gOS Space 2.9: Blatant OS X Leopard Rip-Off, Linux for the Masses, Or Both?

desktop.jpgDespite the many, many flaws we encountered while using gOS on the CloudBook, this operating system, which relies heavily on Web-based applications, is, in theory, one that should be pretty kicking. So when news came across the wire a few days ago that Everex’ new, limited edition MyMiniPC packed a new version of gOS, we were instantly intrigued. Then, when we we took a gander at the screens, we nearly blew our collective morning beverages onto our monitors. gOS Space 2.9 (a tweaked version of Ubuntu using Compiz-Fusion and GNOME) shamelessly takes a heavy, heavy cue from Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard. How heavy? Let’s see . . . When we booted the OS, we were presented with a beautiful outer-space theme with stars twinkling in the background. Hmm. Then, we noticed the reflective AWN dock that houses the system’s various open-source applications. Hmm. Finally, we discovered that clicking on certain dock icons opens an elegant, arching fan of sub-icons. Oh my. Okay, gOS is a little more than “inspired,” but it is without a doubt the most beautiful Linux distro that we’ve ever seen; icons become illuminated and rotate when moused over, and the starry, earth-orbit view desktop wallpaper is simply stunning. More importantly, gOS Space 2.9 offers a few decent features that help it stand on its own, particularly if you’re a fan of the MySpaces. Check out some of the deets after the jump.

myspaceapps.jpg

  • Tight integration with MySpace. Clicking the dedicated MySpace dock icon opens a Stacks-like fan for quickly jumping to MySpace Comedy, MySpace Film, MySpace Mail, and other sections of the popular social networking site. The dock also features Super Clock, Super Graffiti, Super Mood, and Super Quotes applications that let us add the time, graffiti, current mood, and quotes to one of our MySpace profiles. We’re not big on it, but we figure the target demographic will dig it.
  • Fun “Stack” - Quick links MySpacer Layouts, and a link to David Liu’s MySpace page (the founder of gOS Space 2.9). Mr. Liu also has an “Ask David” link where we assume the gOS head honcho will help you with any potential problems.
  • News “Stack” - Quick links to Valleywag, TMZ, The Superficial, Pop Sugar, Perez Hilton, MTV News, and other vital sites designed to stimulate the minds of America’s youth.
  • Video “Stack” – Quick links to YouTube, Veoh, Google Video, and other video repositories.
  • Photo “Stack” – Quick links to Splash Up, Picnik, Flickr, Photobucket, and other photo sites.
  • Music “Stack” – Quick links to Yahoo Music, Pandora, MySpace Music, and other free online music sites. Oddly, Slacker, our favorite streaming music site, is M.I.A.
  • Compatibility with Google Gears – For accessing Gmail and Google Docs & Spreadsheets when you’re offline.

desktop21.jpg

Of course, like other Linux distros, gOS Space 2.9 comes stacked with open source applications such as the OpenOffice suite and Gimp, which are very nice alternatives to Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. We also love that gOS Space 2.9 includes multiple desktops that you can navigate between using your mouse’s scroll wheel. It isn’t just a simple jump from desktop to desktop; the entire screen rotates. It’s more than a bit awesome. So what’s the early verdict on gOS Space 2.9? Granted, this was just a brief once-over, but we have to say that the new OS looks plenty good. While some have said that Linux is the OS of choice for the geek set, and that Linux mini-notebooks aren’t ready for big-box retailers, the new gOS looks to have the polish to appeal to a mainstream audience. But the question remains: Will gOS Space 2.9 save the CloudBook? We’ll explore that topic shortly.

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  1. yochai Says:

    Interesting article. I have a few contentions, though. While I agree that there are some definite similarities with Leopard (albeit quite a few more with Mac OS X in general) I would disagree with the notion that it’s “ripping off” anything. The “dock” has been around longer than apple; all the way back to RISC OS II —- and some version of the dock has been utilized in the unix world ever since. NextStep (a steve jobs production) developed the dock heavily, and it eventually made its way into the popular closed-source OS. Lastly, I find the dock to be largely counter-intuitive to computer use; I generally have more than a few windows open and I like to see what I’m going to click on — not just it’s icon. For example, I typically have two firefox windows, a text document, an openoffice document/spreadsheet, and internet explorer (running in wine, of course). It’s simply easier to control if I can see what page each program is displaying. So I don’t see how that makes it a superior framework, stacks or no. Finally, the concept of “Stacking” has been a gnome idea for years; prevalent in both BSD and Linux. OS X just recently caught up.

