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Jolicloud: The Online Desktop For Joli OS

Today Jolicloud announced on their blog A new direction for Jolicloud…. Here’s what was included in the announcement:

  • Starting with the next update the OS will be known as Joli OS 1.2.
  • Jolicloud is now the name of the online desktop that is part of Joli OS 1.2 and web apps for Chrome, Firefox 4, Safari 5 & iPad.
  • Joli OS 1.2 will be released “later this week”.
  • A future Android app for Jolicloud is in the works.
  • New screenshots & details will be available in the next few days.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in all at once.

What does this all mean? In my opinion, it shows a significant shift in focus from the Linux OS to the online desktop app. Their plan is to get their online desktop(now known as Jolicloud) on as many devices as possible. They don’t want to be tied down to just the Linux distro. They want every HTML5 compliant browser & device to use their desktop.

Should the Joli OS users be concerned? Possibly. The new focus on the online desktop could come at the expense of the OS. However, the online desktop is a major part of the OS & updates to it could come more frequently even without updates to the core Linux OS. They have probably decided they have gone as far as they can on the Linux updates now that they have provided support for a wide range of devices. They have also mentioned more than a few times that they are no longer adding anymore local(Linux) apps. All future apps are web/HTML5 apps.

So if all the focus going forward is on Jolicloud, how are they going to make it worthy? I’ve seen & heard on many occasions people saying the app launcher is just a bunch of bookmarks. And basically it is. Anybody can add a bunch of bookmarks to their web browser. And even Chrome will allow you to sync those with your Google account. The only thing Jolicloud brings differently is a directory of web apps & the ability to discover new & popular apps from your Jolicloud friends. But even that might not make it a worthy web app to be used outside of the Joli OS. The social element could really use some additional features like discovering new Jolicloud users on your Facebook & Twitter friend lists. Plus, integrating those updates into your Jolicloud stream could be more useful.

Cloud computing is also not just about your apps or your friends, it’s also about your data. This is one area Jolicloud hasn’t tackled well. So far they’ve only just provided links to cloud storage services like Dropbox. They might be trying to fix that with their new HTML5 filesystem. Speculation I’ve seen is that the Linux file manager Nautilus is going to be replaced with the new HTML5 filesystem as seen in their most recent screenshot. If they’re right, then they might be going to focus more on cloud storage instead of local storage. That could theoretically allow you to access your cloud data right from the new HTML5 file manager instead of logging into those services separately. Something like that would make Jolicloud more useful as a web app.

Whatever Jolicloud has in store for us will definitely be interesting to see. I can’t wait. Check back often for more updates as they come.

Tommy McClain

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