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Everex gPC Reviewed...Again (Verdict: Horrible)

Illustration for article titled Everex gPC Reviewed...Again (Verdict: Horrible)

Thought that the $200 Everex gPC was too good (and cheap) to be true? Did an earlier, positive review from Wired only serve to pique your interest? Unfortunately, a recent review by PC Magazine may bring many Wal-Mart shoppers crashing to the earth. According to their review, the gPC is" one of those PCs you buy as a gift for the holidays and return to the store in January." So what went wrong?

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The answer: just about everything. PC Mag was miffed at the resolution configuration settings, the legal tie-ups involved with calling it a "Google PC," an app launcher they described as "a cheap copy" of Mac OSX, as well as some frustrating web-surfing issues that may not be grasped by a novice user.

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Still, this review is probably a little harsh and should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, "legal wrangling" is not a concern of the average user, and for $200 one should expect a few shortcomings here and there. They do concede that it is a fairly "green PC" with regard to power consumption, and it is powerful enough to run Ubuntu Linux, just don't expect it to be fast. In all likelihood, the true verdict on the gPC lies somewhere in-between the two reviews. [PC Mag]

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DISCUSSION

Having built one for my kids (old PC + gOS) it turns out to be not so bad. There are some frustratingly goofy issues in the way gOS behaves, but it is a fairly solid OS.

Problem1: Objects on the Enlightenment overlay can easily get moved to some unintended "containers". Enlightenment uses invisible windows and boxes to hold its widgets (like the cool tray at the bottom) but using Windows conventions like dragging or right clicking results in unexpected behavior and can cause the widgets to end up in unexpected places. Getting things back into order is not intuitive and really needs some work. Part of it is just nomenclature, since it is not obvious what kind of widget goes into what kind of virtual box. The other is they need to make the drag and drop process more intuitive; you have to enter a special menu to build the widget boxes, since not all containers are equal and have different behaviors themselves. Getting this wrong was truly frustrating and resulted in at least one format and re-install session after royally screwing up a desktop while trying to clean it up.

Problem2: It is not clear where you save OpenOffice documents to and how to retrieve them. Regular Ubuntu is much more straightforward on this, but gOS is confusing (or at least confused me and the kids).

Problem3: Linux in general needs a "set it and forget it" system update solution. Linux seems to have anywhere from 3 to 66 updates a day, and gOS is no different. The orange star that indicates updates is lit just about every day. If gOS is supposed to be for Grandma, then give it a silent update feature.

Problem4: Linux also needs a little more polish with the way it handles iPods. gOS doesn't even make it clear that it does, which keeps it in the "grandma" camp, not the "super for kids" camp. Right now iPod support under Linux is mediocre at best.

Overall gOS is (as Larry David would say) pretty pretty good.