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gOS: A lot of Buzz with no Substance November 19, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in 1.
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I had the privilege of buying one of the Everex gOS PC’s from Wal-Mart.com before they sold out. I bought it and had it shipped to one of their stores to where I picked it up. Whats the verdict. Im using the gPC right now to write this review and I loaded it up with PCLOS 2007.

gOS: The beginning

After I got the PC and set the thing up I actually liked the hardware. Its great hardware, very stylish and looks very functional. I booted it up and I saw green. I like green, along with black and purple its my favorite color. I actually liked the gOS for 48 hrs. So what happened? lets cut through the hype and just say if this is the Linux communities hopes to take down Microsoft, go back to the drawing board.

gOS: Functionality

I will give the gOS this. Its extremely fast. It has plenty of horse power and even though the hardware it runs on is low end the software in this case makes all the difference. It runs a modified version of enlightenment. Enlightenment is a very underated and underused window manager in the *nix universe. Enlightenment is one of those technologies that even though it was great was dismissed by the *nix community. DR17 is no exception. When you see the gOS for the first time it looks nifty, great animations similar to what you would see in Mac OS X and in Windows. Plenty of throbbing and bouncing and (man this is starting to sound dirty) and somthing you dont see in Windows and Mac OS a Google search bar on the desktop. GreenOS is the official name and Green could also be used as a descriptor in the case of the gOS. When you hit the mint leaf in the corner (I am assuming its a mint leaf) the system menu pops up. In this menu you have your applications and configuration tools.

gOS: The problems

The problems mainly stem from the fact enlightenment is a developer preview, not even alpha quality yet. DR stands for Developer Release and should be a hint. That standing out there are plenty of Window Manager crashes and inconvenient lockups to make your heart content. The first time I ever opened a directory to have the damn thing crash was with the gOS, when trying to copy files over and have the WM crash was pretty nasty as well.

The main problem is that unlike MEPIS, Freespire and Linspire, the gOS doesnt modify the core OS so its a standard Ubuntu 7.10 kernel and all the hardware incompatibilities and kernel problems you have with Ubuntu are adopted by gOS. To give the developers a little bit of leeway this is a 1.0 release and Im almost positive they will work on the quality of the OS and hopefully whip it into a decent distro. The gOS is a selling point for their gPC and in some ways I think they are trying to establish a fan base similar to Macintosh, Amigans or RiscOS.

gOS: Other machines

I went ahead and downloaded the gOS ISO from their web site and tried it on a couple of other machines. It liked my PowerEdge, a couple of OptiPlexes , my Compaq Evo and even a home built PC. Mobile computing was an entirely different story. On my Dell Inspiron 2500 during the LiveCD session it would boot but go into a Limbo black screen when trying to load the desktop a behavior also present with Ubuntu 7.10 on the same hardware and on my ThinkPad A21m it would go halfway through the live CD boot and just freeze a behavior also inherited from Ubuntu 7.10. On my Vaio AR it worked great as a LiveCD. I didnt hose the HD on my Vaio because its my main laptop so I couldnt tell you about native HD performance from that system.

gOS: The good

Good presentation, great concept and great delivery mechanism. The interface is simplistic and easy to navigate and the learning curve is rather limited. Good effort to build a user base and a fan base. It has OpenOffice, Rhythmbox and Xine installed by default which is a good thing.

gOS: The bad

Using pre-alpha software that is rather buggy, mediocre to non-existant mobile support, using a non LTS release for the base. There is also no clear roadmap where the offering is going and no hardware compatibility list. There is also no native support for 3D using the nvidia drivers. The GPC line would be interesting if they offered a mobile unit. While I like the presentation of Google in this distro I feel there is too much faith in Google.

Conclusion

I see no pushing reasons to use this over a vanilla Ubuntu installation. You can add Enlightenment to an Ubuntu install through the use of repositories. Unlike Freespire/Linspire they do no work to improve upon Ubuntu but rather just give it a paint job, a shiny theme and market gOS as something new.

