Friday, 24 July 2009

Jolicloud Review

If you read my post on instant-on/cloud operating systems you'll know I'm enthralled by the idea of not having any data locally but still having very fast access. This all started when I learned about the existence of Jolicloud an OS which lives mostly in the cloud. Sadly at the moment Jolicloud is in private alpha so I signed up for an invite and waited a few months.

The main (?) interface

Yesterday I got an email from Jolicloud with an invite and subsequently a download link :-) installation was very similar to Ubuntu NBR because Jolicloud is based on it. I installed it very similarly to my NBR installation as a result boot times are very fast from the 4GB SSD (less than 25 seconds)

First Impressions

What surprised me was that instead of booting into the Jolicloud interface it booted into a stripped down UME launcher. I've now discovered that the UME laucher IS Joliclouds main interface. This can make the experience slightly jarring as you install applications (both web and native) from the Jolicloud interface but cannot launch them from there.

The one click graphical installation is a wonder to behold and at the moment very useful but I'm not sure how useful it will be once there is a larger range of applications. The universal people and applications search will probably help.

Having downloaded the Twitter and Facebook "apps", which are simply Prism bookmarks, I was surprised that they didn't integrate with the Jolicloud interface. The main page of the Jolicloud Interface is an activity feed for your friends this however doesn't extend to Twitter and Facebook. It would be nice to open Jolicloud and see updates from the people I'm following on Twitter. Of course there might be a setting for this but the settings are strewn across the system, would it be in the settings menu on the UME launcher or in the Jolicloud interface or in the settings of the Twitter program?

This discontinuity also extends to the search bar which will allow me to search application and (the rather cryptically named) "people" at first glance for a social OS you'd think this would be Twitter and Facebook profiles but it is limited to the profiles of other Jolicloud users.

At the moment I must admit I'm a little disappointed but being an Alpha product I'm going to assume that tighter integration with the rest of the OS and web services is coming.