The popularity of cloud operating systems soared since Google started developing Chrome OS. But cloud OSes have been around for years. Most have had clunky designs and slow interfaces, though. One stand-out has been Jolicloud (news, site), which has recently released version 1.2, and rebranded itself into Joli OS.

Jolicloud was originally intended for use on netbooks. With low processing power, small storage space and often being used for Internet-related tasks, netbooks were prime candidates for an operating system that relied on cloud software to run. Sending processing requirements to the server rather than using the local computer resources made sense.

Desktop, Web Versions

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Jolicloud comes in two variants, and the creators have recently differentiated the brand for each of these editions. The desktop version, meant for installing onto a computer, is now called Joli OS. This OS is based on Linux, and can either be run as a dual-boot alternative or as a primary OS. The web version, meanwhile, retains the Jolicloud name, and is essentially a mirror of the desktop version, which can run on any compatible browser and relies on existing web apps to run.

What's New with 1.2?

Jolicloud's 1.2 release comes with a few major upgrades. These include better performance, more applications and an improved user interface. To wit, Jolicloud now features these:

  • Continuous desktop experience lets users retain their desktop across sessions. Assuming you're using an HTML 5-capable browsers, you can close your Jolicloud desktop on one computer and open it at the same state using another computer.
  • Jolicloud's new file browser also lets you preview documents. What's even better is that Jolicloud now has Dropbox integration, which means you can gain access to your synced documents more easily.
  • The upgrade also has an enhanced login screen and a new guest mode, which lets users more easily lend their computers without the fear of someone else accessing their data and files.

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Why Use Joli? Or Any Cloud OS, for That Matter?

Google seems to be excited at the prospect of a cloud operating system, to the extent of giving away 14,000 notebook computers for consumer and media testing. With cloud applications on the rise, individuals and businesses might find it useful to keep all their computing requirements on the cloud, thus saving on local processing power and space. Google Chrome OS might still be far into development, but if you want to have a feel of a cloud OS today, Joli OS would be a good option to try. It's free to download, and you can choose the dual-boot option, which allows for removal in case you don't like the OS.