  2. Tarasu Oliver Says:

    We can always find some antecedents to anything in this world, but lets face it – its a shameless ripoff – but hey… why not!! They – **ple have done the same!! More over one is charging money for it.

  3. Dave Liu Says:

    I agree with yochai. @yochai, thanks for pointing this out.

    Thanks for the honest review, albeit the title is a bit of a sensation! A lot of people in the open source community feel that Apple ripped off the open source community, not the other way around. If there were more awareness of the true origins of GUI elements, I think one might be surprised that the majority of them are from the open source community, not Apple.

    This does spotlight something I would like to engage the open source community on… marketing, showcasing our work for the world to see and be educated about. We’re excited about projects like Compiz-Fusion, Avant Windows Navigator, etc. for bringing Linux closer to the masses. We hope in time credit will be given to the open source community for everything they’ve freely developed and made freely available so that everyone can enjoy them, even if it is through the filter of proprietary products like Windows and Mac OSX.

    -Dave

  4. Mike Cane Says:

    >>>gOS Space 2.9 (a tweaked version of Ubuntu using Compiz-Fusion and GNOME)

    You nearly lost me right there. I’ve heard of Ubuntu (the cultists are endless!) but Compiz-Fusion and GNOME?

    Groan.

    Maybe you should put stuff like that in a footnote. It just makes my head spin. And I think that’s the case for most people who simply want Something That Works.

  5. Rayven Says:

    Well it Look nice but its got one problem its Linux and with any linux OS its a pain in the A** to install anything on. Ok so i have a problem with Linux I know Linux is a great OS and its got some good stuff on it but for an average user who uses Mac OS X or WIndows will find Linux painful to work with they can put Many Bells and Whistles on it Linux but its still Linux & not every one in the world is a Computer Programmer and I feel you need to be a programmer to use Linux. Linux Creators Need to Make it Easy to use if they want to take it further in the OS market they only haver 2% of the OS market which is a Joke For any OS

  6. Tom Says:

    uh… os x rips off linux ALL the time. so apple came up with a cool dock … so some open source generous programmers made some great apps like kiba dock for linux. mind you they did it far better than apple too.

    it’s very hard to compare linux gnome / compiz to any other operating system’s window manager because it’s far more advanced with opengl support and such.

    there are hardly any opengl effects in windows vista or os x leopard. just some translucency stuff pretty much and some basic basic transition effects (new vista feature for switching tasks).

    i’m glad someone is releasing a distro that’s a bit more pretty because most aren’t. they are functional. linux is designed to be functional…but it’s really usually up to the user to make it pretty. so don’t think of it as a rip off of leopard so much as inspired by. because believe me, the software running this is WAYYYY more advanced than what leopard has.

    and besides there much better looking stuff for linux than this.
    though yes you are correct that this does look exactly like leopard’s dock and yes it was made after leopard.

  7. SonicFreak94 Says:

    OS X is Unix based which is pretty much the same as linux, of course they got all this stuff.

  8. Ted Says:

    You dont seem to have done any research on this. Apple are well known for stealing open source code, OS X is a well known Linux rip off. Apple spend all their time making flashy adverts to fool suckers like you. And it works. They have no time to program.

  9. HalfSight Says:

    Wow. What a horrible, uninformed article. OSX is Based from BSD which is based on unix which linux is based off of. I mean seriously Apple and MS stole their window design from xerox. MAC and MS constantly rip off open source communities. And to the person that says you have to be a programmer to run linux. I have never done any programming and I run linux on a regular basis. In ubuntu there is the Add/Remove function which makes installing apps a breeze. Actually by your statement I would guess that you have only seen 1 linux distro and not actually used it.

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