Jolicloud internship: first steps of a start-up

I just finished my internship at Jolicloud as part of my studies in TELECOM Bretagne. It lasted almost one year.

Jolicloud is a new start-up created by Tariq Krim (who created Netvibes) that builds an operating system adapted to netbooks and focused on the web technologies and services.

I lived from the inside the launching of a start-up: idea, research, launching of a private alpha, founding, arrival of big competitors (like Google Chome OS), hiring, beta and release roadmap… We were three at the beginning: Tariq Krim, Romain Huet and me.

Regarding development, it is an interesting challenge: transform a Linux distribution into an ergonomic and beautiful operating system based on web technologies instead of the usual Linux technologies (HTML instead of GTK, Javascript instead of C…).

We use Ruby On Rails and JQuery to develop the central web application that constitutes Jolicloud and python to make our web application communicate with the system.

First developments were focused on two things: modify Ubuntu to transform it into the Jolicloud OS, and create an applications directory like the one on the Apple iPhone, to install/remove/update applications in one click. This directory is based on APT, the technology used by Debian (and Ubuntu) to manage files on the system. And Prism has been fully integrated to put web applications (Google Docs, GMail, Facebook…) on the desktop.

The currently available version of Jolicloud is far from complete: it is just an idea of what we want to do. Developments go faster now and we have plenty of ideas I can’t talk about. Sadly I have to go back to school for my 3rd year at TELECOM Bretagne, but I hope I will still be able to participate in Jolicloud.

While Google Chrome OS will probably only allow to launch web applications, local applications can be used with Jolicloud. And Jolicloud wants to integrate all web services, not only Google ones… And Moblin isn’t really focused on the web. Personnally, I would like the Jolicloud concept on my notebook too, if the interface were adapted. So Jolicloud probably has a bright future… to be continued 🙂