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GUI Software X

New Linux Desktop Environment Built on Firefox 198

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the believe-it-when-it's-useful dept.
IL-CSIXTY4 writes "'Pyro is a new kind of desktop environment for Linux built on Mozilla Firefox. Its goal is to enable true integration between the Web and modern desktop computing.' This looks like an interesting marriage of the web and the desktop. In Pyro, Web apps run in windows on the desktop, right alongside desktop apps (through compositing). Features expected in a desktop environment, like task/window selection and an Expose-like function, are written in Javascript." "
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New Linux Desktop Environment Built on Firefox

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  • ...that I can write application in php+css?
    • by Xiph (723935)
      you can do that already, You run it with apache and firefox.
      • I know, but I meant applications that integrates with your desktop..
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      oh great ... that's all we need, a bunch of pyro-mainiacs.

      See, you've already melted their server ... didn't anyone teach you not to play with fire?

  • by discord5 (798235) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:19AM (#19945357)

    Already slashdotted after the first comment, so ... this is what the future web-desktop will be like huh?

    • by jkrise (535370) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:28AM (#19945397) Journal
      Already slashdotted after the first comment, so ... this is what the future web-desktop will be like huh?

      Not if the server is within the intranet. Here's the text from the site:

      What is Pyro?

      Flickr Add-on

      Exposé-alike

      Window Picker

      Pyro is a new kind of desktop environment for Linux built on Mozilla Firefox. Its goal is to enable true integration between the Web and modern desktop computing.

      By merging the Web with the desktop, Pyro offers the first big step toward a new future for the Web and the applications built for it.

      In Pyro, Web content is no longer confined to the browser's window. Instead, trusted Web sites and extensions are given access to the full range of interactivity and control enjoyed by native applications today.

      Imagine...
      Rich Web pages running side-by-side with native applications
      Single programming environment for the whole desktop
      Desktop-wide mashups, killer Web integration
      Novel desktop effects

      Pyro enables a desktop that tracks the latest in Web technology, and helps mold the future of the integrated Web.
      [edit]
      NEWS

      From Ars Technica

      July, 20 2007:
      Pyro project offers Firefox-based desktop environment on Ars Technica, by Ryan Paul.
      Pyro delivers Web apps to the Linux desktop on DesktopLinux.com.

      Check out the slides!

      July, 18 2007:
      Pyro Announced during GUADEC '07 Conference Keynote Speech.
      [edit]
      How does Pyro work?

      Pyro works fundamentally by drawing your entire computer screen as a Web Page, all from within Firefox. Indeed, at the core Pyro is simply a window manager which renders Web content alongside existing native applications.

      By leveraging the trusted Firefox Add-On system, all the capabilities of dynamic HTML, JavaScript, CSS, SVG, and Adobe Flash are available to enable incredible applications, extensions and themes.

      Bringing all these Web technologies together with the newest generation of Linux display technology, called window compositing, allows Pyro to integrate native applications as an intrinsic part of the overall Web Desktop, seamlessly merging the two.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smallfries (601545)
        Maybe I'm being naive, but how would this be different to running a separate browser window for each page, without any navigation controls. You know, like some really nasty site interfaces do before you navigate away from them really quickly...

        What is the point? Why does it need a separate window manager? Why on earth does the summary mention compositing when it doesn't appear in the article?
      • lots of "rich" stuff there; sounds fattening. i see "incredible" "leveraging", too. the clincher, however, is "trusted". now we can rest easy.

        bingo!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by paulatz (744216)
      Yes, it is slahdotted, but coral cache is working: pyrodesktop.org [nyud.net].
  • IE4 Anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:21AM (#19945361)
    Didn't we learn our lesson with Active Desktop? This is one of the reasons I use Firefox instead of IE. It's not so tied into the OS that when it crashes, it's taking down other apps as well.
    • It is not the same. Active Desktop was intigrated with your desktop, Pyro IS your desktop.
    • Re:IE4 Anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by digitalaudiorock (1130835) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @09:39AM (#19945813)

