Monday, 15 June 2009

An interesting proposition

A couple of months back I found a Linux operating system called gOS Cloud, you may already be familiar with it. The basic premise is for it to be a netbook or kiosk OS. The only think which loads up at boot time is a browser, this makes the boot time next to nothing.

The browser looks very similar to Google Chrome with a AWN/Kiba Dock/GnomeDO/MacOS style dock at the bottom of the screen. The idea of this OS is that you use web services rather than applications to get your work done. The dock has links to the main google apps (gmail, calender, docs, spreadsheets etc) as well as a power icon a wifi hotspot selector and a "boot into windows button".

The Windows button is interesting becuase this OS isn't meant to be used on its own. Its supposed to be dual booted with another OS. In my case it'd probably be a flavour of Linux.

But what if you wanted to use this as the only OS? Could you still get work done? This is where we get to my main reason for this post. gOS Cloud is all well and good but aside from the fast boot times it isn't very exciting. The other reason I haven't posted about it is that it is in invite only private beta, a beta for which I'm still waiting for my invite!

Today whilst stumbling around the interwebs I came across eyeOS, it was Apple that started this "lets have lowercase letters infront of capitals nonsence with the iPod wasn't it! Anyway... eyeOS is a totally browser based OS which looks pretty much like other Linux based distros. This however lives on a server somewhere (possibly Narnia) and you control it with your browser.

eyeOS has a file manager, a web browser (yes I know, a web browser in an OS inside a web browser!), an office suite and image viewer amongst other things. You can either log into your eyeOS desktop on the Narnia based server or host your own eyeOS server.

The only problem is that you have to have an underlying operating system to run the web browser so you can log into eyeOS. If eyeOS was combined with gOS Cloud you could have a fully functioning desktop within seconds of pressing the power button.

The only issue I can see is if you don't have an internet connection (or connection to the server if its your own local one). This is solved in gOS Cloud by having the option to boot into a full blown operating system like Ubuntu of Windows but this defeats the point. One implamentation of eyeOS could be to have a google gears style offline function where the OS is cached on the connecting machine and syncs with the server when it has a connection but my guess would be that this is still some way off being a reality.

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