We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Operating systems software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

MeeGo 1 review


Manufacturer: MeeGo

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

MeeGo is an Intel-sponsored Linux distribution designed for netbooks.

MeeGo is an Intel-sponsored Linux distribution designed for netbooks.

MeeGo is an Intel-sponsored Linux distribution designed for netbooks and other mobile devices (such as Nokia's extra-geeky N900 smartphone). We tested MeeGo on a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook and were extremely impressed; we think it's seriously worth giving it a try on your mini-notebook, and maybe ditching Windows or a "normal" Linux distribution.

Most Linux distributions these days offer standard Gnome or KDE desktop environments (though some, such as Mythbuntu, employ the lightweight Xfce system, and of course there are numerous distributions that use a completely different graphical user interface, or are command line–based). MeeGo, however, has taken a completely different tack, and done so with considerable success.

MeeGo is a product of Intel's Moblin project and Nokia's Maemo operating system, and it has inherited the former's interface — at least in its netbook incarnation. An interface is also available for smartphone-type devices.

MeeGo Linux 1.0

MeeGo has a tabbed interface, and Google Chrome is the default web browser.

The main MeeGo interface lacks a classic desktop. Instead, there is a row of 10 icons across the top of the screen that works like a series of tabbed windows in a web browser. The Applications tab lets you run whatever programs you like; open applications then show up in the Zones tab, letting you easily switch between them. The applications installed by default include most of the fare you'd expect from a Linux distribution, though Chrome is the default web browser and no office suite is installed. An internet tab lets you manage browser windows easily, as well as quickly look through bookmarks. The Media tab lets you access music and videos. The Status tab allows you to monitor Web services (only Twitter and Last.FM in the default install), while the People tab is home to instant messenger conversations. The Devices tab provides access to hardware information and settings, as well as the key folders like Documents and Downloads.

MeeGo Linux 1.0

Instant messaging in MeeGo.

The MyZone home tab offers quick links to applications, updates from web services (such as Twitter), links to recently used files, and access to a calendar and task lists.

We were in love with the interface from the very beginning: for a netbook with minimal screen real estate (1024x600) and limited RAM (1GB) and processing power (Intel Atom N450), it makes so much sense to ditch the classic desktop metaphor. We would much rather deal with the large, colourful icons of MeeGo than the Windows 7 interface for most tasks. The interface was generally snappy, although we would periodically be left waiting when switching to a new tab, for example. It never got to be too frustrating, however, though you should exercise the same restraint in terms of multitasking, media encoding and other taxing tasks that you would in any other operating system running on a netbook.

MeeGo Linux 1.0

MeeGo's Zones tab shows applications that are currently running.

The application repositories the distribution uses by default don't include OpenOffice. However, we installed AbiWord (word processing) and Gnumeric (spreadsheet) easily enough; we've always generally preferred these apps to OpenOffice.org anyway.

Package management is RPM-based. In general, we're fonder of the APT system used by Debian and its derivatives (such as Ubuntu) but unless you intend to mess around at the command line, the GUI-based package management tool will make it transparent. (Our reservations about RPM probably relate to the earlier, pre-YUM days of dependency hell. Oh the pain.)

If you're interested in getting geeky, there is a single virtual terminal running (accessed via Ctrl + Alt + F1), or you can just run a terminal in the GUI. Running uname -r from the command line gives the kernel version as

NEXT: MeeGO Installation >>

MeeGo 1 Expert Verdict »

Atom-based netbook
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

It's still relatively early days for MeeGo, but, judging from this release, we suspect this Linux distribution has a great future ahead of it.

  • Ubuntu Netbook Edition review

    Ubuntu Netbook Edition

    Ubuntu Netbook Edition is precisely what it sounds like: a version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system modified for use with netbook laptops.

  • Nokia N9 review

    Nokia N9

    Fantastic design and build quality, bright and clear screen, slick and easy to use software, say hello to the Nokia N9.

  • Jolla smartphone review: The iPhone and Android alternative with Sailfish OS

    Jolla smartphone: The iPhone and Android alternative with Sailfish OS

    There's a new smartphone and mobile operating system on the block. Here's our full review of the Sailfish OS Jolla smartphone.

  • Peppermint Ice Linux review

    Peppermint Ice Linux

    These days, if a desktop-focussed Linux distribution wants to stand out from the pack of Ubuntu-wannabes it either needs to be especially slick or offer something a little bit different to the norm. Peppermint Ice falls into the latter category: It's a Debian-derived (via Ubuntu), lightweight Linux distro that's designed for netbooks and has a strong focus on web applications.

  • Ubuntu Netbook Remix review

    Ubuntu Netbook Remix

    Although it's based on the popular Linux distro, Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) is not a pruned down version of Ubuntu. Instead, its developers discarded old, legacy code not relevant to netbook systems.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model