      Didn't we learn our lesson with Active Desktop?
      ...and why would anyone want this anyway? The only real reason MS did this sort of thing was to support their legal argument that IE was a necessary and integral part of the OS. This is just as bad as the awful practice of embedding other applications in the browser by default instead of launching the appropriate applications externally (konqueror for example). Why does everyone want to copy all the worst ideas MS has had for browser functionality?
    • by kimvette (919543)
      Well, providing the user is prompted with a [Continue] [Cancel] dialog, everything will be just peachy. ;)
    • No one complains about Konqueror's kind of similar integration...

      But anyway, I think this kind of concept could be done well. Just two obstacles:

      No web browser that's advanced enough to run AJAX apps is simple enough to be as secure and stable as we need. It's not that we couldn't write such a browser, it just hasn't been done.

      HTML/CSS/JavaScript will always suck, performance-wise. We really should create a better standard GUI toolkit for the web, if we're intending to run applications on it.
  • If only... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jkrise (535370) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:22AM (#19945371) Journal
    the apps include a very simple word processor and a spreadsheet that could work from a server hosted within the company intranet... this would be a very useful project indeed. Basic features would do - no need for all that fancy schmancy stuff.
    • by ImaLamer (260199)
      Basic features for the office? You have a job in IT don't you?

      When you are doing (database/data) analysis and reporting on spreadsheets you certainly don't want to use the Microsoft Works style answer to 'spreadsheeting'.
      • I'd agree with you 95% - the only thing that Office has, that I can't readily find without setting up a server or datamining app, is pivot tables. I don't like Microsoft Office in the least bit, but I'll give credit where credit is due. Pivot tables make my job so much easier since I'm stuck with a legacy Access database solution and can't get my boss to let me migrate to SQL (our front end uses DAO, we'd have to wrap calls in ODBC, JDBC, or ADO.NET - I'm pushing for anything but the latter). There is ju
    • by misleb (129952)

      the apps include a very simple word processor and a spreadsheet that could work from a server hosted within the company intranet... this would be a very useful project indeed. Basic features would do - no need for all that fancy schmancy stuff.

      Because hardly anybody WANTs a simple speadsheet and word processor. Particular businesses with an intranet. People LIKE the fancy-schmancy stuff. Putting it on the intranet doesn't make a simple spreadsheet program any more attractive than if it was on your deskto

    • by Miseph (979059)
      *Whoosh* Guess that one just went over everyone's heads.

      Let me give you guys a hint: GOOGLE HAS ALREADY MADE AND LAUNCHED A WEB-BASED OFFICE SUITE. I'd be surprised if Google had absolutely no part in developing, and if they aren't yet then I'd be surprised if they still don't get involved now that it's gotten some press coverage.
  • This strangely reminds me of Microsofts Desktop in Windows 95/98 and the resulting law suits. I am no programmer, but wouldn't the performance of a desktop system written to support java script etc. be lower than that of a regular written desktop? So, in the worst case it would slow down the whole system.
    • Re:Somehow familliar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by haakondahl (893488) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:41AM (#19945459)

      This strangely reminds me of Microsofts Desktop in Windows 95/98 and the resulting law suits. I am no programmer, but wouldn't the performance of a desktop system written to support java script etc. be lower than that of a regular written desktop? So, in the worst case it would slow down the whole system.
      Regarding speed, I don't think it's an issue.

      First, all computers wait at the same speed, and presumably the point here is to accomplish something heavily dependent on the network. Even the best network (in my experience) winds up being the limiting factor.

      Second, the applications are not likely to depend on the speed of the processor for much, in the user's experience. Now obviously, if we're using bloated software like Word to accomplish what notepad could do, we'll feel the hit. On the other hand, I'm consistently frustrated by the sloth of OO apps. So if FIrefox offers an equally slow solution that is better integrated, I say it's a winner.

