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A tale of two x86 computing appliances
Mar. 20, 2008

This hands-on review compares and contrasts two computing appliances that run Linux on Via C7-M processors. The Zonbu Zonbook and the gOS Cloudbook are both manufactured by Everex, and cost about the same up-front, but that's where the resemblance ends, our reviewer found.

The Zonbook is a "managed" laptop-like computing appliance that routinely updates its own OS and backs up the user's files in the background. Reviewer Henry Kingman calls it "one of the most civilized, well-behaved Linux systems" he's used, and at one point admits having "fallen in love" with his review unit. Toward the end, he wonders if Zonbu might be providing the best computing experience available anywhere. Still, there's a subtle undertone of aloofness in Kingman's comments, probably because he is forced to admit at one point that the Zonbook "often" works better than any of the Linux systems he's configured on his own.

The gOS Cloudbook is in no danger of inspiring similar configuration envy, however. It is one of the first available UMPCs, and has all the rough edges you might associate with a cutting-edge product, Kingman suggests. While he describes the hardware platform itself as "cuddly" and even "beguiling," Kingman sounds a little daunted by the amount the amount of work still needed to really get the device working properly under Linux. But, after reminiscing about his own first Linux hacking target, another quirky little system with an odd-ball pointing device from a decade earlier, he predicts that Penguinistas everywhere will take UMPCs like the Cloudbook under their wing and turn them into something really great.

The complete review is available at, here.

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