Top Linux Distros: gOS

 Lesson 6 / Lesson 8

gOS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and created by "Good OS" corporation. This operating system gained popularity in its early versions because it broughr Google applications to the gOS/Ubuntu desktop through an attractive icon filled dock at the bottom of the screen. gOS used this Google application access along with its focus on netbooks, often releases new products on debuting hardware and even landed a gig at Wal-Mart installed on the Everex PC before being pulled off the shelf due to lack of sales.

In early November of 2007, the gOS Linux Operating System was presented along with the Everex gPC available at Wal-Mart and on-line. The gPC desktop system was priced at 9 and its early succes must be attributed to the gOS 1.0 Operating system based on Ubuntu 7.10 + enlightenment. The original gOS 1.0 OS offered many enhancements over it's Ubuntu base, the most noticeable being links to interact with Web 2.0 applications by Google and other vendors. These applications included Facebook, Blogger, Google searches, Wikipedia, Youtube and more.

The second version of the popular Everex gPC, the gPC2 TC2512 offered users many enhancements from the original version. This model offers users a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, allowing users to quickly and effortlessly create CDs, transfer digital files and surf the Internet with broadband-ready 10/100 Ethernet port. The gPC2 also had 512MB DDR2 memory which allows you to access multiple programs without a performance decrease. The 80 GB hard drive gave users plenty of space for their files and the versatile DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive allows the watching of your favorite DVDs in no time.

The gPC2 brought us gOS Rocket, the second version of the popular Linux distribution and the first to make major waves in the Linux community. gOS Rocket came with pre-installed and linked software like Mozilla FireFox, gMail, Meebo, Skype, Google Documents & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, Google News, Google Maps, Wikipedia, Google Product Search, GIMP, Blogger, YouTube, Xine Movie Player, RhythmBox, Facebook and 2.3 which included Writer, Calc, Draw, and Impress for all office needs. The original gOs Rocket version was based on E17 however another version followed shortly after and it was completely rewritten and now based on the GNOME window manager, Compiz fusion, and the Avant Window Navigator. At first gOS Rocket was only available on Rocket powered Linux systems like the Everex Cloudbook but soon after was available to the public.

On April 6, 2008, Good OS launched a new publicly available version of gOS, called gOS 2.9 Space which appeard on the gPC mini computer. This gOS version especially targeted the many myspace users around the world and was also based on Compiz fusion, Gnome, and the Avant Window Navigator dock manager, but it also used E17 code. A seperate version of gOS Space was designed based on Ubuntu 8.04 during July of 2008. gOS version 2.9M, Escape Pod, as it was called, was created for the Sylvania g NetBook. It was similar to the original Everex CloudBook with more memory, and the trackpad and buttons were moved to the front of the device.

On August 6th 2008, the gOS 3.0 beta version was released and exhibited at LinuxWorld where it was included on NetBooks by Everex and also on the Elego by Amtek. With the final release just around the corner in September of 2008, the newest member of the gOS family is codenamed gOS Gadgets and for good reason. The Ubuntu 8.04.1-based OS gives users access to more than 100,000 iGoogle and Google Gadgets which are lightweight, useful applications that bring the power of the Internet to your desktop. In addition to the Google application changes, gOS 3.0 Gadgets also includes Wine preloaded which allows the use of thousands of Google applications right on your gOS Linux desktop.

gOS is placed in the Netbook/Laptop category because though this Linux distribution has numerous uses, its primary focus remains development for Netbook hardware. The most recent evidence of this is the gOS Cloud release which was developed for specific hardware and features a desktop, apps, and data running live on the internet instead of on your hard drive.

Desktop Screenshot
The desktop of versions gOS1 through gOS3 consisted of a green desktop and colorful, floating icon dock at the bottom. gOS 3 also featured the addition of widget style gadgets containing Google and other applications placed anywhere on the gOS desktop. The most recent version of gOS, Cloud, features not much of a desktop at all. gOS kept the popular icon dock at the bottom but did away with almost everything else opting to use an on-line browser that looks similar to Chrome from Google to contain the entire desktop.

Help Resources
The gOS distribution originally had poor documentation which was unexpected as it was an inexpensive Linux desktop being sold to Windows users at Wal-Mart. Many users were confused by the OS not realizing what Linux even was or how it worked. Fortunately gOS caught on in the Linux community and many users gave it a try and liked it. Now the community is larger than before and more likely to help but no significant effort to produce a good collection of documentation has been made. One gOS Training CD with movie tutorials is available.

gOS has been only released as an OEM install on specific hardware. The gOS website,, provides detailed descriptions of what the cloud is all about and how it works but does not offer a download of the new OS. The offer the popular gOS Gadgets for download and hint to the Cloud being available to the public in the future.

My Feeling
gOS is exciting and innovative. The company produces unique releases that have been different than anything else out there. Good OS has had good ideas from the start with Google applications, then gadgets, now the cloud. One thing I can't get over is how often this Linux distribution has changed. It may make a great entertainment distro to mess around on and do some neat tricks on but will it be supported for years? Or even months?

The installation process for gOS is the same basic process for many Linux distributions. Insert the CD for gOS and then boot the system to the gOS disk. Beware that when you install gOS, as in the installation of any operating system, you will probably end up erasing everything that was on the disk previously.

When the disk boots to the Desktop you will see an icon for "Install". Double-click that icon and the first window will open to set the Language.

Set your time zone for the computer.

Select your keyboard layout.

When you go to install on the hard drive you have several options. The Guided option will do most of the work for you and wipe out the disk and install the gOS system. That is the easiest method. If you don't know what to do, choose that one as it is straightforward.

The other option is the option, "Manual", that is chosen for this tutorial.

You will notice in the screen shots that there were two disks attached to the box, an 80 GB hard drive and a 256 MG flash drive. If you have more than two drives you will need to select the one you want. This drive is a SATA drive so it is detected as sda. If you hda a IDE drive it would be detected as hda.

You will need to create a few partitions for the drive. In this example four partitions will be created.

/boot 500

/ 8000

SWAP 2000

/home 69000

All four are created as Primary partitions. If you have more than four partitions you would need to create logical partitions. Place the partition size in the size option. Then choose the file system type you want to use, these are set up as ext3, the standard. You have to enter the mount point. Each of the partitions is a separate mount point.

Here you can see the partition created.

This is the / partition.

The SWAP is the location on the hard drive that your machine will use to swap files into when it runs out of RAM. The SWAP size should be about twice the size of your RAM.

In this example, the /home directory takes up the remainder of the disk.

Enter the user information. Note that typically the first user installed will be the administrator of the box.

Review your settings.

The drive is formatted and partitions are created.

If you see this issue it is simply that the machine cannot connect to the Internet currently.

That should do it. Again, if you have problems revert back to the basic install as it is the easiest.