      Of course, I haven't RTFA, as it is FSD'ed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        First, all computers wait at the same speed, and presumably the point here is to accomplish something heavily dependent on the network. Even the best network (in my experience) winds up being the limiting factor.

        "In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're not"
        Winnie The Pooh

        Modern computers don't make everything "wait" for something to happen. They multitask. Even modern browsers (Opera, IE, Safari) multitask. Firefox doesn't.

        For Firefox, loading of several files over the network is a
  • First read (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:34AM (#19945435) Homepage

    right alongside desktop apps (through compositing).

    At first I thought that said through composting. Guess you'd have to call that organic computing.

    On a serious note....Instead, trusted Web sites and extensions are given access to the full range of interactivity and control enjoyed by native applications today.

    The "trust" issue would loom very large in that statement. Provides some interesting possibilities all the same.

    • As much as it makes me uneasy, potentially it's not that much less secure than downloading and running those random closed source shareware apps from download.com, and probably just as secure as providing your credit card info to a trusted site over the internet.

      But yeah... something about it scares me. Not sure what...
    • The "trust" issue would loom very large in that statement.

      Given FireFox's history of security issues, I would tend to agree.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cheesey (70139)
      Instead, trusted Web sites and extensions are given access to the full range of interactivity and control enjoyed by native applications today.

      Yeah, I don't like the sound of this either. Seems like a two-level trust scheme: trusted websites have access to everything.

      One of the design flaws in present day GUIs (including all the X11-based GUIs for Linux) is that one malicious application can compromise the entire GUI if it can open a window. This is true even if you take the sensible step of running untrust
      • by DrSkwid (118965)
        Present day is an amusing adjective to apply to X11.
        • by Cheesey (70139)
          I just included that so as to make it clear that this design flaw is not confined to Windows/OS X.
        • Present day is an amusing adjective to apply to X11.

          Given that X.Org is the X11 reference implementation, I do believe that present day applies when talking about X11.
      • Agree with your comments.

        The whole thing sounds to me like running web applications as popups that are exactly like the locally run application windows, both in appearance and in all, or most, of the infrastructure behind them.

        I can't think of a better way to assist malicious web apps in fooling the user by removing any clue that they're not something local and innocuous.

        A phisher's dream.
  • Didn't we decide this was a bad idea when MS did it? They might not have done it as completely as pyro, but that just sounds like a bad idea.

    I can't of course RTFA at the moment due to the flames rolling out of the webserver it is on.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      Didn't we decide this was a bad idea when MS did it?

      We? Mr. Gates is this you?
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Didn't we decide this was a bad idea when MS did it?

      No, I think we decided that it was a bad idea because MS was doing it - and was using it as an excuse for locking Windows users into IE and its capacity for "embracing and extending" web standards.

      Actually, years before that we "decided" that web apps in general were a bad idea when Sun/Oracle touted their java-based thin client/Network Computer idea. I think that died, mainly, because the question was always "yes, but will it run Word for Windows and b

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Actually, I think we decided it was a bad idea when we figured out that running an OS, then an window manager, then an application, then an (web)OS, then a (web)window manager, then the intended (web)application is horribly inefficient, and not one bit easier to program for. In fact, it's rather constricting.

      I think people are seeing how easy GUI is to do in HTML/XHTML and trying to take advantage of that, but in doing so are making it more complicated. It would be a lot smarter to make an add-on for an e
  • Wasn't this done with MS in Windows 98, the Active Desktop? See how well that worked? Why would anyone want this?
    • by aminorex (141494) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @08:57AM (#19945523) Homepage Journal
      On this interpretation, we should never use artificial intelligence because of Clippy.
      • I don't see how Clippy counts as artificial intelligence. It wasn't learning anything. It was just responding to things. If it could learn and adapt, it probably would have been good.
      • That's true, because if Clippy was true AI, he'd learn from you and become more helpful. OTOH, he'd also have instructions from MS hard-coded in for features that are detrimental to you, but good for their stock price. The end result would be self-confident schizo app (c.f. HAL 9000), who would probably do Bad Things to your documents at an inopportune time.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @09:33AM (#19945769)
      Wasn't this done with MS in Windows 98, the Active Desktop? See how well that worked? Why would anyone want this?

