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Jolicloud and why Microsoft should take cloud operating system rival seriously

It’s all systems on the go, as free Jolicloud lets you take your desktop with you wherever you’re going

Microsoft wasn’t worried about the impact of cloud computing until Google introduced Google Apps and businesses started to migrate over to it from Office.

The software giant now has Office365, its cloud-based Office suite, and is fighting hard to win back users who have moved to Google Apps. In the same way, Microsoft probably isn’t too concerned about Jolicloud, but it should be.  

Jolicloud is a free operating system that’s intrinsically linked to the cloud, and is the only other real contender to Google’s cloud-based Chrome operating system.

The idea of Jolicloud started in summer 2008, when Tariq Krim started thinking about building an ‘organic’ laptop, a combination of the greenest technologies and a Fairtrade production. This device would run an internet operating system rather than Windows and replace existing costly software with its web alternatives.

After travelling around the world to meet manufacturers, designers and industry friends, Krim decided to drop the hardware to focus only on building the internet operating system.

The results are now available in Jolicloud (www.jolicloud.com), which has attracted some serious investment from people such as Niklas Zennström, founder of Kazaa, Skype and Joost.

The free operating system speeds up old devices, and gives you long battery life and fast access to more than 700 web-based applications, such as Dropbox, featured here recently as App of the Month.

Also, because Jolicloud holds all your data in the cloud, you can carry your desktop wherever you go just by using Google’s Chrome web browser and downloading the Jolicloud add-on to the Chrome system, or by carrying it on a bootable USB key.

Jolicloud has just updated to version 1.1, which is simple to install and works on most devices. Importantly for those who want to test it out, but retain their existing operating system, you can also have it installed alongside Windows, so that you don’t need to throw away your existing apps.

It’s fast to launch, typically taking just a few seconds even on the slowest netbook, and saves even more battery power than version 1.0. It’s also now powerful enough to work on desktops, and recently the first Jolibook netbooks arrived on Amazon from UK firm Vye.

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