The gOS, first reactions

We couldn’t wait for out IT guys, who are swamped at the moment, so we went ahead and installed the gOS on an old ThinkPad we had laying around the office. Here are the benefits, as I see them initially:

  • low cost leveraged against high performance: Whether it’s me or the machine, there is very little I need in terms of offline apps to handle my everyday activities, so this OS works well for someone who has an understanding of where to go to find the solutions they need.
  • it looks like Mac OS X: and who wouldn’t love that!
  • Salvage: the machine we installed it on was a mess, capable of frustrating a student and teacher with slow startup time, limited battery life while running CPU-hogging software and the fan was always kicking on. Nothing like that with this install. Silent as it runs, fast enough, and at least 2 hours of battery life (although I can’t find where to check that out yet).

What does this mean for us? In our district, we are short on actual machines, so the fact that we can recommission older machines using this OS is huge, but we still run short on machines per student. This type of OS, which is made up of almost entirely Google Apps, forces the hand of the user to have Google accounts, which I also like. Several teachers in our buildings are planning on make that as compulsory as having pens and notebooks next year; this machine would be perfect for that.

I am taking it home this weekend to see if I can poke some holes in it as a student would. We’ll see how that goes. Any suggestions for possible experimental scenarios?

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4 thoughts on “The gOS, first reactions

  1. Patrick-

    I’ve never heard of this OS…one that I’ve been intrigued by is ubuntu…we cycle out our school owned laptops and I was thinking we could put ubuntu or a like OS on these laptops so students could check them out and use them in school and/or take them home. Next year we’ll have public WiFi on campus and many of our students will be bringing in their personally owned laptops to school…but a good number of students will not have laptops-giving a 2nd life to our old equipment with a fresh install of an open source OS might help us get pretty close to a laptop for all of our students.

    If I get some time I hope to load up ubuntu on an old computer…and now that I know about gos, that one as well.


  2. Matt,

    This is actually based on Ubuntu, or so I am told by our IT department, and it is pretty slick. It’s going to be a big shift for a lot of our teachers getting their heads around a) an OS that is not Windows-based, b) one that has very little, if any, link to our network, and c) one that requires students to work with web-based applications for word processing, photo editing, etc. Personally, I couldn’t be more psyched about those three points, but as with anything, the learning curve has to be very gradual in order for change to be successful.

    I am going to spend some time trying to poke some usability holes in it this weekend. We’ll see what happens.

  3. The way that we installed was to wipe out the original OS, but I don’t see why you can’t run this on a partition or off an external drive. I’ll bring this by your building tomorrow if we have school. Go snow!

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