      That was done in 1998. It was early Web 1.0, and people didn't dig web stuff so much. But now, it's different. There are plenty of uses for a web based desktop, and to quote their site:

      Internal Server Error

      The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

      Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@pyrodesktop.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

      More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

      Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.


      I think Microsoft is totally shaking in their boots at the thought of Pyro: just consider, a connected, integrated, web desktop. It's just like .NET 3.0 except it's much slower, much less secure and runs on JavaScript. Complete winner!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)
      I don't know, but (the article is /.ted) but it sounds more like MS's HTAs - their web-as-a-desktop-app system. (HTA = Hypertext Application). They used IE as a client front end to a local (or remote) web application. It was hosted in IE but without titlebar, buttons etc. It also ran in an increased security environment (as you'd expect a desktop app to interact with the filesystem, for example, that normal web apps hosted in a 'normal' browser would not get acess to).

      It semed like a good idea, and enabled
  • Symphony OS Anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by asphaltjesus (978804) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @09:01AM (#19945547)
  • In order to head off claims that this environment would be useless if network connections were down, I should point out, that in modern business and private settings, having no network is almost as bad. In other words, being dependent on the network is probably not a liability.
  • Huh? What's this? For Linux users who wish they were running Windows?
  • by MrShaggy (683273)
    Didn't Microsoft try this with XP and IE??

    Look what happened to them..

    I will believe it when I see it.
  • So, Active Desktop is making a comeback, is it?
  • Until Firefox can solve some of the many, many bugs still present in it's product, I think that this entire discussion is silly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952)
      The bugs in Firefox are not nearly as significant as the shortcomings of XUL. XUL is definitly better for programming "rich" applications than HTML, but once you start using it you realize that the Mozilla team only developed XUL just enough to get the browser up and running. Last time I used XUL there were big parts that just didn't get any attention. And even if all the widgets did function as they were meant to, they'd still be a more limiting than common desktop toolkits. And then there's Javascript, wh
  • This just sounds like its follwing Microsoft's trend of adding even more layers of middleware to suck down all our CPU time and resources just to do the simplest of tasks.
  • User interactivity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday July 22, 2007 @11:49AM (#19946655)
    Given that Firefox already has issues with ignoring user input at various times, I guess Pyro will also bring that ability to ignore the user to the Linux desktop, as it has existed in Windows since the beginning?
  • Pyros for porn
  • Use the hammer! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Sunday July 22, 2007 @06:06PM (#19949537) Homepage Journal
    Use the hammer! When you need to insert a screw use a hammer to bash it in! When you need to saw some wood, use a hammer to break it apart! When you need a pair of tweezers to carefully manipulate a tiny electronic part, use a hammer to bash it into smithereens!

    When you're so tunnel blind that all you can see is the web, then everything starts looking like a web page.
  • We already have emacs, why would anyone switch from that?
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      EMACS?!? You heathen! Everyone knows VI is superior to EMACS in every way except bloat!

      Quickly, we must marshal the troops for a return the holy text editor wars!
  • Am I the only one to be mightily impressed at the idea of implementing Expose in javascript??

    I haven't looked yet at how well they accomplished this, but damn, I love the idea of having a common Expose-like function available to me on all the modern OS's I am forced to use daily.

    If it's GPL'ed I will check it out.
  • A combination of the speed and stability of Firefox with the app and hardware support of Linux.
  • http://gears.google.com/ [google.com]

    BTW: I don't know why so many posters are saying that msft tried to do this in 1998, or whatever. Msft has never had anything like this. Pyro would not make FF and integrated part of the desktop. And msft is always 100% proprietary. With msft it's all about vendor-lock-in, Pyro would do just the opposite.

    I can see a lot of advantages to browser-based apps. The apps can run on any platform. The apps can be server or client based. The apps can run locally, or a local intranet server, o

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