You probably saw the news yesterday that MeeGo is available for download for the Nokia N900 Maemo smartphone and netbooks. MeeGo is the marriage of Moblin Linux from Intel with Nokia's Maemo OS used on the N900 and older Nokia Internet Tablets.
We installed MeeGo on our 2 year old Acer Aspire One netbook with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1 gig of RAM and an 8.9" display. We're talking one of the original netbooks here, so it's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But it turns out MeeGo and the little Acer were both up to the task, as you'll see in our video.
MeeGo is free to download from www.meego.com and the netbook image is 800 megs. You'll use a disc imaging program to put that 800 meg image file on a USB drive (a straight copy won't work but there are plenty of free disc image burners knocking around the Net). Then you can either boot from the USB drive to give MeeGo a test, or install it on the computer's hard drive. Nice to have that try before you cry option.
There are a few things that pleasantly surprised us: MeeGo runs very quickly on the old Acer and everything worked-- we mean everything: Fn keys for brightness and volume, audio, video, the webcam. It was shockingly quick and painless to install and we didn't have to tweak a thing. Sweet.
The OS isn't exactly full of eyecandy but the navigation and UI are intuitive, fresh and friendly. If you're afraid of Linux and aren't a tinkerer, MeeGo is your speed. Of course you Linux geeks can tweak and hack all you want.
The basics are there: the Google Chrome web browser with Flash, an email program, heavy IM support for most every service, a music player, a video player and Twitter. So do check out the video and see if MeeGo might breath life into your old netbook too.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview