Moblin 2.0 is one of the best operating systems of its kind we've seen. The clean and slick interface offers easy access to the majority of functions that most users will be looking for.
Fast, simple interface; optimised for netbooks; excellent browsing capability.
Lack of customisation; rough around the edges.
Intel recently unveiled a publically available beta version of Moblin 2.0, the next iteration of the chip maker's Linux-based operating system designed for netbooks.
Although Intel has had a long standing partnership with Microsoft, the company has teamed up with Novell to develop Moblin specifically for the growing market of netbooks and mobile internet devices.
The install is pretty straightforward, but creating a bootable install disk is slightly more difficult than with some other operating systems. However, the Moblin site provides plenty of detailed information to get you up and running.
Furthermore, you can opt to run the beta from a CD or USB key without installing it first. You won't be able to save any settings, but you'll have the option of testing the operating system and its features without going through the process of installing it.
Once up and running, users are presented with a remarkably bare backdrop and an auto-hiding toolbar along the top, providing a static set of tabs to all of Moblin's features.
First and foremost is Myzone, which gives a general overview of your life. The screen is split into three panels. On the left you'll find a calendar as well as links to your favourite applications, the centre panel highlights recently accessed files and web sites, while social network updates are on the right.
The next tab is Status, which allows users to update their status on their favourite social networking sites. Only Twitter and Last.fm are supported at this stage, but more social networks are expected to be added soon.
This is followed by the People tab, which provides an interface to all your contacts. Although this section is still at a very early stage and has limited functionality, the aim is to provide an integrated list of contacts from across different platforms, as well as presence information and access to instant messaging.
The Internet panel is a browser based on Google's Chrome engine. As well as a full web browser, including the tabbed browsing seen in most browsers today, it includes an integrated 'automagic' bar that provides suggestions based on running, favourite and recently viewed web sites as users begin typing.
Next is the Media tab, which provides easy access to recently played and viewed media files and the ability to search for specific media. This section is also in its early stages, but Intel has plans for a playlist feature and other searching and sorting functions.
The Pasteboard allows users to store and manage multiple copied items, and makes it simpler to copy and paste between applications.