Moblin – the Netbook OS

ScreenshotI have been playing around with a new OS interface that is optimised for netbooks and specifically those running on the Intel Atom processor, which is most of them. Moblin has a simplistic and very appealing interface that quickly gives you access to all the functionality that you are likely to need from a Netbook. This means that web browsing, IM and Twitter are all quickly accessible from a menu bar at the top of the screen. Panels on the “home” page present information and quick links to other areas such as media.

It looks fantastic, as you can see from the screen grabs, but it is still clearly beta software and there were a number of occasions when I managed to crash the browser visiting Javascript intensive sites such as Google mail. Also the trackpad on my MSI Wind didn’t work Attaching a USB mouse sorted this though.

So why should you be bothered? Well from cold boot to usable state took just under 40 seconds – you can’t say that about Windows XP. And it is very focused on doing one job and doing it well. Providing access to the things that you are likely to want when out and about quickly and simply – this is likely to be pretty much anything browser based.

If there is a downside it is that if you are likely to want to do anything out of the ordinary then you immediately come across the usual problem with Linux based operating systems (Moblin is based around a Fedora distro) and that is you need a degree is command line tools to do anything.

I think that the likely scenario, for me at least, is that I would have this as a dual boot along with Windows. When I want to quickly access the web then I would boot into Moblin but when I want to do something more intensive then I would go to Windows. However, right now Moblin is not stable enough to commit to install onto the hard drive but it does look promising.

Have you tried Moblin?

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