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gOS a review


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#1
silverbeard

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WalMart is marketing a $200 Linux desktop. Based on the VIA C7 processor It is not a powerhouse but is very usable for day to day tasks like email and surfing. The thing about this PC though is the Linux Operating System.
gOS is a Ubuntu system optimized and customized to use Google apps. With the Enlightment desktop and the 1.5ghz processor, 512MB of RAM and an 80 GB hard drive WalMart sold outof the Linux machine while the same machine with Vista Home Basic costing $100 more remain plentiful.

Well not able to buy one these machines I decided to test the OS on an old celeron 1.7 gig machine with 512MB and a Fourty gig hard drive. This was a lease return machine I had bought sometime back for around $120 and had used as a spare machine for the people who come over and want to get on the Internet and has run PCLinuxOS 0.93 for quite a while.

I found the download at the gOS site and burned the Live CD. Like most live distros it booted up without any issues and it was up and running in a few minutes. It recognized all the hardware and was able to get to the Internet. The Google apps are all on a dock like bar at the botom of the screen. Like most Live CDs it's also a bit slow so nothing to do but install it to the hard drive. This was an easy task. It uses the Ubuntu Installer and I quickly had the drives set up and the install started. It could be that this old machine with nothing but a CD ROM drive is slow but it seemed to take longer than what I've become use to when installing a Linux system. That said it went off without a hitch.

Linux always runs better from the hard drive and gOS is no exception. From the hard drive it really moves well. Open Office 2.3, Firefox and Thunderbird are included. It has an ample amount of other applications and if you don't have what you want the Ubuntu repositories are available to add the extras.

If you are not familar with Enlightenment it might be something you should check out. Unlike most desktop environments it has a unique way to change desktop screens. By default gOS only has one enabled. I like multi desktops so I enabled three more. In Enlightment to change to another desktop you move the cursor to the right off the main screen or off the bottom of the screen and you're in a new desktop. You have a "Start" button or you left click on the desktop screen to bring up the menu, a right click brings up favorite apps. Enlightment is lite and very configurable.

Other software I add to almost all Linux system includes W32codecs,libdvdcss2(not needed on this machine), wine, XMMS and vlc. You have to enable the restricted repositories in Synaptic. I also add "deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org etch main" to the sources list because some of the most useful multimedia packages aren't in Ubuntu's repositories.

There is one thing I think may be a bit of a turn off for Windows refugees, file-roler. This is the filemanager (think Explorer) and it is nothing like most filemanager currently used by most distros. It reminds me of ROX-filer and I personally like file-roler and ROX-filer because they use drag and drop for file management and in true Unix style they treat everything as a file. This makes it kind of strange to most people new to *nix but it is a way to see how a files system is set up and how it is used for system control.

My conclusion is that if you are looking for a good distro for an older machine this would be a good one to try. I've read a write up on a 800mhz machine with 256 MB of RAM with much the same results as I've seen. And like most distros I test If yu don't like it you've only used a little bandwidth and a CD to find out it's not for you.

gOS download

Everex PC is out of stock.
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#2
fleamailman

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great writeup silverbeard, when you say sold out at walmarks, did the salesman say why, was it just underproduction or was there a large overdemand, is linux becoming know is the states then. here(Switzerland) it is a kind of opensecret with mr average still very unaware while a lot of bankers and people in need of stability have secretly moved over to it. thanks
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#3
silverbeard

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Everex ran a 10000 unit production run and it appears to me that the press coverage in the Linux press made the demand. The thing is WalMart also ordered the production run of the same PC with twice the RAM and Vista HB that is still on the shelfs. People don't want Vista at $100 more is the message I see, but then I'm prejudice and think Vista is horrible. The over abundant use of resources and the need for twice the original requirement posted with longhorn.

My main question about Vista is "What takes twenty gig of hard drive for a fresh install?". My other for Linux installs on the same machine don't use that much drive space together. there are 4 of them

Edited by silverbeard, 20 November 2007 - 10:55 AM.

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#4
fleamailman

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thanks, curious, what distro are you running your other computers, Myself, I remain the low end extreme, kubuntu laptop 6gb 256 ram for $100.00 in your money (but what do I need more for I wonder if I have external storage), no bills, no malware, and no loss if damaged, btw I am going to change it to xubuntu next as I am told it is lighter, but lacks the forum to go with it, any input welcome
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#5
shard92

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Yes thank you for the review... for the system builders out there.... I saw an offer for the motherboard and processor for this system for like roughly $60 us. Also if you go to via's website they have links to other places that may or maynot have machines still available.... Dont' know if they are running gOS though.... You may also be able to get one direct from Everex.

While the machine is not a performer it is also much more energy frugal.... the C7 runs at 20w at peak according to via. Via also offers some free software to take advantage of some of the features of their processor ( including a security suite ) and many have windows and linux versions....
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#6
silverbeard

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The Green aspect of the C7 is one of the selling points of the Everex. I remember when 1.5 ghz was a powerful processor and none of them ran at 20 watts. I found this board and processor as advertised for $60 and added up what it would take to build a system around it. Checking out Pricewatch.com for the case(400w psu), 80GB sata hard drive, dvd burner, 1GB RAM,mouse and keyboard and you get a PC for less than $180 US. You spend about the same again for a flat panel monitor add a free OS like gOS and you have a descent PC for most of the tasks done by the average user. This could be a good Thin Client machine for a Terminal Server and you wouldn't need the hard drive or that much RAM. Lots of possibilities for this platform and system builders.

You can find the All-in One C7-D Mainboard here with a good view of the specifications.

Fleamailman,

I test a lot of distos. I prefer Debian based systems like Mepis and Ubuntu. I have machines with old PII processors with 128 MB of RAM that run a variety of lite weight distros like Puppy and DSL and two set up as Thin Client for a Skole 3 (Debianedu) terminal server I have running on my most powerful machine. It's my hobby to see what technologies are viable in a real world setting like my home. Most of the time it's just a matter of what to work on next or continue to work on or abandon out of unworkable conditions or boredom. Most test distros only last a week or two before they get replaced with something else.
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#7
fleamailman

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thanks
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#8
silverbeard

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Well Walmart has the Everex back in stock and Newegg is also caring this little jewel.

I decided to take the plunge and build my own base on the same mainboard. All the part, mainboard/w OS CD, DVD dual format dual layer, 80 gig Seagate barracuda SATA 150, 512 MB DDR2 and a case with 300w PSU for $165 US is not a bad deal and this is a nice little machine for most day to day tasks. With no lighted fans and no extra hardware I calculate at full load this machine should not top 150 watts in power consumption this should be an economical and eco-friendly.

I did away with the default gOS theme and reverted to the E17 Enlightenment "Bling Bling" theme with the ladybug wallpaper. Changed the shelfs arrangement to my liking and I think I may keep this machine a while just for something to play with. I want to see how heavy an OS I can make run in an acceptable manor. So far its a sweet machine.
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