Firefox powered operating system review
Although Google has dashed the front lines with its Chrome browser-based OS, it is Firefox which is more suitable as a base for an operating system: thanks to its almost unlimited extensions for add-ons, plugins and themes, you can make your Firefox extremely powerful and Uniquely you. When one looks at an array of applications built on the same powerful framework as Firefox, one realizes how appropriate it is as the foundation of a cloud operating system; Compared to Google Chrome, which.
xPUD builds around Firefox, and plays a custom minimalist interface for all your basic needs. The user interface of “Plate” is web-based and runs on Firefox. This makes the OS interface quite hackable by the end user. xPUD comes with very few applications installed by default. That said, it does not dedicate its ability to install additional applications and actually has its own system called Opt-Gate to deliver the applications. The opt-gate system is designed to be very easy to use and applications can be downloaded and installed directly from the Internet using bundled applications. Applications can be downloaded as packaged .opt files, and only need to be dropped in the / opt folder to be loaded automatically during bootup!
OS packs the latest Mozilla Firefox 3.5 browser and gnome-mplayer for all your multimedia playback needs. It also has a file manager and a terminal for browsing your file system so you can mock into the OS if you want.
Notable about XPUD is its relatively small 64MB download size! Although the OS doesn’t come with much, it’s still quite significant. The range of applications available for the OS is small, but it covers all the essentials, such as additional drivers, Windows codecs for video playback, Dropbox for syncing your files in the cloud, Skype, OpenOffice.org and “additional utilities”. Better client transmission, a text editor, an image viewer and a PDF viewer, among other applications.
With all this installed, there is little ground left to cover the needs of a normal netbook. While the same cannot be said of applications, the OS’s user interface is ideal for use with a touch-screen. For those who do not feel comfortable using the online office suite, it is available at the OpenOffice.org opt-gate repository. With the inclusion of Media Player, you don’t need to be limited to just playing online videos, and with the installation of the codec pack, you’ll be able to play back all kinds of content, including proprietary formats. With Dropbox, you can easily sync all your data to the web and you can get internet telephony via Skype.
In addition, since the browser is Firefox, you have access to a variety of powerful plugins that come with it. You can use a plugin like FoxyTunes to transform your browser into a full-featured music player, or use FireFTP to easily browse FTP files.
The operating system is also very light, has very low minimum system requirements and requires only 256MB to operate. Only this minimal amount of RAM performs admirably when started on a configured virtual machine. The interface was smooth and responsive and the browser took quite a while to load as expected, the whole experience was not bad. With this operating system you can easily transform your old desktop into a nettop computer without having to discard it.
xPUD comes with single-site-browsers for Facebook, Google Calender, Meebo and YouTube, but doesn’t seem like an easy way to add your own. These open up websites in a separate browser, thus preventing them from crashing into each other. Similar to the Chrome browser method of running each tab in its own process.
You can try different ways using xPUD. You can download and test it on your system using a LiveCD or using a VM. It can be installed on a USB drive using unetbootin, and xPUD even comes with an .exe installer for Windows that can install xPUD with Windows on your hard drive without messing with the partition. It is also possible to install simultaneously with existing Linux installations. However, it does not come with any tools to allow it to be installed on a hard disk partition.
Despite all its brilliance, there are many points about xPUD that make it annoying to use occasionally. For one, the OS still has no way of adding your own site to its list of web-apps, which is a pity for operating systems designed for the cloud.
Applications included in the OS and applications available in the repository are also not customized to blend with the interface, unlike JolieCloud or Moblin.
xPUD finally plans to be a fully modular OS, where you can mix and match the modules you want to create, making it unique among the tested distributions.
Overall, xPUD provides a good balance of minimalism and extensibility and allows a user to give their OS as much juice as it needs. Although for now we would recommend you to install this OS in a virtualized environment, it seems to be moving in an interesting direction, and a strong competitor is the field of cloud OS.
Manage files and settings in xPUD
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