Zonbu is a technology company that markets a computing platform which combines a web-centric service, a small form factorPC, and an open source based software architecture. Zonbu was founded by Alain Rossmann (previously Founder and CEO of Openwave) and Gregoire Gentil (previously co-founder of Twingo Systems).
The first-generation Zonbox hardware was the eBox-4854 sold by DMP Electronics of Taiwan. Called the Zonbu Mini, it was a nettop computer measuring 6 ¾” × 4 ¾” × 2 ¼”. It is flash based, fanless, and thus effectively silent. The official specifications for the device in 2007 were:
The Zonbu subscription plans include online storage (using Amazon S3), automatic upgrades, online support and remote file access. The subscription service is promoted as reducing the hassle of typical computer maintenance tasks, such as hardware repair, software installation, updates and upgrades, and malicious software removal.
The Zonbu OS is a customized version of Linux based on the Gentoo distribution using the Xfce desktop environment. It is geared towards non-technical users, and the user interface focuses more on simplicity than advanced features.
Zonbu comes pre-loaded with a number of software applications. These include the Firefoxweb browser, OpenOffice productivity suite and Skype IP phone service, and 30 casual games.
With the default OS, the user is not allowed to install any third-party software. The default set of applications is supposed to fit the needs of non-technical users or of a second home PC. However, Zonbu provides instructions to unlock the operating system and install additional software. The procedure is technical and intended for a minority of users (Standard for many linux users, unlocking GRUB, root, and install with emerge/portage).