Profile: Good OS LLC

The 22-year-old behind Everex CloudBook’s Linux OS

Eric Lai / computerworld.com
January 9, 2008 – 8:22 P.M

A
little more than a year ago, David Liu was sitting in a lecture hall at
UCLA. After graduating, Liu worked as an IT contractor for several
months before starting Good OS.

Today, the young native of West Covina (a suburb 30 miles east of
Los Angeles) is heading development for a flavor of the Linux operating
system that is, in its own small way, throwing down a big challenge to
Windows Vista.

More than two decades old, Windows, say critics, long ago fell
victim to a malady common to mature software – bloat, which is more
colorfully known as ‘featuritis’.

gOS Rocket, the Linux operating system created by Liu’s company, Good OS LLC, offers something diametrically opposite – a stripped-down interface
on top of an efficient, solid Ubuntu Linux core that is aimed at a
generation that was weaned on Google Docs, FaceBook and Wikipedia. The
Web 2.0 generation, in other words.

"I remember when I was really young, maybe 12 years old, reading an
article where (Netscape founder) Marc Andreessen said he was part of a
generation where 90% of their activity happened on the Web," Liu told
me Wednesday. That wasn’t so true when Andreessen said it, admits Liu,
but it’s definitely true today among he and his peers.

Thus, the gOS running on the upcoming $399, 2-pound Everex CloudBook
has many more links to Web apps (Meebo instant messaging, Skype
Internet telephony, Wikpedia, Blogger, YouTube, Facebook and of course,
all of the various Google Apps) than actual apps pre-installed on it
(the open-source Firefox and OpenOffice 2.3).

Including all of the apps, the gOS takes up about 1 GB, Liu said,
leaving about 29 GB for other apps, data, or even room to install
Windows XP or Vista, if that’s what a user wants.

Change is never easy, and not everyone that has bought a gPC – the
$199 desktop cousin of the CloudBook that has been out since before
Christmas at Wal-Mart and e-tailers – likes the gOS.

"Just save yourself the time and disappointment and load Ubuntu," wrote one reviewer on NewEgg.com.

Liu promises constant tweaks and improvements to the gOS from he and
the rest of his 7-person startup. More importantly, due to the gOS’
integration of the Google Gears technology, many Web apps will this
year be useable offline, too, when the user doesn’t have Internet
connectivity.

Liu said that Good OS’s deal with Everex is exclusive for the first
six months. He has already been talking to other PC makers, both in the
United States and Asia, about pre-installing gOS.

I expressed skepticism that any of the major OEMs such as Dell or HP
would ever break ranks with Microsoft so publicly by pre-installing
Linux, never mind a young distro such as gOS. Liu’s reply? "I am
talking to a couple of brands that you would have heard of."

Anyone out there own an $199 Everex gPC or used gOS? What do you
think? And do you think this young man has any chance of convincing the
big OEMs to chuck Windows for gOS?  

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