got the N10J at half price, and it was just too good to pass up). It is a very nice netbook/notebook, despite the fact that it came preloaded with Windows Vistaster Business, which is so lame on it that it is basically unusable. So far I have installed the following on it:
- Ubuntu 9.04 - both the normal distribution and the Netbook Remix
- Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 3
- Moblin 2.0 Beta, 21 July distribution
- Fedora 11
- openSuSE 11.1
- Mandriva One 2009.1
All work very well (and of course all run circles around the pre-installed Vistaster), but there is one bit of quirkiness...
One of the things that makes the N10J so interesting is that although it is an Intel Atom N270 based system, with the associated Intel 945 chip set, it also includes an nVidia GeForce graphic display adapter, and has a switch on the side to enable and disable the nVidia. The idea is that you can enable the nVidia adapter when you need high performance graphics, and disable it when you want to save battery power.
Most of the distributions use the open source 'nv' driver for the nVidia by default. (The exception to this is Fedora 11, which uses the 'nouveau' driver by default.) However, there is no 3D support for the 'nv' driver, which makes the Ubuntu Netbook Remix disktop perform very poorly. When the mouse cursor is moved onto any of the desktop icons, it takes about 5 seconds before something happens, then another second or two for the icon to be highlighted and enlarged. Not nice. However, switch off the nVidia adapter, reboot, and the N10J comes up with the Intel graphic adapter, which has adequate 3D support, and the desktop performance is perfectly ok. Not the situation one would expect!
There is a simple solution to this problem - install the proprietary, binary-only drivers made available by nVidia. Once you have Ubuntu installed and updated, make sure that the nVidia adapter is enabled and then go to "System / Administration / Hardware Drivers". After looking around a bit, it should tell you that the proprietary driver is available, and you can activate it. Once that is complete, reboot and the UNR desktop performace will be excellent.
There is unfortunately a down side to installing this driver. It replaces some of the config files and libraries with nVidia-specific versions, which causes the Intel graphics not to work, so you will not be able to boot Ubuntu with the nVidia disabled. If being able to select between the two at will is important to you, it wouldn't be too difficult to figure out exactly which files are being modified or replaced, keep two copies of them, and install the appropriate copies on boot. I personally don't need to select between the two, so I haven't bothered doing that.
There will hopefully be another, perhaps better, alternative in the future, if and when the nouveau driver is available with 3D support. But I just checked their web page again, and it still explicity states that 3D support is preliminary, experimental, and not likely to function well if it all. If they do get that working, perhaps it will co-exist with other drivers somewhat better.
When installing Ubuntu (including Netbook Remix), if you have a lot of partitions on the disk, as I do for a variety of Linux installations, the disk partitioner window can be quite large. If you are installing on a netbook with limited screen resolution, such as the typical 1024x600, that window can be larger than the display area, and part of it will be off the right side. Unfortunately, it is that right edge of the window which contains the "Forward/Back" buttons you need to click.
To get around this problem, first, when installing Ubuntu on a netbook never choose the "Install Ubuntu...." option in the boot menu; this will bring up all windows full-screen, and you won't be able to move them around. Always choose "Try Ubuntu without changes...", and then start the installation from the desktop icon. Then, if you are installing the standard Ubuntu distribution, you can use Alt-Click-Drag to move the window when it is too large to fit on the display. But if you are installing the Netbook Remix, windows always come up full-screen by default, and thus can't be moved around. After you start the installation, you need to right-click on the title bar and choose "Unmaximize". You will then be able to use Alt-Click-Drag to move the window as necessary.
I wanted scp ... Care of an app called ConnectBot I've got ssh, but what I really wanted was the ability to securely move files onto my G1, from my G1, and perhaps off. Granted I could plug in the USB cable, but I don't always have a cable on me and I'm not always in the same building as the computer containing the file.
Requirements: G1 phone (duh!) running any rootable version of Android, Terminal Emulator and ConnectBot apps installed. It turn out that the only thing missing from being able to run the scp command is a copy of the ssh binary in /system/usr/bin. Using the following command sequence you can be up and scp'ing in no time, no reboot required.
$ su <-- gotta be root
# mount -o rw,remount /system
# cd /system/usr/bin
# ln -s /system/usr/xbin/ssh ssh
# mount -o ro,remount /system
Voila. You now can now scp files from or too, any system you have an account on, just as you would with your Linux desktop.
Few days ago I've heard about a Symbian port of Putty, obviously you alread know what putty is and what you can do with an SSH terminal emulator.
I think it's one of my favorite software pieces for Win32 machines, now there's a project aimed to port putty on Symbian OS machines, I've tried to install it into my samsung phone even if it's not supported or mentioned, results: clear, it doesn't work but the project seems promising.
At this url:
you can find S2Putty, it's a nice project and they've firstly released some code and ports at the beginning of the year, I'm now waiting other ports for Symbian based cell phones, I'll hope to get something for my platform too.
