Moblin 2.0 is a custom Linux distribution designed specifically for netbooks. The last few times I’ve checked in on the operating system, it was in the early Alpha stages, and while it was capable of booting quickly, supporting most Intel Atom netbook hardware, and running a few apps, there was little to set it apart from other Linux distributions. But today saw the launch of Moblin 2.0 beta, which has a whole new user interface designed specifically for small screen, internet-centric computers like netbooks.

First, there’s a new home screen that replaces the typical desktop with an “M-zone” menu that provides links to your tasks, appointments, recent files, and status updates from your friends on social networks. Instead of a start or program menu, there’s a toolbar that appears near the top of the screen when you scroll your mouse toward it. The toolbar provides access to your settings, applications, and so forth. 

Moblin is designed to run on Intel Atom powered netbooks with low screen resolutions. That means it’s optimized to boott quickly, help prolong battery life, and all the menus and programs fit on a 1024 x 600 pixel or smaller screen. There’s a custom web browser that’s built on Mozilla Firefox, which includes Opera Speed Dial-style thumbnail shortcuts for your favorite web pages. And there’s a custom media player which uses a Firefox 3-style search bar to easily locate your music, videos, and photos.

All told, Moblin 2.0 beta looks a lot more exciting than the earlier Alpha versions. I’m not going to have time to install it and test it out myself for a little while, but if you have a chance to play with it, let us know what you think in the comments. You can also run Moblin 2.0 beta from a LiveCD, which means you don’t need to install it on your netbook to try it out.

You can watch a video overview of Moblin 2.0 beta after the break.

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12 replies on “Moblin 2.0 beta Linux distro for netbooks released – Video”

  1. This is the kind of informaitonal advertisement a desktop linux distribution has needed for AGES.

    I like it. It looks like it’s really built for a netbook, and you can bet there’ll be some kind of intel run best-of apps page to add things to all your cute little menus.

    I see this as really taking off in the consumer space. It really makes the Netbook something different for all the people who want to just be connected and attend to their media….speaking of which, one hopes that this will have better optimized media playing than what’s currently out there or Intel could find itself troubled.

  2. Yes! Now that I can understand and that looks like something I’d like on my netbook…or at least my second netbook.

    Now maybe I was just enjoying that british female….err Hobbit voice they used in the video, but nonetheless it did seem cool on a funtional level.

  3. I think I could be in love.

    Wonder if there’s a version without all those ghastly Americanisms? 😛

    1. To what exactly are you referring? I watched the video twice trying to see what you were talking about, but I’m at a loss. Your comment … is pants.

  4. For those of us (like me) considering Linux for the first time, it would be helpful if expert users would compare this distribution with its rivals.

    1. Well, hardware support will be critical. Look at the comments already posted on the Moblin blog about the ins and outs of using this beta on various models of netbook. I wonder if the Moblin group will put as much effort into supporting different hardware (such as wireless modules) as they are putting into the impressive user interface.

      The main rival for this will be Jolicloud, which has already stated that its Ubuntu-based OS runs on the earliest, and storage-starved netbooks (like my beloved Eee 701). The company will release a list of supported machines (see…

      But Jolicloud is not shipping at this time. So try some other Linux distros. I recommend Eeebuntu if you’re using an EeePC. The newly released Base version is pretty and functional and comes with the Statux Fewt utility for managing the computer’s performance and wireless and other accessories. With the smooth Synaptic package manager you can easily install whatever apps you want.

  5. nice! if its clean interface goes right down to the lowest menu level this’d bring the ‘iphone-(palm pre)-experience’ to netbooks
    I’ll try it, for sure

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