Canonical is set to release Ubuntu 9.04 this week. And one of the biggest changes in the new version is out of the box support for a number of Intel Atom based netbooks including the MSI Wind and Asus Eee PC series. Not only will Ubuntu automatically detect and configure your hardware properly, but it’s easier to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix program launcher that’s designed to make it easier to find the programs and files you’re looking for on laptops with small screens.

So where does that leave 3rd party projects like Easy Peasy — a custom version of Ubuntu that was designed for netbooks? Last year Easy Peasy seemed like a great idea because it bundled all the features you needed to get Ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10 up and running on an Eee PC netbook. Soon you won’t need a custom distribution for that. The standard version of Ubuntu will work just fine.

But Easy Peasy founder Jon Ramvi’s not done with his pet project. Instead, he’s looking for other ways to improve the experience of using Ubuntu on netbooks. In a recent blog post, Ramvi showed a mockup of a future version of Easy Peasy that could integrate web features with desktop applications. For instance, the sidebar is populated with a list of bookmarks, and at the top of the screen there’s space for notifications letting you know how many unread email messages, new tweets, or Flickr comments you have. You can also see how many of your friends are online on instant messaging services.

This is just a mockup, but it sounds a lot like what the folks at Jolicloud are trying to accomplish. The idea is that many of the applications and service we use today are web or internet-based, and not just desktop apps. So why should you have to fire up a web browser, IM, or email client before you can start using them? Why not bake them right into the operating system. It should be interesting to see whether Easy Peasy or Jolicloud gets there first.

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6 replies on “Next Gen Easy Peasy Linux distro to blur lines between desktop, web apps”

  1. > This is just a mockup, but it sounds a lot like what the folks at Jolicloud are trying to accomplish.

    Jolicloud’s Tariq Krim has recently spoken at length on what his company is trying to accomplish: https://www.angelmendez.es/?p=1647

  2. This is where we all seem to be going. Have you seen Google’s chrome experiments gallery? It’s right here, and I must say, it’s impressive what people are doing with javascript and the like. And of course there are games like Instant Action, Quake Life, and Battlefield Heroes that are bringing many games to those with simply a browser and a plugin.

    That doesn’t mean I necessarily like it, of course. I’m on the fence about it, really. On the one hand I love Hulu and what sites like that and streaming radio can do to add to my entertainment. On the other I’m glad to own my software on my machine(All paid for if it needed to be, thank you!).

    Not to mention less and less of my data being local. I don’t break the law, but I love my privacy.

    The balance keeps changing. Sometimes I look at things being done and think “Great, now I can do this anywhere!”. But do I want to? Does it makes sense? It’s coming, there’ll be no stopping progress, I *know* that.

    But I find I’m weary, and will implement these technologies carefully. I do enjoy watching what’s possible develop, though.

    1. <<On the other I'm glad to own my software on my machine

      Hang onto as much software as you can. Clouds can blow away 😉 Remote software providers can go bankrupt, sections of the internet can be destroyed by terrorists, war, etc. All things are not always permanent… but enjoy these (cloudware and internet) things while we can 🙂

      1. Or even less dramatic, a ship’s anchor in the wrong place that cuts a fiber cable
        to an entire continent. Which has happened several times in the recent past years.

        I agree: my software, data and information stays “at home”; thank you.

  3. You know who just might get there first? Apple. If they can pull off a slick interface for their rumored 10″ touch screen device, it would answer all my desires in a small, portable, net-centric device.

    The only concern is price, but I have a strong suspicion that a hefty discount will be available if you bundle with a 3G data plan.

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