There are two options. The first is a 16MB installer that runs on Windows XP or 7 and downloads and installs the operating system alongside Windows. The second is a 689MB ISO file which you can load on a USB flash drive to install Jolicloud on a computer that doesn’t run Windows.
Jolicloud is designed to run on most netbooks with support for small screen sizes and low power Intel and VIA processors and graphics. The operating system is based on Linux, but one of the things that sets it apart from most Linux environments is that Jolicloud is designed to blur the distinction between web and native apps. That means you can create shortcuts in the program launcher for OpenOffice.org, Google Docs, Gmail, and Thunderbird.
There are also social aspects to Jolicloud, allowing you, for instance, to see what apps your friends have been installing.
Your preferences are all saved online, which makes upgrading to a new netbook or switching between machines easy.
Jolicloud is available as a free download. Founder Tariq Krim says premium features will be available later this year.
Update: If you want to take Jolicloud for a spin without installing it, you can visit my.jolicloud.com using the Google Chrome web browser. This will let you create an account and browse through the catalog of native and web-based apps. You can “install” them to your desktop, and if and when you install Jolicloud on a netbook, your preferences will be carried over and all the apps you install from the web interface will be installed on your computer.