Intel releases Moblin 2 alpha for netbooks, MIDs

Moblin may not have garnered much press coverage, but Intel is still developing the operating system for netbooks and mobile Internet devices (MIDs) based on its hardware. And according to Ars Technica, the chipmaker has now released the first alpha build of Moblin 2.

The open-source OS uses Linux as its base, and Ars says it’s actually derived from the Fedora distribution. However, Intel has made changes to make it snappier and more suitable for Atom-powered handhelds: the official release notes mention a “Fastboot” feature, a custom networking manager, and some special user-interface development tools. Speaking of user interfaces, Moblin uses the lightweight Xfce desktop environment instead of more resource-hungry alternatives like GNOME and KDE.

You can grab Moblin for your netbook or MID from the Test Drive Moblin page. Intel offers a 280MB live image that can be copied to a USB pen drive, and it says it’s tested the alpha release on Acer Aspire One, Asus Eee PC, and Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbooks.

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    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 11 years ago

    Maybe (when it comes out gold) I’ll replace ExpressGate with this?

    • apaige
    • 11 years ago

    g{

      • Ethyriel
      • 11 years ago

      Using the latest Moblin build? Relative to a comparable composited Xfce desktop?

      I didn’t know that the entire Linux world centered around compositing. It’s an odd realization for me, considering I don’t use compositing at all.

        • apaige
        • 11 years ago

        I downloaded the linked USB image and booted my Acer Aspire One with it. I didn’t choose to enable compositing, it was on by default.

        Also, the fonts are ridiculously big for such a tiny screen, many dialogs don’t even fit. The only thing Intel seems to have optimized so far, is boot time. That’s what they released the alpha build for? That doesn’t warrant a public alpha release if you ask me.

        My tweaked Arch Linux install on the AAO doesn’t boot nearly as fast, but it performs several orders of magnitude better. What an ill-advised release!

          • Ethyriel
          • 11 years ago

          Keep in mind that Moblin is more of a framework, especially at this point. That and the fact that it’s still using Xfce indicate that they’re far from a polished state they intend to be somewhere post 2.0

    • Sargent Duck
    • 11 years ago

    Why on Earth does Intel want to get into the software game? (Well, I know they have compilers and such, but that’s always been a little “behind-the-scenes”). I can’t see this becoming a big revenue stream for them.

    Unless someone would care to explain it me…

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      q[

        • ludi
        • 11 years ago

        Yeah, Intel is just about positioned to supply every core hardware netbook (or even notebook) component except the RAM (they can always buddy up with Micron for a bulk supply) and some peripheral components outside their main area of expertise, like the display, keyboard, and touchpad. The OS is presently a $30-ish dollar chunk of revenue going to Microsoft.

        Intel might be thinking they could lower the end-user price /[

      • muyuubyou
      • 11 years ago

      Intel has a good head start on Netbooks, which are the only growing segment, and it’s only logical that they want to preserve it.

      Notice it’s not a lone effort, it’s GPL and whatever they do will be picked by the community, it’s not like Microsoft started designing x86 chips.

      • stmok
      • 11 years ago

      Its about the platform. Hardware without software is nothing.

      Becoming less dependent on Microsoft for your software needs, and actually taking matters into your own hands, saves you money in the long term. (Not to mention get free developer community involved).

      Some businesses (like Intel), and Linux enthusiasts understand this quite well.

    • Corrado
    • 11 years ago

    It boots on my MSI Wind. The only thing that works is the keyboard though. No touchpad. Not impressed.

      • tfp
      • 11 years ago

      l[

        • Corrado
        • 11 years ago

        It won’t see it as a generic USB mouse though? It sees it on the Aspire One, and the EeePC. The hardware is pretty much the same…

          • tfp
          • 11 years ago

          You were complaining about a touch pad first not a USB mouse.

          And yes things don’t work in alpha builds, that’s why normally no one releases an alpha build to the general public for any amount of usage.

