Linux gOS with Mac OS X like theme

gOS or "good OS" is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution created by 'Good OS LLC', a Los Angeles-based corporation. Its CIO Dave Liu described that after meeting Enlightenment and open source people he realized that his dream to bring Web 2.0 applications into mainstream use could be realized by creating a Linux distribution that made it easy for users to access Google and other Web 2.0 applications.

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The company initially advertised gOS 1.0 as "An alternative OS with Google Apps and other Web 2.0 apps for the modern user." This first version gOS (1.0.1_386) was based on Ubuntu 7.10 and the Enlightenment window manager E17.

On January 7, 2008, a test version (2.0.0-beta1) of gOS, intended to demonstrate the Everex CloudBook at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show, and named "gOS Rocket", was released. This version was also E17 based. The definitive second version of gOS debuted at the end February 2008, together with the launch of Everex's new CloudBook, the gBook laptop, and a new, second version of the gPC, the "encore". This version was called gOS V2 Rocket, and was completely rewritten and now based on the GNOME window manager, a built in Compositing window manager, and the Avant Window Navigator.

On April 6, 2008, Good OS launched a publicly available version of gOS, called gOS 2.9 "Space", intended for the gPC mini, This version is based on Compiz fusion, Gnome, and the Avant Window Navigator dock manager, but also uses E17 code. It has a Dock with a "stack" very much like the "fan view" of Mac OS X v10.5.

On September 23, 2008 Good OS launched gOS 3 Gadgets, which is described by Good OS, as "The third and best version of gOS to date, Perfect for Netbooks". It is still based on GNOME but has replaced AWN with yet another launcher called Wbar, and introduces the full support for Wine 1.0, Picasa (using the Wine libraries) and Google Gadgets.

On December 1, 2008 Good OS announced its next operating system, Cloud. Cloud can be described as an "instant on browser based application environment". With Cloud users can browse the Internet seconds after turning on their computer, and can also use it to run applications, like Skype, or a media player. Cloud shows a Dock similar to gOS 3 in the browser window, and will keep loading the main operating system (Windows, Linux, OSX) in the background. An icon in the Dock will tell the user when the main OS has finished booting in the background, and can be used to switch instantly to the main OS, when tasks not (yet) supported under Cloud are needed. A beta test program for Cloud version 1.0 was announced January 30, 2009.

On January 3, 2009 Good OS released gOS 3.1 Gadgets (SP1), or Service pack 1, a bug-fixed version of gOS 3.0. Simultaneously they also launched a new official forum, as a replacement for the google discussion group used previously, and faqly, which is now defunct.

Faqly was a cross between an Internet forum and a FAQ where gOS users could ask questions, and browse for answers. Other gOS users, or Linux experts, could then provide answers to the questions. But Faqly had some large usability problems, notably the fact that users had problems deciding when the system was searching for an answer, or entering a new question. Additionally, questions and answers could not be edited or deleted.


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gOS-1 was based on the Ubuntu 7.10 distribution (later versions after 2.9 use version 8.04) and themed desktop environment somewhat similar in appearance to Mac OS X Leopard. The earlier versions (1 and 2-beta) used the Enlightenment 17 window manager instead of the usual GNOME or KDE desktops, to create a desktop that had a similar appearance to Mac OS X. Enlightenment acted both as an X window manager and a desktop environment. Therefore early versions of gOS worked on systems as low end as a 350 MHz Pentium II with 196 MB of RAM,but a typical gOS system would have used as a minimum a 1 GHz Pentium III with 256 MB RAM. After gOS2-beta the later versions of gOS abandoned the use of Enlightenment as desktop manager (although some E17 code still seemed to be used), in favor of using GNOME, with Compiz Fusion and the Avant Window Navigator. This increased the need for memory to values similar to normal Ubuntu.

Based on the idea of cloud computing, all versions of gOS lean heavily on on-line applications built on Web 2.0 and AJAX technology so they also do not use much hard disk space for applications. The whole gOS-1 system fitted comfortably in less than 2 GB. Also many of the documents created with gOS, such as Google Docs documents, can be saved on Google servers instead of on the local hard disk, so gOS can work with very small hard disks. In gOS V2 Rocket, Good OS introduced the use of Google's "Google Gears" technology which promises to make Google's web applications usable without an Internet connection.Currently, Google Reader and Google Docs are the only supported Google applications, though other web applications such as Remember the Milk have added Google Gears functionality.

gOS 2.0 Rocket's primary features include a Mac OS X-like Dock called iTask-NG (also called 'the Launcher'), containing icons to launch programs like the Firefox web browser, Rhythmbox audio player, Xine video player and Skype for Internet telephony. there are also options to open many Google- based web application like Google Mail,Google Docs,Google Calendar,Google Maps. Other programs could be added to the Launcher as well. The first E17 based version of gOS used another Dock-style interface called the iBar.

Other installed programs could be started through menus, among the most important was the photo and picture editing program the GIMP, the document viewer Evince, and the office suite. More programs could be installed using the built-in Synaptic Package Manager.


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