Updated: February 8, 2008
gOS is an Ubuntu-based distribution aimed at the modern, young Internet users. It offers the ease and friendliness of Ubuntu, the dead sexy looks of Enlightenment 17 windows manager, OSX style, and integration of Google Apps into the desktop. Sounds extremely interesting. The advantages of these are many and obvious:
means even the new Linux users will be able to master the distribution very quickly.
means a very fast desktop manager with tons of 2D effects that do not require a 3D card. You can enjoy real transparency, shadows, animation, and more even on a low-spec PC - or even a virtual machine. As to the charming looks of Enlightenment, well ... read on and see for yourself.
means portability and flexibility, while keeping the space requirements to the minimum. While this concept may not appeal to everyone, it is definitely a refreshing way of managing one's applications and files.
All of the above makes gOS a more than reasonable candidate for desktop installation. Let's see what gOS can do. Of course, you can download gOS from the official site. For more details, you are also welcome to visit Ubuntu, Enlightenment home page and Google Apps.
Booting into live CD sessionLike all Ubuntu-based distributions, gOS is a handy, single-CD package with live session, allowing you to thoroughly examine and test the distro before installation. Not only does this allow you to play with different features, it gives you the chance to assess the hardware compatibility to your setup. As you can see, even the start splash screen and the boot screen are promising.
After a few seconds, you will reach the desktop. Ubuntu users running Gnome and KDE desktop managers will immediately notice the speed and responsiveness improvement. In fact, it runs so fast, you can almost forget you're running from a CD.
The desktop features a Mac OSX-like bar in the center bottom of the screen (called iBar) with lots of interesting icons. Average computer users might find the choice of icons a little baffling. Most of the icons actually link to web sites rather than local applications. Some of the choices include Youtube, Blogger, Facebook, Gmail, and others. The few application icons present are media-oriented (music, video, instant-messaging).
This is exactly what gOS aims at. Quick, instant access to the favorite sites and blogs of the young users, with some cool animation along the way - for example, hovering the mouse cursor over any one of the icons will cause a magnifying glass effect. Last but not the least, the security of Linux operating system means the social networking sites (quite prone to potential security abuse in the Windows world) can be safely enjoyed.
Let's fire up Firefox.
The usual close, minimize and maximize buttons are on the left side, in the form of color LEDs. The magnifying glass, the LEDs, and the soft, rounded, clean looks all borrow heavily from the OSX theme - and they definitely yield a soothing feel to gOS.
The default resolution is a bit too big for my taste (I'm slightly old ...), so I will reduce it. This will also show you how to navigate in an Enlightenment desktop.
Left-clicking anywhere on the desktop will bring up the menu. Right-clicking will present the user with favorite applications. Of course, all panels, menus and other items visible on the desktop are fully customizable bot in appearance and position.
Left-click > Configuration > My Settings will bring up a rich configuration menu for every aspect of the desktop, including appearance, applications, language, and much more.
The Google search field can also be freely moved about. Here's the new resized desktop. Much better.
Applications can also be accessed via left-click. gOS being Ubuntu, it comes with a handy choice of programs for every soul.
InstallationWell, now that we have reviewed the basics, we might as well install gOS.
This will be a short tutorial, since I have already extensively covered Ubuntu-based distro installation in several articles, including Installing (K)ubuntu Linux - Full tutorial and Installing Linux Mint - Full Tutorial. The installation is extremely simple. Just a few mouse clicks, about 15 minutes and you're all set.
Step 1: Language
Step 2: Region & time zoneWe'll choose Ljubljana, Slovenia this time.
Step 3: Keyboard
Step 4: PartitioningAgain, nothing new here. Three partitions - root, home and swap.
Step 5: User
Step 6: Review settings and install
Step 7: Installation in process
Step 8: Done
We'll review some post-installation tricks on page 2.