From seemingly out of nowhere yesterday MeeGo, a Linux Foundation-approved alliance between Nokia and Intel, released v1.0 of what they’re calling the netbook user experience. Way to channel Jimi Hendrix there.
So like the band with the similar name, will MeeGo blow your mind? Let’s find out…
Here’s the default desktop on MeeGo, called Myzone. I’m not yet entirely sure what other “zones” there are.
If you’re of the opinion that this desktop looks suspiciously like its Moblin counterpart I wouldn’t argue with you. But very much unlike Moblin, MeeGo’s WiFi works with my WPA-encrypted home network and my Eee PC, so I didn’t give up at this point.
Readers of Oa and my previous blog will know that I’m all about the PIM, so you’ll understand why my jaw dropped a bit when I saw built in sync support for Memotoo, my favourite hosted SyncML service. There are other options for similar services, plus Google. Straight-up Exchange isn’t supported, though. Good.
A prettier-than-usual version of Evolution seems to be the built-in solution for scheduling and email.
I know, I’m shameless!
This, by the way, is MeeGo’s status tab, currently supporting Twitter and Last.fm, but allowing only one account for each. Hopefully support for additional status accounts is on the way — might I suggest Identi.ca?
There are at least four ways to get to MeeGo’s file browser. This one, through the Devices tab, is probably the least intuitive.
You can also find it in the Apps tab (see below), or use ALT+F2, the Linux standard “run” command. Or you can simply type “nautilus” into a terminal window because that’s exactly what the file browser is.
Chromium seems very speedy and my only issue with it thus far is that Flickr’s fancy Flash plug-in has crashed repeatedly while trying to upload these screen grabs to my account. Maybe this is because I’m using Chromium, rather than Chrome proper?
YouTube seems to work fine, though.
The MeeGo Apps tab… There’s not much in the way of pre-installed software, but the good news is that after installing MeeGo I still have almost a gigabyte free on my 4GB solid-state boot disk.
Oh, and Frozen Bubble is one of the default games — nothing wrong with that.
MeeGo comes with a GUI package manager but not apt (note to self: That would be because it’s based on Fedora, not Ubuntu. Stupid). I suspect most people will look for additional software in the MeeGo Garage, anyway. There isn’t a huge selection there at the moment but I suspect that will change in short order.
MeeGo’s default IM & VoIP app — support for Sipe but not Skype. What the hell is Sipe?!
And now, on to the big question:
Is it for you?
If you don’t currently need Skype, your netbook isn’t your main computer, you live mostly on the web and/or you want a headache-free connection to cloud-based calendars and contacts, I’d say this first full release of MeeGo is good to go. Boot time is ridiculously fast — I counted just over 5 seconds from my BIOS screen — and the Qt geegaws will make your netbook appear just as speedy once it’s up and running. And while the interface has been dumbed down a bit for a rich GUI experience there does seem to be some power under the hood.
MeeGo reminds me a lot of Jolicloud in that connectivity to the Internet is critical to make it useful as an OS. But as a fan of Jolicloud I have to say that MeeGo feels much more polished. In its current iteration Jolicloud is still mostly a collection of web bookmarks on top of an older version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix (albeit with fantastic wireless and graphics card support), whereas MeeGo’s UI feels altogether new — keeping in mind that Moblin was a non-starter for me.
The best compliment I can pay to MeeGo is that it has proved worthy of a permanent home on my Eee PC — for the moment, at least. If you’ve any additional questions about it ask away, and I’ll answer as best I can…