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Web OS, ajaxWindows Launched 211

BigRedFed writes "Michael Robertson, of fame, fame (or infamy depending on your view point) and more recently, has released another interesting piece of web software. ajaxWindows they are calling it and it's an almost full fledged web based OS that you can use to transport around your documents and mp3 collection to any device with an internet connection and a full web-browser."
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Web OS, ajaxWindows Launched

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  • by jtroutman ( 121577 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:04PM (#20543873)
    I think I can smell the servers burning from here...
    • "He's dead already, Jim."

      And that's too bad ... I would have liked to have taken a look at it first before commenting on it.

      Guess I'll just start commenting anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by omeomi ( 675045 )
        From the site:

        500 Servlet Exception /usr/local/ajax13web/apps/windows/content/index.html (Too many open files) at Method) at at com.caucho.vfs.FilePath.openReadImpl( at com.caucho.vfs.Path.writeToStream( at com.caucho.server.connection.AbstractResponseStream.sendFile( at com.caucho.servlets.FileServlet.service(FileServ
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ArcherB ( 796902 ) *
        As Scotty once said ...

        Actually, Bones (McCoy) said that.

        Scotty said: "If I give her any more, she'll blow apart!"

        (hate to nitpick, but it IS Star Trek!)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 )
          The end of Wrath of Khan, when Kirk tries to open the door to the reactor chamber, Scotty says, "Sir! He's dead already."
          • by ArcherB ( 796902 ) *
            The end of Wrath of Khan, when Kirk tries to open the door to the reactor chamber, Scotty says, "Sir! He's dead already."

            I guess you are right, but any time I hear "Dead" and "Jim" in the same sentence, my mind goes to either McCoy or Futurama Season 4 Ep 12 Where No Fan Has Gone Before when all the trekkies were being executed.

            Nichelle Nichols: "And so the Trekkies were executed in the mannor most befitting virgins."
            Fan 1: "whooo"
            Officer: "He is dead Jim."
            Fan 2: "warrrr"
            Officer: "He is dead Jim."
            Fan 3: "uahhhh"
            Officer: "He is dead Jim."


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They're going to need Ajax just to clean up the mess left from the burnt servers.

      ajax dot com
    • You're not missing much. Last time I saw "ajaxWindows" being worked on, it was nothing more than a regular Linux Desktop with the standard links replaced by the "ajaxOffice" applications. Given the stellar (*cough*) work done on ajaxOffice, I'm not exactly holding my breath for Michael to produce something new, original, and worth using.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 )
        The demo was back online for a short time. They moved the intro video here: []

        I'm not entirely sure what to make of it yet. It *is* a full web interface. Which is a bonus for them. (Finally.) On the other hand, I was unable to determine if it was just XUL all over again. Which would still be neat, but not nearly as neat as it could be. There's practically no mention of ajaxOffice anywhere, with the video advertising Google Office apps. Hmm...

        All the desktop widgets app
    • Dude I just took a look at the demo and almost peed my pants from laughter.

      Most of it just opens up a new browser window.

      It's a novel idea, but a toy. Much IMO like Linspire...
  • Scalable? (Score:4, Funny)

    by sgarringer ( 751574 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:05PM (#20543893) Homepage
    Zero comments and the site is already reporting 404 error, makes you wonder how scalable it is...
    • After being Slashdotted several times before, you'd think he'd learn to have enough capacity for these things. :-/
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Amouth ( 879122 )
      and we all now can see why this isnt' going to work for the near future.. it is too easy to lose what is out there - atleast with the computer infront of me if it dies ihave options about getting my data back/
  • by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:06PM (#20543911)
    Looks like the OS already crashed.
    • by blowdart ( 31458 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:17PM (#20544091) Homepage
      Until you can boot off it it's not an OS, it's a piece of marketing nonsense.
      • A system in which I operate... I don't "boot off" my phones or calculators but they most certainly have an OS.

        P.S. I so wanted to run with the "boot off" but I'll be good.....THIS time!
      • Until you can boot off it it's not an OS

        And if it doesn't have propellers, it can't be an airplane.

        Seriously, your comment brought to mind a bumper sticker I saw a few weeks ago: "If it ain't King James, then it ain't Bible!"

        Whether it meets your definition of "OS" or not, I wouldn't mind being able to access my documents and applications from any computer (including public ones) with a 'net connection and web browser.

        Not that this is going to be that, or not that it can be made sufficiently secure, or n

        • Honestly, if I wanted all my files to be portable, I'd just use a laptop.
          • by oatworm ( 969674 )
            And I'd use a briefcase.

            (Wait - different methods of portability, each useful in different sets of circumstances? No...)
        • But then it's not an operating system. It's like calling Excel a word processor, because if you try hard enough, you can type up a multipage document in it. If we want to skew the definition of words, then you could call my "keyboard" a "monkey", and say you were correct, if that meets your definition of a "monkey". You can't just go around in redefine all the words, just to make it seem like you are correct. It might be a web based desktop environment, if anything, but definitely not a web based opera
    • Hmm...