By now I'm getting control over my linux box by using a web browser (Opera for Symbian is absolutely outstanding) , few web services and php pages, but maybe an ssh client has more benefits and it's more useful for doing everything (and even more secure)
Take a look at the project, try to install in your phone if you're one of the lucky guys and drop me some notes so we can share impressions about it, I'm now trying to grab from someone a Nokia N95 and try to install there
OK, I've owned a G1 since day one. Bought it (loyal T-Mobile Customer) and I've enjoyed it totally. Nice part is, I've got an iPhone in the house thanks to my wife so I can compare. Both her 3G and my G1 are around the same age.
Reliability, Her iPhone has had to go back to the Apple store twice due to problems one got it replaced (internal error, infant mortality) and the second resulted in a full factory reset cause by an Apple supplied update.
In the reliability dept I've had the edge. Nothing has gone sideways. I've reloaded the OS yes, but by choice (I've rooted mine, I like to tinker) otherwise no complaints due to early death.
Battery life: Ok hands down. You have to buy a bigger battery, second battery, 2nd charger and a car charger. The G1 batter starts out under spec'd and goes to hell in a hand basket from there. I've upgraded to a 2400mah battery and unless I'm doing multiple hour long calls in one day, it's easy to go 1.5 to 2 days on a single charge.
Apps: In short the apps store rocks. I can read and edit .docs and spreadsheets. View Presentations and PDF's Keep up with E-mail and more. On top of that there is an ever increasing number of other apps and games. Not to forget the #1 game, Pacman.
For the Sys Admin side of my life the #1 app is ConnectBot. This is an SSH client with the ability to use ssh keys. A must have for sure. Nagios and Monit also have clients, and the browser does work well with MRTG and Munin. There are also tools for reseting/restarting Wake on LAN enabled boxes, a Terminal emulator, and finally some tools for checking if servers are alive.
In short when it comes to the app zone, no the G1 does not yet have the shear number that the iPhone does, but by golly it has all of the essentials and they work well. My phone has a good mix of free and pay apps and in general even without the infamous iPhone standards board the apps are really good. Heck the G1 even has flatulent apps.
G1 as phone: Here is where the G1 starts to fall down. The biggest problem stemming around the shear number of times you need to keep pressing buttons to keep the screen from dimming out during a call. Especially frustrating if you are using an IVR system. Instead of pushing 3 it's menu/menu/wait/3 (as they go into the second iteration of the the numbers.) over and over. Most of this is IMHO due to the fact that HTC knew they had skimped dramatically on battery and they are trying to the point of annoyance to keep from using it.
Additional problems when using it as a phone come in the way it interfaces with a BT headphone. Most phones allowed me to press once on the headphone to answer a call or to connect to voice dial. Unfortunately the G1 doesn't seem to accept either of these commands. This means I have to pickup the phone dial or to answer. A big hassle if you live in CA like I do. (Cops are looking for phone's in hand big time)
Data input: This is where the G1 shines. The thumb keyboard is well layed out, tactile feedback is great, most important is how they overlayed the keys from a 101 key keyboard onto a much smaller form factor without causing undue hassle in reaching the popular keys. Nokia's N series could take a real hint from the Android keyboard (on screen and slide out). You can even send long e-mails from the phone as long as you don't set it down. Seems that if the phone detects a pause while composing in the G-Mail app, it auto sends the mail (grrrr). Otherwise. I love this aspect.
Network: I live in the SF Bay area. For me everywhere I go except inside a Fry's I've got 3G. Speed is great. I'm able to watch a YouTube video with only the rarest of re-buffers happening. Syncs to mail etc happen quickly. When I went to Yosemite last year, yes out in the middle of no where in Northern Indiana I did lose the 3g but kept the net, slow but there.
So all in all would I buy a G1 again. Yes I would. I really love what it offers me. I love the FOSS features and the community. It really allows me to fit the phone to me. Ups are data input, feature set and form factor. Downs are phone related UI, and battery life. Overall I'd give the G1 a solid 7. On the other hand I would not want an HTC phone again.
The G1 is an excellent phone and I have yet to run into anyone who doesn't like it after they understand how to use it properly. One of the more challenging things to get accomplished when using the G1 and a Linux PC is transcoding video in such a way that it will play seamlessly. There are many tools available for Linux for transcoding video, but most are command line based and not very approachable for new users. Another issue is that most of the graphical tools don't support true D.264 Baseline out of the box, and can take hours of fiddling with settings to get workable video for the G1. I have yet to see any graphical transcoders specifically target this device, but it is possible to make a profile for for the G1 within Handbrake.
