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gOS Catches The Economist’s Eye

The discusses using Linux to rehabilitate old computers for donating to students. The author has found many school students have no access to a computer at home: “A quarter of the children in your correspondent’s class had nothing at home to research their projects on–not even a parent’s or older sibling’s computer. And it showed in the classroom.”

And his suggestion is to wipe the Microsoft junk off your donation and replace it with a capable and lightweight operating system instead: Linux.

“Apart from being able to run easily on clunky old machines, the great thing about Linux is the way thousands of the world’s most professional programmers have volunteered their spare time to improving the breed–with nothing to gain save personal satisfaction and the respect of their peers. Thanks to their efforts, there’s recently been a flood of slick desktop versions of the rugged open-source operating system.”

After sampling several Linux distros, gOS catches the author’s eye:

“Spurred on by Everex, a PC maker in Fremont, California, the gOS distribution encases the rock-solid Ubuntu 7.10 in an exceptionally rich graphical shell known as E17 from an outfit called Enlightenment. For sheer beauty and intuitiveness, the gOS interface out-Macs even Apple’s superb OS X.

“But the real magic behind gOS is its use of Google Apps, the search company’s free online alternative to Microsoft Office. Computer pundits have talked endlessly about “software as a service”—using software applications that reside permanently on the internet rather than on your local hard-drive—but nothing much has come of it. Suddenly, out of the blue, gOS has made it a reality.

“Unquestionably, gOS is the operating system for the YouTube generation. Like the Mac, you just switch it on and start uploading videos, downloading tunes and doing other good things with the click of a mouse.”

For situations where online office applications are not ideal, the author matter-of-factly mentions OpenOffice as the pre-installed desktop office suite on gOS machines (casually expressing what many mainstream publications have not yet recognized: its complete suitability as a replacement for heavy, expensive MS Office). He doesn’t even explain, confident that everyone already knows what it is!

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