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Moblin v2 Impressions: This Has Potential



moblinI have been using Moblin version 2 on my Dell Mini 10v netbook exclusively for the past couple days.  The linux variant is specifically tailored for a netbook’s smaller screen size, longer battery life, and Intel Atom Processor.  While the overall OS is smooth and offers much, I must offer a few suggestions.

Web Browsing

Web browsing in Moblin feels limited.  A stripped down, tab enabled browser serves as your portal to the web.  The design of the browser feels clunky; there is too much space used for tabs and the navigation bar.  A Google Chrome-like experience would be much more satisfying as Google Chrome allows for maximum screen real estate in a visually pleasing package.  Performance-wise there are no issues as the browser renders pages quickly and correctly.  My primary suggestion is with design rather than function.  Check out the screenshot below.


Applications Window

My suggestion here is not with the applications themselves as there are plenty provided by default.  Again, the design of the GUI feels too cumbersome.  Rather than having icons that lead to different areas, Moblin categorizes the applications under collapsible windows.  This presentation is too cluttered for the limited netbook screen.  This is a minor complaint and really doesn’t impact the overall Moblin experience.


The MyZone Area

For Moblin to be a success, it must rely heavily on the cloud.  Integration with popular online services such as Gmail and Google Calendar are a must.  I’m a big fan of the MyZone area, a place where your to-do list, calendar, recent files, and social stream are contained.  The MyZone idea is similar to an iGoogle site for your desktop.  Although very functional, a few tweaks would prove useful.  Facebook integration is also a must and the way Twitter is displayed needs improved.  Rather than a big gray box with a tweet that only shows the name when you mouse over, it’d be more practical to display the name of the person who is tweeting.  I don’t want to place my mouse over every box to figure out who is saying what.


Who is Moblin Designed for?

Moblin would be great for those new to computers or folks who only want a consumer-focused Internet experience.  Although netbooks are not designed to create, Moblin’s focus is on consuming content.  Moblin seemed very stable, had great battery life, was customizable, but still felt a bit limited.  Power users will likely require a few tweaks and mods.  Overall, Moblin v2 is still young and gaining more interest daily.  Expect more developers to get involved as Moblin’s popularity grows.

How do I get Moblin?

It’s easy.  Visit the Moblin site and download the live image.  You can follow the directions to burn it on a CD or install from a USB drive.  It’s worth a look and could definitely evolve into something great for the netbook platform.

What are your suggestions for making Moblin better?

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