When the first wave of netbook computers appeared, I got myself an Asus Eee-PC 901. I loved it, and used it to play around with various flavors of Linux, even Chrome OS. But since then, I’ve been forced to buy a full-size laptop computer, and I handed the 901 down to my daughter. At first I installed Ubuntu, but the 4 GB SSD in the Asus turned out to be too small for that to really work out. So I decided to try Joli OS instead. And I think it’s great. Especially for kids.
Joli OS is an operating system developed by French company Jolicloud. I think it’s based on Ubuntu, but it greatly simplifies the user interface. The Desktop looks very much that on an iPad, with big app icons, and very little else. The apps are mostly cloud services, which open in a Chrome browser. Joli OS comes with an “app store” of sorts to add more apps, and syncs your sessions with the could, so you can use it seamlessly on several devices.
My daughter turned eight this month, and she’s been using her netbook al lot more since I installed Joli OS. She has her own Gmail address and a Twitter account, and she loves watching music videos on YouTube. All of these services come standard with a Joli install. They’re available as big, recognizable icons on the home screen, and since all windows open in “maximized” mode, there’s no confusion about which window is active. It’s all just really, really easy. Ruby doesn’t really seem to mind that there’s no Tux Paint.
If you have young children, and you’ve also got an older laptop or netbook lying around somewhere, give Joli a try. It’s helping my kids become more web-savvy, which I think is a good thing.