Moblin: Radically Different Netbook Distro

Sync and Settings

One of the most interesting tools bundled with Moblin is Sync, which lets you synchronize data between your netbook and any service that supports the SyncML standard (Figure 6). Out of the box, Sync works with the Funambol, Google, and ScheduleWorld services. Depending on which service you use, you can sync calendar data, contacts, tasks, and to-do lists. Configuring any of the default services is as easy as providing your credentials and specifying the sync direction.

Figure 6: The Sync app lets you synchronize data between your netbook and any SyncML-compatible service.

The Settings group acts as a control panel that lets you configure different aspects of the system. The Manage Applications applet lets you install and remove applications from Moblin's software repository with the gpk-application tool. Currently, the software repository doesn't offer a lot, but expect this to change as Moblin matures and gets more traction.

Using the Update Your Computer applet, you can install the available updates, whereas the Software Update Preferences applet allows you to schedule automatic update checks.

Final Word

Of all netbook-specific Linux distros currently in development, Moblin is without a doubt the most interesting. It represents a bold attempt to replace the traditional desktop with an alternative shell designed specifically for small-screen devices. The intuitive interface provides quick access to all essential features and activities, making the computing experience both efficient and enjoyable.

The learning curve is virtually flat, which makes the transition from the traditional desktop pretty painless and could be the key to Moblin's success among typical netbook users. Under-the-hood optimizations and tweaks make Moblin one of the fastest distros around. It boots in a matter of seconds and performs very well. Overall, although Moblin is still not ready for prime time, it shows a lot of promise.


  1. Moblin:

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