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10 Web Operating Systems Reviewed 113 113

Stan Schroeder writes "Waiting for GoogleOS? Why not try some of the WebOS applications that are already available? Believe it or not, there's already over 15 of them, and here you can find a review of the 10 most promising WebOSes. Most of them might not make you want to ditch your desktop OS just yet, but some are very good and can be used on a day-to-day basis. Highlights include DesktopTwo, Goowy, YouOS, EyeOS and Glide. You can find the whole bunch here." Note: for the purposes of this article, "WebOS" is defined as "a set of applications running in a web browser that together mimic, replace or largely supplement a desktop OS environment."
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10 Web Operating Systems Reviewed

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  • by dino213b (949816) on Monday December 25, 2006 @01:45PM (#17360572)
    One simple answer: shared documents. Sure, I have five+ computers at home and one of them is a dedicated linux machine that I use for file storage and whatnot. The problem is, it is a multi-step process for anyone living in my house to access these files at work. While I have no problem of whatsoever establishing file shares and so forth, not everyone is as comfortable with the idea.

    Luckily Google spreadsheets solved at least one problem for me - maintaining a shopping list. I can pop on any computer with internet access and be able to see what my better half added to it. Any other features? I don't need or want them.
  • Argh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 25, 2006 @01:51PM (#17360618)
    It's a desktop environment or, at the very least, an application suite. Not an operating system. Until some website is handling process and memory management, it's no OS.

    But I guess "Online Desktop Environment" doesn't quite sound as cool does it?
  • Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by strags (209606) on Monday December 25, 2006 @01:54PM (#17360632)
    I can see one reason for a Web OS, and that's that it makes it easy to access your desktop from anywhere. However, from a technological point of view, the web browser has to be pretty much the worst choice of interface - the only compelling reason for using it is that it's ubiquitous.

    Browsers were never meant to do this sort of thing - AJAX is a hack that's hard to get working 100% reliably across all browsers at the best of times - just look at the hoops one has to jump through to get the back-button working properly, not to mention handling the differences between Firefox and IE. Why on earth would you want to base an entire desktop on such a shaky foundation?

    (Bearing in mind that 74% of all statistics are made up on the spot...) I suspect that 99% of internet users access the internet from the same machine (or at most 2 machines) 99% of the time. The cost in increased bandwidth, sluggish response, lack of high-bandwidth media support seems to me a heavy price to pay for portability. Even if we do decide that it's worthwhile, there are technologically better ways to do it.
  • Re:what use? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ixplodestuff8 (699898) on Monday December 25, 2006 @02:07PM (#17360708)
    The main use is that it's a new area to explore. It's a growing application, that doesn't have many uses today, but you never know when it'll finally have a good use. As webos's develop, people might find new innovative ways to use them.

    Imagine a company that had a Webos, and hundreds of thin clients, which would probably be a operating system whose user interface is only the web browser window pointed at the the webos. You could probably load it up all to ROM and have no hard drive, making the boot up take all of about a second.

    While I think there are probably already things that do this today(that is, thin clients), that's only one random idea I had, maybe one day someone will have a truly great idea on how to apply a Webos.

    Or it might just never take off and be a flop, who knows, but the point is, it's worth a shot to see if it's any good later on.
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Monday December 25, 2006 @03:00PM (#17360916) Homepage Journal
    take a look at []

    Rangboom is a free service for securely sharing or accessing your files over the Internet.

    It uses 9p []

    and appears as a shared drive in Windows

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990