Introducing Ulteo: your virtual Linux desktop

We only noticed a couple of problems, but a couple of oddities. Click and drag an Ulteo application, for example, and the rate at which it scrolls across your desktop is different to that of native Windows apps. Also, there's only limited control over additional package installation.

The My Settings page of the launch menu is synchronised to your online Ulteo account, and from here you can install a further group of desktop apps, or some popular Linux games. Packages are downloaded and installed in the background.

You could use dpkg to install applications manually, but your system will quickly get out of sync with the official Ulteo release, and as a result, won't be updated. As with the Online Desktop and the Application System, you can also bind your Virtual Desktop installation to your Ulteo account through the 'My Settings' page of the menu. This will enable the folder synchronisation feature, and it works just as well as with the online and offline desktop.

Future plans

It's obvious that Ulteo is still a work in progress. There are parts of the KDE menu, for example, that aren't functional, and Gaël Duval openly admits that there's a problem with online latency in parts of the world. But it's also easy to see that there's been a lot of innovation across the Ulteo product range.

The Online Desktop itself is clever and works well, and the CoLinux implementation used by the Application System has obviously taken a lot of work to get right.

Even though Ulteo isn't a traditional Linux distribution, its success can only enhance the image of Linux, and bring more people into the fold. And like the original Mandrake Linux, that can only be a good thing.


First published in Linux Format, Issue 113

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