Intel Moblin 2.0 beta has been released a few days ago. For those who don’t know about it, Moblin is an optimized Linux platform developed to enhance user experience on mobile devices, such as netbooks and MIDs. This new 2.0 beta brings along some new features and improvement compared to the previous public release. One of the most noticable improvement is the fresh new UI design and it’s appealing enough for me to try it.
I’m currently using Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and thinking about trying Moblin 2.0 beta on a virtual machine. I installed Virtualbox 2.2.2 and created a new virtual machine (VM) there. Then I downloaded Moblin image from the official site. Unfortunately, Virtualbox cannot boot the provided image file (.IMG), and therefore the image must be converted into appropriate format. I came across this article which helped me a lot with the conversion. I enter the following command on a terminal:
VBoxManage convertfromraw -format VDI [filename].img [filename].vdi
Then I used the VDI file as hard disk and boot device on the VM. Make sure to enable PAE extension, otherwise it won’t boot. Here’s a quick overview on Moblin 2.0 beta based on my experience using VM.
The UI are organized into several sections (tabs). The first one is m_zone (yes, underline included). This section acts as a home page which contains general information about our activities. There are appointments, Twitter messages, and other info. If you noticed, the right part of the screen are cropped and some navigation icons on the right part are screwed. I think Moblin 2.0 beta is optimized for netbook display format, which is usually widescreen (16:10 or 16:9). On the VM I used, the display format is 4:3 so the screen may broke a little. ^^;
The next section is Status, which simply allows us to update our status via Twitter. Yes, we have to configure our Twitter account first, using the Web Services Settings.
Besides Twitter, Last.fm is also supported, but unfortunately I haven’t tried it yet because I don’t have an account there. ^^;
The Internet section is where we can browse the web. Surprisingly (at least for me ^^), it uses custom Linux build of Chrome as its browser. Aside from the missing browser setting configuration, this build of Chrome looks promising. I haven’t tried the browser further though, so I can only give a simple preview about this section.
Applications section contains list of installed applications, which are organized into several categories. It also stores some of your most frequently used applications on “Favourite Applications”. You can also instantly find an application by typing its name on the search field.
We can configure all available network connections from the Networks section. Since I were using Moblin 2.0 beta on VM, the only connection available are wired one. WiFi is supposed to be supported on actual netbooks or MIDs, but I’m not sure about 3G and WiMAX. Can anyone give confirmation about this?
Dates section is used to manage our appointments and activity schedule calendar. The only fields available are event/appointment name, date-time it will occur, and description. Sure, this application may not as complete as Evolution or other advanced calendar applications, but I think it’s enough for common users.
In my opinion, Intel Moblin 2.0 beta has improved a lot from its predecessor. It may not have the lightning-fast boot time from the previous public build of Moblin, but in term of general usability and features, Moblin 2.0 beta is awesome. The Moblin developers has done a great job enhancing the usability of Moblin. It’s interesting to see further development on this project.
Anyway, sorry for my poor English. I hope you are able to understand about what I’m trying to say here. ^^