            • Corrado
            • 11 years ago

            The touchpad IS a USB mouse.

            • tfp
            • 11 years ago

            USB is a critical item for an OS on a alpha release? I expect not

            Though it must be partial working right? Isn’t the keyboard usb? Does the touch pad normally have a specific driver that might not be there yet?

            • Ethyriel
            • 11 years ago

            I’d guess that the Synaptics driver works, but the Alps does not. Most Winds shipped with an Alps touchpad, iirc. There was a big stink that early review units had Synaptics parts, but they shipped with Alps.

            • Corrado
            • 11 years ago

            These days, yes, USB is a REQUIREMENT for something to work. What other pointing device are you going to use if its not USB when this is for NETBOOKS? I have not seen a netbook with a PS2 port, have you? I can use bluetooth… except bluetooth doesn’t work in Moblin either. And mine is a Synaptics touchpad. They shipped with Synaptics at first, and now Sentelic. You don’t need a Synaptics driver for it to work, as it works with a generic USB HID driver. It works in Ubuntu setup, it works in OS X with no special driver, it works in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Red Hat. Why would it be out of the realm of belief that this Intel Linux, based no doubt on some kind of popular distribution that I can guarantee works fine with a Synaptics touchpad, would not work?

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            Oh, I’m sure DHL had something to do with it.

            Seriously, have you tried connecting a general-purpose mouse and confirmed that it really is a general USB problem, and not something-specific-to-the-touchpad problem? USB is kind to the user on the front end only in exchange to being very unkind to the developer on the backend. Just because you’ve only seen the white half of the yin-yang doesn’t mean there’s no legitimate reason for it to be broken on an alpha test release.

            • tfp
            • 11 years ago

            On an Alpha build? It’s like you expect it to be a full release already. This isn’t even a beta build, it’s to be expect that somethings don’t work…

            Also so then yes your keyboard is USB, so that means that USB is working. It does not mean they have the default drivers to support the touch pad or everything else you think is required for a final release.

            • Corrado
            • 11 years ago

            Why is everyone so butt hurt that I said I was not impressed?

            And I’m not POSITIVE my keyboard is USB. Its got a lot more than 4 wires going to it. It may be, but it may not be. The touchpad definitely has only 4 wires going to it.

            I KNOW what alpha means, I KNOW it means stuff may or may not work, but basic functionality should work in my opinion. There are apparently no NIC or WLAN drivers built in. I’m not quite sure what the devs are aiming for if you really can’t do anything with it other than go ‘ooh pretty, it boots’ and turn it back off.

            • tfp
            • 11 years ago

            I don’t know why anyone in there right mind would release an alpha build external for anyone to try, I see no reason to do so or why anyone should be impressed.

            Though people shouldn’t expect much either either from an alpha build.

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            My butt is doing fine at the moment, so if you need to borrow the Preparation H, I can lend it out for a couple days.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            I think he needs lube not Prep H, it seems he feels he’s being shafted by an alpha build :rolleyes:

            • Corrado
            • 11 years ago

            If it makes everyone happier, i LOVE it. Better?

            • ludi
            • 11 years ago

            Yay!

    • pikaporeon
    • 11 years ago

    wasn’t this an enemy from the Legend of Zelda series?

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Yup. Moblins were the dog-like guys that threw/swung spears at you.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    I can’t help but pronounce this like it rhymes with “goblin” even though I know that’s not their intent. It’s Linux for the Cosa Nostra!

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      That’s how I read it too.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 11 years ago

    so, would this run well on my eee 901?

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    I’m reminded of those 80s rubbery things called Boglins for some reason.

      • stmok
      • 11 years ago

      Moblin => l[

    • jackaroon
    • 11 years ago

    Pssst… the subject says “Mobiln” instead of “Moblin.” Fix it before anyone notices!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 11 years ago

      OH NOES TOO LATE

        • jackaroon
        • 11 years ago

        If i could delete my comment now, I would.

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