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Laptop | February 2011
Two years ago, Google Android was barely a
blip on anyone’s radar. Today, the operat-
ing system is a major player in the mobile
space, accounting for 21.4 percent of the smart
phone market in September 2010, and it’s quickly
moving into tablets. MeeGo, a new Linux-based
OS, has similar aspirations. First announced in
February 2010, MeeGo was formed by a union
between two major open-source OS projects with
heavy weight support, Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s
Maemo. Today, the MeeGo project is hosted by the
Linux Foundation, with strong backing from its two
corporate founders and contributions from more
than 1,000 developers.
MeeGo’s main advantage is its flexibility.
The same core operating system is designed to
be used in a nearly endless variety of devices,
including smart phones, netbooks, tablets, set-
top boxes, and in-vehicle entertainment systems.
Developers will be able to write one application
that can be easily adapted to run on all of these
different device types.
Though device manufacturers will have a lot of
flexibility to customize MeeGo to suit their needs,
the project has different standard user interfaces,
which it calls User Experiences (UX), for various
devices, including netbooks, smart phones, and
in-vehicle “infotainment” systems. MeeGo claims
that the netbook UX has an intuitive tab-based
interface and that it’s lightweight and boots faster
Want to gauge the potential of MeeGo yourself?
You can download the MeeGo Netbook UX and try
it out on any of a dozen popular netbooks to get
a preview. This is how it’s done.
Run MeeGo From a USB Drive
1 To run MeeGo on your netbook, first check the
page of compatible systems on meego.com to
see if yours is on the list. Even if your Atom-based
netbook isn’t listed, it will probably work with MeeGo,
though there’s a possibility your wireless card or
other components won’t be supported.
2Next, download the latest Netbook UX image file
from meego.com/downloads and put it somewhere
you can find on your hard drive. Then download
win32diskimager from launchpad.
net/win32-image-writer and unzip
it to a folder on your hard drive.
3 Take a blank USB key that’s at
least 1GB in size and plug it into
your netbook. Close any applica-
tions (such as Windows Explorer)
that access the USB key andlaunch
win32diskimager. Click the folder
icon, and then select the location
of the image file. Select the drive
letter of the USB key (ex: D:) from
the Device menu and then click
the Write button. After the write
process is over, you will have a
bootableUSBkey that you can use
to test MeeGo temporarily on your
netbook or install permanently to
the hard drive.
4 With your netbook powered off, take the USB
drive and plug it into your system. Power the PC
on and hit the key your netbook requires to bring
up the boot device menu and pick the USB drive.
On our HP Mini 210, that key was F9.
5After a few seconds, a menu appears. Select Boot
MeeGo and wait while the operating system starts
up. At this point, you will be using MeeGo from a
live disk, which means that any changes you make
or apps you install will not be saved. However, you
can otherwise explore the operating system.
Make MeeGo Your Primary OS
Just keep in mind that the installation process
will wipe Windows and all of your data from your
hard drive. If you want to use MeeGo more than
a couple of times and save your settings, apps,
and any drivers you install, you’ll need to fully
install the OS.
1 Create a full backup of your system using a
disk imaging program such as Macrium Reflect
Free (w ww.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp) and an
external hard drive.
2Once you’ve backed up your system, boot off of
the USB drive again. This time, select Installation
Only from the menu, hit enter, and click the next
button on the following screen. Select your language
of choice and click the next button again.
3 On the partitions menu, select “Remove all parti-
tions on selected drives and create default layout”
and click next. When prompted, click “Write changes
to disk,” then click next again. Wait a few minutes
while the install program copies the file.
4 When you see the Congratulations message,
use the power button to turn off your netbook and
then turn it back on again, allowing it to boot from
the hard drive.
5On the first screen, hit the Forward button. Then
select your language (ex: U.S . English) and hit the
Forward button again. Choose your time zone and
hit Forward, then set the date and time and click
Forward again. Next, on the Create User screen,
you will need to enter a username, full name,
Give MeeGo a Spin
Intel’s and Nokia’s Linux-based OS promises to make your
netbook faster and more fun to use. Here’s how to run it.
by Avram Piltch
Meego, make a
disk image of
your system so
you can restore
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