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Moblin Beta 2 evolves into a capable Linux option for netbooks

Developers continue to push ahead with Moblin - the fast-booting Linux distribution aimed at providing a better instant-on experience. Today marks the official release of Beta 2, and it's taking shape rather nicely.

The user interface has been completely overhauled, transforming the Moblin experience from a stark, minimal Linux desktop into a more HP MIE-like experience. Hover at the top edge of your screen and the main menu appears, providing access to programs, settings, and files. There's even a built-in Twitter status updater and IM support for Jabber, GTalk, and Salut.

web browser is built on Mozilla and tweaked with an Opera-style speed dial display for new tabs. And of course there's a media player included for browsing photos, listening to music, or checking out movies on your tiny portable.

The new M-Zone displays appointments, calendar entries, and tasks, and allows users to customize their start page with commonly used applications and URLs (speed dial entries automatically appear). The pasteboard is another nice touch, and makes gathering and managing snippets easy.

All in all, the project has come a long way in a short time span and it's starting to look like a solid Linux alternative for Intel-powered netbooks and notebooks. It ran extremely well on my 15.4" Toshiba guinea pig.

(check in later for more updates after the break)
More cool features in beta 2:
  • data sync, which support Funambol, Memotoo, ScheduleWorld, and Synthesis
  • games: Neverball, Neverputt, and Frozen Bubble (can haz Wormux?)
  • web services support in M_Zone for Twitter and Last.Fm - with more likely coming

Tags: instant-on, moblin, opensource, osupdates