I recently had trouble upgrading my netbook version of Ubuntu, so I decided to try a new version of linux. Something small, but user-friendly. After taking a look at DSL, Puppy, and a handful of other barebones linux packages, I stumbled across Jolicloud. Obscure? Yes. But I was willing to give it a chance.
And oh, what a chance it enjoyed. My first impression: I was overjoyed. It was love at first sight (or site?) A brand new GUI to play around with, seemingly easy to integrate parts, a click here and BOOM, Facebook. A click there and BAM! all your pics. And what’s this? You can even access your desktop online from other computers? At first, I was really into it. All of my cloud apps were right there at my fingertips, and it seemed great!
Then I met my first problem. If you happen to get to that one place where there is no internet, Jolicloud is completely impotent. The same thing that makes it cool, (basing everything on cloud computing) is what makes it worthless when offline. But no worries, right? We’re only going to be using this in places like university and home, airports, places with wifi! After all, we’re a civilized country, right? (*stated totally ironically*)
Well, fine. I can handle that. But now let’s see… How do you move around any of the files? Jolicloud is cool, and I don’t use my netbook for much storage, but everyone has those few files that they want to keep available. As opposed to a opening a folder system, Joli opens a sort of tab that let’s you see and open your files, but not move them. After some lengthy internet searching, I found that you CAN indeed get around this by pressing the menu button on your keyboard (which I have never used before in any other application. Ever.) So ok, I can get around it. Let’s stick with.
I mean, it’s still linux, right? And its based on Ubuntu, so let me just go install some new programs with synaptic… What? Wtf? That’s right folks, Jolicloud does NOT have synaptic package manager. This makes downloading things incredibly irritating and difficult, unless it happens to be on the list of “things you can download.” I think most linux users, like me, would be unimpressed.
But I was still hanging in there for that great cloud computing aspect. Let me see here… ah, I need something from dropbox… What? Are you kidding? Because Joli does everything based on google chrome (I have NO IDEA why- I’m a firefox fan myself), you can’t automatically update your file to dropbox. This means download, open, save, reupload, alter, save, reupload… you get the idea.
That was really the last straw.
So now what? In the end, Jolicloud loses the awesome-ness of linux in favor of something you would instead get for your grandmother. It only does certain things, and if you want to make it do something else- good luck. It’s like a sabertooth tiger without its canines. The idea is superb: take advantage of the booming cloud computing revolution by putting together a cute, compact OS for netbooks (or desktops). The execution, though, is lacking.
As for me, I’ll most likely be heading back to Ubuntu with the new 13.04 package. I won’t even need to backup my files, since they were so hard to download in the first place! I may play around with DSL or something, but for the most part, Ubuntu catered to my needs. Please, shining orange light, take me back!