Jolicloud Might Be Killing It

I’m a tech- and gadget-phile, but I’m not really tech-savvy; I just want my shit to work. So when a generalized dislike of Microsoft and insufficient funds for a new Apple laptop combined to inspire me to get a netbook with the Ubuntu version of open-source operating system Linux pre-installed, I found myself drowning in system hang-ups, compatibility issues and other problems.

(If you understood less than 25 percent of that last sentence, don’t worry about it. I wouldn’t have either before this whole fiasco. Go read something else, today I’m recommending Florida Sportsman or anything by Vonnegut.)

It’s not that Linux is a bad alternative to Windows or OS X. It’s just that, to me, it seems designed more for die-hard computer lovers who like to tinker, customize and innovate endlessly. I don’t want to tinker, customize or innovate. I want to connect to my home’s wifi network, see images and videos on the websites I visit, hear sounds, and get my documents to look the way I want ’em, all of which were either hard or impossible to do via the version of Ubuntu that came installed on my Dell Mini 12, and various other versions of Linux that I tried. (To be fair, Dell screwed the pooch by using some obscure hardware that isn’t properly supported by Linux, then went ahead and put the software that didn’t support it on the damn machine.)

After a lot of frustration and alternative-seeking, I found a Linux-based, netbook-specific OS by a French company called Jolicloud, and so far, it’s turned out to be pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Sort of a cross between Linux and the emerging Internet-based operating systems that keep everything in an online “cloud,” Jolicloud is basically Ubuntu For Idiots Like Me, people who don’t want Windows but also don’t want to have to go to the command-line terminal to get new applications or tweak instructions to make something work. The system is optimized specifically for a long list of netbooks, automatically installing the software and drivers that help your particular portable computer work best. It also has its own version of an app store, where you can click on supported applications you want and have them installed without having to navigate a synaptic package manager or open a behind-the-scenes terminal. (Again, if you just read “bleep bloop blip,” don’t worry about it.)

On the cloud/Internet end of things, Jolicloud is also optimized for social networking, and has its own sort of social network of system users and fans. But if you’re not down with Facebook and Twitter and all that crap, you don’t need to participate. The bottom line is, Jolicloud is a simple alternative netbook OS that boots quickly, is easy to learn and use, and works well on my Mini 12 when no other Linux version would without serious overhaulage. And after the hell I (and a couple of my more tech-savvy friends) went through trying to figure out what was wrong with my netbook, that’s plenty enough for me. So thanks, Jolicloud community.

CNET Jolicloud Preview, August ’09 (and the system’s come a long way since then)

13 thoughts on “Jolicloud Might Be Killing It

  1. Joey

    That’s great, man. I’m glad it finally worked out for you and that you’ve got it up and running. I won’t get started on Dell but at least you’re functioning again.

  2. David

    Another one makes the jump – I have Jolicloud on my EEE PC900 and absolutely love it. The only reason Windows is still on it is because of my girlfriend, she needs Windows.

  3. Travis

    I put Jolicloud on my Aspire One a few weeks ago and haven’t regretted it a bit. I don’t think I could justify buying another Apple product after my iPhone. Jolicloud is as close to a Mac as I’ve seen, in terms of design and simplicity, and it doesn’t carry the regret of spending that much on a brand.

  4. Andrew

    Well, I’m like you. Tried Mac OSx on a netbook. Complete misery. Didn’t want to go Win 7 and don’t like XP. Like you I also found Jolicloud after looking at Linux alternatives. Unlike you however I have found some issues when installing and using Jolicloud. It is after all an Alpha (Pre beta as they call it). This means it has bugs… It can corrupt disks on install. It can make a mess of your partition. After installation, yes it is nice but… It can a nd does crash. Don’t try installing any other pieces of software or drivers. Likely you will corrupt your installation. I did twice. Nice yes, perfect no 🙁 I am persisting. I love the ease of installation of software. Dislike the fact half of it is simply a copy of the web sites of web 2 products… I’d still give it a 7/10 but it needs serious work to be *the* contender…

  5. Zach

    I too was limited by funds and decided to purchase a ASUS eeePC 1201HA with Microsoft XP and being a long time Mac user I was in a hurry to get the plague that is Microsoft off of my computer. I started out with the Netbook Re-Mix of Ubuntu, but that wasn’t cutting because I was running into the same compatibility issues that were daunting Scott. So being adventurous I also found Jolicloud and booted it on my little toy and haven’t looked back since. Granted its only been 3 days, but they have been spectacular

  6. Andrew

    Well I’ve bit the bullet and put it on a second computer. A $180 desktop I made. It seems to run OK (although the machine is based on GMA945 chipset same as a lot of netbooks). It took two installs to get the harddisk booting. I have had continued problems with passwords and keyrings but there are some instructions on the support site that partly alleviate the problem. Now just to find some good software for it. Note that to get to the administrator settings to download and install some software not directly supported hit the windows key to bring up the full menu…

  7. yman

    “people who don’t want Windows but also don’t want to have to go to the command-line terminal to get new applications”
    “where you can click on supported applications you want and have them installed without having to navigate a synaptic package manager or open a behind-the-scenes terminal.”
    I haven’t tried Jolicloud, so I can’t compare the quality of the ‘App Stores’ but have you tried using the Ubuntu Software Center? Whoever sent you to Synaptic or the command line must have been giving instructions based on his own preferences, not yours.

  8. Scott

    Yeah, I was already fed up with the Dell version of Ubuntu by the time I found the Software Center – like I said, I’m not the tech-master, and my more computer-obsessive friends always used the terminal and synaptic package manager.

    In any case, the biggest problem was lack of driver/support for the GMA 500 graphics processor; everywhere I went in the online Ubuntu community I read that proper support for it didn’t exist yet.

  9. Poul Hansen

    Jolicloud rocks, need to find an alterntive for onenote on jolicloud though. Once tht is set I am not using windows OS unless I am forced to. Win7 is nice and very good, but eavy slow and not nearly as well suited for cloud based computing as Joli is. I simply love it

  10. Nilton Andrade

    I had a very interesting day today. I was surfing the internet for high-tech news, and found about Google Chrome OS, being launch, and on the related news there it was Jolicloud 1.1. Never knew about it, went to its oficial webpage.. download it (the version to keep in windows intact).. installed it.. And it was love at first sight. All that Ubuntu features that mathers, and no need for advance expertise to get it up and running. And a big advantage it allready comes with a GCC C COMPILER. so to me its fits just well.

  11. vishal

    i ve got a problem with jolicloud. when i connect with internet, i got a working 3g connection, system gets hang up. I have to shut it down forcefully.plz suggest any solution of this problem.

  12. pyrojelli

    So I downloaded JoliOS and totally luvd it! Its as easy as iOS on my iPhone4!!! Problem is it likes to crash frequently. Its forgiveable since everything is on the cloud so no worries about lost data and it boots back up in less than 3 minutes. So I forgive them lol. Maybe it’s because I’m running it on a G60 HP laptop smh

  13. Ted Bailey

    Hi…I have just installed Jolicloud and my HP laptop gets quite hot…reverting to Windows 7 all is ok ..any help please ? …Ted

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