HP releases gorgeous Apple-like custom UI for Ubuntu netbooks

hp-mi-home-screen.jpg

As netbooks grow more popular, the custom Linux OSes being offered for them become more and more appropriate to the form factor, with larger, more smartphone-like icons.

HP ships a pretty swank netbook UI on their Mini 1000 Mi Edition, which is built on top of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron and ships with OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird and Pidgin, as well as HP’s own Apple-like custom media player, MediaStyle.

As HP explains it, the aim of the Mini Mi UI is to shield most users from the complexity of Linux, while keeping prices down by trimming out the cost of licensing Windows.

It looks fantastic, and now HP is releasing the UI on their website to allow owners of an XP Mini 1000 into a Mi Edition netbook. That’s not terribly exciting, but looking through the screenshots, I’m in desperate hope that their customized Ubuntu build is compatible with other netbooks… or, if not, can easily be made to be. This is the way netbook OSes should both look and function.

HP releases netbook interface for Ubuntu [Download Squad]

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7 Responses to HP releases gorgeous Apple-like custom UI for Ubuntu netbooks

  1. TJ S says:

    Agree with Anonymous at #5. I think it looks more like the Zune software than anything else.

    (The Zune software having an excellent UI design, but runs about as fast as a turtle through mashed potatoes.)

  2. Aaron says:

    Worse than the Terminal button… there’s a GIMP button!

    Putting a pretty front end on a netbook is all fine and good, but HP had better invest in getting an open-source alternative to iPhoto up to speed.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s pretty gorgeous, the front page is pretty neat and tidy, but what’s so Apple-like about it?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m also not seeing what is Apple-like about it, but I am enjoying the glassy-bleu-theme from http://hpmini.archive.canonical.com/mie/dists/hardy-hpmini/universe/binary-lpia/glassy-bleu-theme_21_all.deb

    It would be nice if HP would release an official Ubuntu/HPMIE installer for their old 2133 Mini-Notes (mine shipped with SuSE, which I promptly replaced with Ubuntu).

  5. styrofoam says:

    The HP Mini is an awesome machine. I love having one around the house.

    I opted for the 16Gb SSD, so using it as a media machine is kind of odd positioning. It’s like a much much bigger iPod nano with less drive space, once you factor in an OS (win7) and a few officey type apps. (Ok, Office.)
    I’m sure Mi would free up quite a bit of space, but still.

  6. PLeblanc says:

    So have you guys put it on your HP mini 1000 and played with it, or is this post from looking at some screenshots or a demo?

    At first glance, this reminds me of the touchflo UIs for windows mobile. They are fine at the first or second level, but get a bit deeper and you are back into windows mobile (or in this case Linux).

    Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I’m not going through the hassle of figuring out how to triple boot my HP mini for this until I read an in depth hands on review.

    ps – as a bonus question, how does it stack up against the Ubuntu Netbook Remix?

  7. chrisphin says:

    I’m not saying it’s a bad idea*, but I love that this glossy, shield-the-users-from-Linux UI has a relatively prominent button to launch the Terminal. Because everyone knows that when your MP3s refuse to play, the consumer’s first reaction is to reach for the command line!

    * Please, please read this bit. I’ve never used the Mini Mi Ui, and it might make perfect sense.

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