For those of you not familiar with HandBrake, it is a multiplatform transcoding application built ontop of the ffmpeg libary. Here is a breif description of HandBrake from their website: "HandBrake is an Open-Source, GPL-Licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded, video transcode available for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows"
If you are using Ubuntu 8.04 or later you can download the GUI package directly from the HandBrake download section of their website. Once the package has been downloaded to your desktop, double click it and follow the installers instructions. You will find HandBrake in your Applications menu under "Sound and Video". Once clicked you will be presented with this window:
You have a number of options you can change right from the get go. To begin we will just setup a basic video file for conversion with all the correct options selected so we can create a profile. Click on the "Source" button in the upper left side of the screen and choose a video to transcode. Once you are ready change the settings to look like this:
To change the videos size to the correct screen size for the G1 click on the preview box at the lower right. It will open a window were you can change the croping and aspect ratio of the video. Change your settings to look like this:
Once this has been completed you can close the window and then click on the "Video" tab. It is very important that you do not exceed 500kbps for your bitrate as the G1 will be unable to play the video. Go ahead and set the settings as follows:
Next choose the Audio/Subtitles tab and select the audio channel you want to use. Once you have chosen the appropriate channel change the remaining settings as depicted:
Lastly you need to configure the H.264 encoder. Click on the H.264 tab and copy and paste this set of encoding instructions into the "Manual Options String" section on the lower left:
Once completed the settings should look like this:
You are now ready to save these settings as a preset for HandBrake. You will notice on the right side of HandBrakes interface a section labeled "Presets" Click on the green plus button near the bottom to save these settings as a new preset. You will be presented with a window that will allow you to name and describe your new preset. Feel free to fill out your preferences as you wish, here is how I typically set mine up.
Now anytime you would like to encode videos for your G1 all you have to do is select the source video and click on the G1 Preset and click the start button. When the process is complete just copy the new file to the "Video" folder on your phone and open the video through the gallery.
Taipei, Taiwan, June 2, 2009 – Today, Red Flag, as one of the founding companies of Asianux, announced support of Moblin, an optimized open source Linux software stack and application framework, by committing to the development of a product based on the recently released Moblin version 2 for Intel® Atom™ processor-based platforms. Moblin version 2 provides the structure for Red Flag to incorporate robust Internet and media capabilities into its consumer Linux offerings. Red Flag announced future availability of Midinux 3.0 for MIDs and inMini2009 for netbooks. Both products will be based on Moblin version 2 and optimized for the Intel Atom processor.
Moblin version 2 is the latest from Moblin.org, an open source community that supports the creation and distribution of Linux-based operating system products for Intel Atom processor-based platforms, including mobile Internet devices (MIDs), netbooks, nettops, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and embedded systems. One of the key new features of Moblin version 2 is an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface that was built for advanced Internet, media and social networking experiences.
Red Flag has achieved amazing performance in 2008 in China with Lenovo Ideapad U8 and Aigo P8860, in Japan with the Sophia PEARTREE platform and in Italy with the BenQ S6, all of which are based on the Moblin project running on the Intel Atom processor.
Moblin version 2 will help Red Flag bring compelling platforms to the broader MID market, enabling exciting new embedded markets like In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI).
“Midinux 2.0 was adopted by a number of MID customers and has done very well in the marketplace”, Dong Jia, Red Flag President & CEO, said; “Moblin version 2 will make Red Flag deliver more easily the best high-performance OS to our clients.”
Intel launched Moblin in June 2007 and incubated the project until April 2009 when the Linux Foundation became the host of the community. Intel continues to contribute key technologies and work with the developer community to advance the effort.
“Red Flag has been a pioneer in bringing Open Source solutions to the emerging Intel® Atom™ processor-based MID market,” said Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel’s Software and Services Group and general manager of the System Software Division. “Red Flag’s support of Moblin version 2 in its upcoming product offerings will allow them to deliver unparalleled Internet, media and social networking experiences for Intel Atom processor-based MID devices and the emerging IVI market.
About Red Flag
Red Flag Software Co., Ltd. is the largest and most rapidly developed Linux vendor in China. By providing high-quality Linux-related products and services, Red Flag Software brings a new computing experience to customers, helps enterprise to stay ahead of the competition, and transforms the Linux technologies and the spirit of open source into the business value of customers. For more information, visit www.redflag-linux.com.
Hosted by the Linux Foundation, Moblin is an optimized open source Linux software stack and technology framework that delivers visually rich Internet and media experiences on Intel® Atom™ Processor-based devices including MIDs, netbooks/nettops, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), and embedded systems. More information can be found at www.moblin.org.
Ubuntu and Moblin - Fascinating!
I just read this morning an article about a one-time Ubuntu Moblin remix for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala release in October. That would be, as Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating!".
The Moblin project initiated by Intel and now supported by the Linux Foundation just recently released the Moblin 2.0 beta. I tried it out myself, and the experience was way to cool for a computer/netbook. It felt like I am in a parallel universe (out of this world). However, Ubuntu was not the base OS for Moblin 2.0. How I wished before that it was the case.
And now I have the answer. The Ubuntu Moblin remix will allow users to experiment on the use of the Moblin interface with Ubuntu. And the Moblin project to be made available as a package for release in Karmic.
If the Moblin interface is made as a regular interface option for netbook in the future releases of Ubuntu, then I would be a happy netbook user. A netbook is different from a laptop, and having the power of Ubuntu using a cool interface like Moblin would be a nice refreshing experience. May it live long and prosper! XD
This article is originally written at the author's personal blogsite at http://practicalswitchtoubuntu.blogspot.com/.
Security vendor Kaspersky Labs found malware on new Windows XP netbook, just out from the factory. The firm is warning users to take extra precautions, and ensure virgin systems are malware free before connecting them to the Internet.
If You is owner a netbook - be attention ...