I have watched the steps of Mandrake-Founder Gaël Duval since he (was forced to) quit the company, not because I was such a big fan of Mandrake (or Linux in general ^^) at all, but because of the announcements and plans he made for his new company, Ulteo.
At that time I was investigating so-called 'online desktops' to achieve my goal of total portability, and Ulteo seemed like another nice competitor - and one with some experience - to offer a *NIX Desktop-in-a-Browser-solution. Turned out Online-Desktops didn't grow to meet my expectations, so I turned away from them.
All except Ulteo, to be precise, which hovered at the edge of my attention with their OpenOfficeOnline-Beta, for example. Now they're back with a piece of software called "Virtual Desktop", which can be confusing judging from the name, or at least I expected something different from it.
But it turned out to be another solution to run Linux-software seamlessly in a windows environment, just like the recently extremely popular andLinux (In fact, both are based on the same core, coLinux, a portation of a Unix-kernel to windows). But since Ulteo's Virtual Desktop uses less disk space in comparison to andLinux' full-featured ubuntu (2,5-4,5 GB), I decided to give it a try.
Installation was quick, and since I already had an Ulteo-Account (which is not required unless you wanna sync your local data to your online desktop), I didn't encounter anything unusual at all.
Starting the Ulteo Application inside Windows took quite a bit though, which is not to my liking - I guess it's anywhere near twice the boot time of the kernel and Desktop Environment, and the memory usage was quite corresponding, which was not to my liking at all.
The number of included applications is alright, it features the newest Firefox and Thunderbird (of course), as well as OpenOffice and my all-time-reason-for-Linux, Amarok (which will soon enough be no reason for Linux anymore, since Amarok 2.0 is bound to happen on Windows as well) in version 1.3.9 - which brings me to the question, why they didn't include the current Fast Forward release 18.104.22.168, and furthermore to the point of installing own applications, which seems impossible for the time being. I couldn't figure out how to do it in the launcher, and the website speaks nothing of it.
The sight of the Konquerer hovering above the Windows Explorer was quite appealing though, and it helps to weaken the borders between the windows and the UNIX world even further, which is - at least in my world - a good thing.
Next time I'll try andLinux though, regardless of the ~5GB installation of a full-fledged (K)Ubuntu.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.