Chromebooks are one of the hottest items at the moment. They take an incredibly simplistic approach to computing that also layers on the security of a Linux-based operating system to create an encapsulated environment that runs primarily within a web browser. You may think this is terribly limiting, but with today’s cloud-centric work environments, the likes of Chromebook and Jolicloud are actually very useful.

There is also another reason these types of platforms are solid choices — especially for multi-user environments. Say you have your data stored locally on your drive and you don’t want to chance anyone gaining access to it. You can install Jolicloud, which will allow users to access their Jolicloud account — and nothing more. Unless they have a local account, they will only be able to gain access to their own, cloud-based data. This means others can use your desktop (or laptop) without running the risk of data loss.

That’s where Jolicloud comes in. Jolicloud is built on HTML5 and open web technologies and, with one login, gets you access to:

  • Google Drive

  • Google Plus

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • YouTube<

  • and more

With what the user can access, they can:

  • Create/edit documents

  • View videos

  • Read saved articles

  • View social networking

  • Work within third-party web-based tools

The big question: How do you get this platform without having to buy a Chromebook? Easy. You install Jolicloud on top of your Ubuntu-based desktop. Let me show you how.

Install the PPA

The first step is to install the ppa so apt knows where to get the software. This is done with the following steps:

  1. Open a terminal window

  2. Type the command: sudo apt-add-repository ppa:jolicloud-team/ppa

  3. Hit Enter

  4. Type your sudo password and hit Enter again

  5. Hit Enter one final time, when prompted

Now that the ppa has been added, follow these steps to install Jolicloud:

  1. Open a terminal window

  2. Type the command: sudo apt-get update

  3. Hit Enter

  4. Type the command: sudo apt-get install jolicloud-desktop-environment

  5. Hit Enter

At this point, the installation will proceed. Once it is complete, you are ready to log in to the Jolicloud desktop. In order to do that, you must log out of the current desktop and, at the standard Ubuntu login screen, select the Jolicloud environment. When the environment loads, you will be prompted to log in to your Jolicloud account. Upon successful authentication, you will then be asked to associate different services with your account (such as Dropbox, Box, and Skydrive).

Finally, your Jolicloud desktop will appear and you can get to work. At this point you will want to go to your Jolicloud desktop (far left icon in the upper left corner of the desktop), where you can add even more services (such as Ubuntu One).

When you (or whoever is using their Jolicloud on your machine) is finished working on the cloud-based environment, simply log out and log back into the local drive.

Although platforms like Jolicloud and Chromebook aren’t for everyone, they fill a very specific need and do so with tremendous skill and simplicity. If you’re looking to allow others to use one of your machines, and do not want to chance them accessing data (or corrupting your OS), add Jolicloud onto a Ubuntu-based desktop or laptop and allow those users full-run of their own, cloud-based Jolicloud environment.