Over the past few days I've been taking Intel's Moblin 2.0 Linux desktop for netbooks for a spin. Can Intel compete with its long-time partner Microsoft in the operating system game?
Check out the Moblin 2.0 image gallery
Moblin is an interesting project that's based on a Fedora Linux backbone, it uses a GNOME desktop and apps. But it's also different from every Linux distro I've seen too.
Does this function-centric approach work? Well, personally I don't think it does. When I first loaded it up I was confronted by a whole raft of mystery meat navigation. The only way to figure out what something did was to randomly click about and see what happened. I'm not sure if the problem boils down to the interface just not being usable, or to whether the OS still needs a lot of work doing to it. The current state of the OS seems to turn a netbook into a very limited device, and I can see some users never being able to figure out how to add useful applications such as office apps onto their netbook. The same complaint could be leveled at any Windows-based system, but Linux distros usually make downloading and installing more apps easy.
This project could deliver a nice, workable OS for netbooks, but for now I'm left feeling that the OS turns a netbook into a Fisher Price "My First Twittering Netbook" platform.