(Some of the notes below are specific to this netbook; maybe it will be useful to other 311 owners who want to try installing it as well.)
It appears that Jolicloud is basically Ubuntu with a friendly user interface. The “home screen” shows applications in various categories, and several locations (home directory, desktop, network, etc). It comes with a number of applications, many of them aimed at social networking, internet and “the cloud” in general.
Installing it is a breeze. I already had Windows XP on the netbook; I downloaded the installer and ran it (still from within Windows). Partitioning, installing etc happens automagically. (There’s also an ISO available, which, I assume, gives the user more control during the installation process.)
If you have a HP Mini 311 as well, note the following. Once Jolicloud has been installed, and the computer reboots, you’ll see a boot screen that lets you choose between Windows and Jolicloud. Counter-intuitively, you must choose “Windows” here; you will then see a similar screen, and there you select “Jolicloud”. (This may be because the 311 comes with a separate partition containing system restore data… I do hope that Jolicloud did not interfere with that.)
You will need to do some configuring to get the current version (which, as I write this, is pre-beta) to recognize the HP Mini’s Nvidia Ion. JC did use a widescreen resolution, but it didn’t offer much in the way of configuring the screen, and the home screen was REALLY slow. This turned out to be easy to fix; create a Jolicloud account, do a software update, and reboot. The software update will download proprietary software by Nvidia; RMS would frown upon that, but it made the home screen much more snappy, and offers a whole range of configuration options (much like on Windows).
The Jolicloud site offers a relatively small number of apps, although many of these are important and/or popular ones, like Firefox, Google Chrome, apps for Facebook and Twitter, etc. While you may choose to restrict yourself to these apps, you ALSO have access to other Linux software. Synaptic (Ubuntu’s package manager) is “hidden”, but it’s there, and it’s easy to add it to the main menu. I did so in order to install vim, Emacs and a few other things. A nice touch was that icons for these applications were added to the menu automatically.
(Oh, and Python 2.6 is already installed out of the box. How could it be otherwise? :-)
Anyway, so this is a nice little Linux… useful if you just want to browse the web and check your Facebook, but also if you want to use it for hacking. ^_^