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gOS: Undocumented Enlightenment
What Manner of Beast Be This?
November 29, 2007
gOS, the hot new Linux distribution, has been generating a lot of buzz because it comes with the Everex Green PC, sold at Wal-Mart for $200. Linux reviewers are totally in love with it, and are praising it to the skies. Naturally, I had to find out if it lives up to the hype.
gOS (either Green OS or Good OS, depending on what you read) takes a different approach from most general-purpose Linux distributions. It uses the Enlightenment desktop environment instead of the usual KDE or Gnome. In addition to the usual productivity applications (OpenOffice, the Gimp, Web browser, email, and so forth) it comes with a raft of Google apps, such as Gmail, News, Calendar, Docs, and Maps. So you could use it as an Internet thin client, storing your documents on Box.net, never bother with local storage of your documents or email at all, and always have access to them anywhere you find an Internet-connected computer. It also comes with a Skype client, and links to Facebook, Meebo, Blogger, Box.net, and YouTube.
gOS comes on the usual LiveCD, with an easy hard-drive installation from the LiveCD. There are also VMWare editions for Windows and Mac. Enlightenment doesn't need big horsepowers, so I tried both the LiveCD and the hard drive installation on two older computers: a Thinkpad R32 with a 1.6 GHz mobile P4 and 256 MB RAM, and an old homebuilt desktop machine powered by an 800 MHz Duron processor, also with 256 rams. Nothing exciting about either one; it was easy as pie, as all Linux installations are these days, with one weird glitch--gOS does not create a gOS boot menu entry, but simply recycles the Ubuntu entry. So when you boot up, choose Ubuntu.