But. It doesnt mean gOS is not interesting and given that the software HAS to mature and probably couldnt regress its a distribution I will keep my eye on and will possibly install and review again at a later date.

I couldnt give any recommendation to switch to gOS from any Linux distribution at this time.

Score (Rating of 10): 6

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Comments»

1. Jonathon Hibbard - November 19, 2007

Heh, that’s funny man. Myself and 4 other buddies all have the same PC and never experienced any o f these problems.

I just wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with you being a Channel 9 fanboy who is sooooo afraid of their expensive POS windows OS getting some competition.

I can’t believe I sat here and read this whole article. But hey, at least you gave me a quick laugh =]

2. klu9 - November 19, 2007

it didn’t happen to *you* therefore anyone who says it happened to *them* is a liar or an idiot or both.

I can’t believe I sat here and read your whole comment. But hey, at least you gave me a quick groan. =[

3. Richard(kc9foh) - November 19, 2007

I am using gOS myself right now. I am using the developer kit only I added 2 gigs of ram. It does have its quirks and could have better hardware support. I have had a couple freeze ups where I have had to reboot. I do agree that gOS should have had their forums set up a little more a head of time. They should also had the developer kit for sale a couple months a head of time to try and get others to work out some of the bugs. I do like it and I am going to give them a real chance to improve themselves before dumping them after all I gave Vista the chance before dumping it for gOS! Vista gives people about the same headaches and that one you have to pay dearly for.

4. Not_a_fanboi - November 19, 2007

gOS is not the buzz. And it is not the selling point for gPC.
Let’s get it straight up: the selling point is the cheap price.

5. eMediaOne » gOS: A lot of Buzz with no Substance - November 19, 2007

[…] Read more […]

6. spenser309 - November 19, 2007

The difference between gOS and Ubuntu is marketing and product placement. THESE ARE ADVANCES. Wether we like it or not this is an area where Linux in general needs to improve. They may not work with upstream for software products, but they do work in upstream for selling Linux computers. Right now Linux computers are being tested in common markets the gpc is one example of such a test, the other ways are the eEE PC, 1 laptop per child, and of course Dell. Despite lack of innovation in actual software the packaging and selling of gPC’s is a case study in selling Linux to the masses.

7. Not_a_fanboi - November 19, 2007

I agree that Linux needs marketing.
But Alfa quality OS release for the masses? Pardon me for being pessimistic about it.

8. Jonathon Hibbard - November 19, 2007

Why be pessimistic about it? Microsoft does it every single release =]

As for klu9:
I never said he was an idiot, nor a liar. Get your facts straight before taking a self-righteous motive to respond with ignorance. Secondly, I am glad you found my comments good enough to mimic. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside =]

9. rjdohnert - November 20, 2007

Just because Im a contributer to Channel 9 doesnt mean my point of view is obscure. I am a Linux/UNIX user, more so than Windows and if you read this I loaded the machine with PCLOS. I do intend to review gOS later when it has a few releases under its belt.

There is no difference between this and a vanilla Ubuntu install except for a theme and branding. Nothing more and nothing less. They have a lot of work to do to even market this as a contender to Windows and Mac OS X.

10. vaithy - November 20, 2007

Hi,
I am from India..I download the gOS from thier website, and try with my Nine other Linux distros in my Destop PC , playing for some time, then getting biggest yawn, removed it, in its place installed ‘Daryana’- the mint baby!! It is not because of any adverse reaction as the author mentioned.. it detected all the hardware that I throw on it..giving new experience.. Since I already have Gutsy and PCLOS kicking lively in the other partition so a I have to sacrifice one of the latest OS to ‘mint’ installation..
My conclusion is , thus they who are already with Linux baptism will have no interest in the new gOS..but it will attract windows users who already had the torrid time with ‘VISTA’
But you must admit if the Everx can turn the Wal-Mart on fire even with such ‘beta’ OS’ what happened if gOS is fully tested like fedora or Ubuntu ?? Dell should have learn some lesson from them!!

11. Not_a_fanboi - November 21, 2007

@ J Hibbard.

Why pessimistic?
gOS is in alfa stage. That means bugs and untested features.
I don’t see how is it good for the masses.

I am not concerned with Linux user buying this “product”. They either would know how to deal with issues or wipe gOS all together and use their distro of choice on new cheap PC. But that in itself does not spread Linux much.

Those that have no clue (and bought it based on price tag) are the ones who will be yupping away that Linux sucks as soon as they hit their first complication.

So, yes, I am skeptical about releasing alfa to the masses.

12. Kazuya - November 21, 2007

I agree with J Hibbard. There are far better or simpler alternatives to ease the users transition into linux. This was the samething that happened with linspire when it first came out, but linspire was more complete or polished. Then it was lindows. If it had been mepis, xandros or Ubunt or PCLOS{later}. This would have been more successful.
I applaude gOS start, but sending an alpha product to mainstream before the more established and tested ones like Mint, PCLOS, Ubuntu, Mepis, Opensuse, Fedora, etc, is not a very good one.
If hardware/memory was the limitation, they could have used even slack-based distros like Vector linux or Zenwalk.

13. Jonathon Hibbard - November 21, 2007

I agree. I don’t think gOS is 100% solid. I don’t see the issues stated in this article though either.

Either way, the whole point is that the poster is trying to say that since *he* found a problem with the release it’s garbage.

My point is that the poster is a hypocrit, who *is* a microsoft fan boy despite what he said above. I’ve read your posts on channel 9 dude, I don’t make accusations without a valid referencing point.

The deal is that Microsoft kiddies want to blast anything that Linux does. And that’s fine. But when they try to act like a bug is a reason for you not to even think about using the software, well, that’s going a wee bit far don’t you think?

How many times has Microsoft relased a STABLE out of the box version? Even VISTA, an OS they spend YEARS developing, turned out to be one of the biggest money games and garbage disposals ever that I’ve seen them as a company provide to the public.

I really shouldn’t have even posted this, but hey, trolls do what they can to get a bite. But, that’s my last response. take it as you will =]

14. Poiema - November 26, 2007

One thing that should be noted is that some of the contributors to gOS are also the key contributors to E17. Thus it can be expected that ‘bugs’ should be squashed fairly quickly when they are related to the windowing environment. This distribution should be the most stable E17 desktop around. And the fact that it is using E17 warrants a bit more consideration than saying that it has a different theme than Ubuntu. Read up on Enlightenment and you should see that in the future much more should be available to this distro as it stabalizes. Also note that although gOS is actually quite stable for a basic user (email, web browsing, text editing – thus the intended WalMart audience), the website recommends the download version more for developers who intend to help further stabalize the system and add additional functionality.

Poiema

15. Tom - December 9, 2007

The $199 Everex machine gave me the opportunity to experiment and learn about Linux. I never had the courage to do the “partition” thing on my expensive Vista machine (which I do like). gOS felt raw to me and caused several crashes and errors in just the first few days of operations. In the mean time I learned alot about linux. I now have Ubuntu loaded on the Everex machine and love it. I just wish I could get Openchrome graphics card driver to get the 3D working on the low budget video card.

Someone made the comment above, the gOS success is all about Marketing. That exposure is creating new opportunities and converts to linux for Windows users with different levels of experience and budgets.

16. walt - December 16, 2007

I have had Everex machine/gOS for a couple of weeks and it is a bad fit for new Linux users. Have a look at http://www.faqly.com/faq/view/id/34 to see the alleged support. I suspect that machines are being returned to WalMart as fast as they go out.

17. 3south - January 22, 2008

It could have been handled soooo much better 😦
It’s disheartening really.

18. joerumpsa - April 14, 2008

I have run the new distro of gos space on a p4 1.8 with 512mb of ram, and the crappy extreme graphics card running 64 meg, and i could swear it is a quad core! I have never seen it crash, and I have been running it for a couple of days.


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