      I bet they just fried their server's CPU and they don't have any spares so they must go on a long journey to find a new one, saving the world in the process.
  • by Chapter80 ( 926879 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:07PM (#20543921)
    No problem with AjaxWindows. I don't see a lawsuit coming at all! (If Lindows causes a lawsuit, then AjaxWindows (combining the power of TWO trademarked names) should solve the problem!)
  • Cue Universal DMCA Takedown notice in 5... 4... 3... 2...
  • Operating System (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:14PM (#20544069) Journal
    So... um... where's the interrupt dispatcher at? Come to think of it, what about the IO handler or CPU scheduler?
    • by Mex ( 191941 )
      This is not an OS! This is at most a file manager. I just hate that they don't distinguish the difference.


      "Thank you for visiting

      ajaxWindows and the Ajax13 web site are temporarily down for planned
      maintenance. We expect to be back up by 2:30pm, PDT on 9/10/07

      Thanks for your interest, please visit our site again, soon."

      What shit. Yeah, I'm going to trust my files to that.
      • It's a file storage, manager and an editor. That's an operating system to most people. Everything else is part of the machine, like the CPU heat sink, that no one cares about.

        Realizing this is part of Google's success. They make it easy for people to store and manipulate their stuff and all they ask in return are text ads.

        • It's a file storage, manager and an editor. That's an operating system to most people. Everything else is part of the machine, like the CPU heat sink, that no one cares about.

          Guess what? This is a technical website. Your mom may not know (or care), what an operating system is, but 99.9% of the people here *do*. If you want a non-technical, dumbed down discussion of technology, GTFO.

          Just because some marketting asshat at ajaxWindows claims they have a "web OS", doesn't make it true.

    • Re:Operating System (Score:5, Informative)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:45PM (#20544531) Homepage Journal
      Right you are. This is not an operating system, and its backers don't pretend that it is. Not even TFA article refers to it as an OS. It's just the usual Slashdot summarizing.

      It's really an Ajax-based GUI API []. Referring to it as an "operating system" is dumb, but consistent with the way most people deal with OSs. When you hear people moan about the demise of Amiga or NextStep or Be, they almost always talk about some cool GUI feature or application, not about the software or hardware platforms the GUI is built on. And yet it's the software and hardware platforms that ultimately distinguishes one system from another. A GUI can be implemented anywhere.

      But people talk about what they know, and what most people know is the GUI. So to most people, the GUI is the OS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Radhruin ( 875377 )
        I wouldn't exactly say the backers aren't referring to it as an OS. Right on the front page it reads, "ajaxWindows is a virtual operating system". They also refer to it as an OS in the demo video [].
    • by julesh ( 229690 )
      I do intend to write a web-based OS. It will emulate a virtual machine, enabling all of the things that you mention.

      Of course, this is just an academic excercise. The actual results will be pretty much useless.
  • by Mr. BS ( 788514 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:17PM (#20544095)
    My web-based OS has crashed with an error "404 not found" and since the screen is not blue, I don't know how I should approach this! Can you please reboot the internet for me?

    Thanks in advance! :-)
  • by PineHall ( 206441 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:22PM (#20544169)
    I think it would be better to describe it as a "web desktop" and not a "web OS". There are plenty of "desktops" available on the web.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Mod parent up.

      Calling something like this an "OS" really gets on my nerves, mostly because it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what an OS is. For me, what's really sad is not that the author claims that the product is "a complete virtual PC", but that I'm hoping the misleading marketing was intentional.

      I suppose I shouldn't let it bother me too much, but still... this reminds me so much of the "internet is inside the little blue e" stuff.
  • Web OS (Score:5, Funny)

    by PalmKiller ( 174161 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:25PM (#20544213) Homepage
    Web OS, now THAT is a great oxymoron.
  • Slashdotted. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dimentox ( 678813 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:25PM (#20544221)
    He got slashdotted and now makes it seem like they planed the outage.

    "Thank you for visiting

    ajaxWindows and the Ajax13 web site are temporarily down for planned
    maintenance. We expect to be back up by 2:30pm, PDT on 9/10/07

    Thanks for your interest, please visit our site again, soon."

    • Well now at least we know hes up and up and can truly be trusted with my data :P
    • Or he didn't have a 500 page ready for being 'dotted.
      It now says:

      Thank you for visiting

      We are currently experiencing massive amounts of user registrations and traffic.
      Please check back with us in a few minutes.

      Thanks for your interest, The Ajax13 Team
  • YAWOS (Score:4, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:25PM (#20544223) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, another "Web OS"! Now with more marketing!
  • Well, maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    From the article, last line...

    "We may wake the giant, but we're ready.
    Oh, ya think?

    Damn, I love this guy. Who else would do something like this? Bear in mind, this is the guy whom Microsoft sued for using the name Lindows, and ends up getting paid $20 million []. Oh, and the RIAA? While others end up paying the record labels thousands for petty downloading, Michael Robertson founds, commercializes file sharing, and gets paid hundreds of millions [] and then goes on to take that money to start Lindows, which, of course, lays the foundation for another pay day. And all of it using open source software.

    So when Michael Robertson says that he is ready, I interpret this to mean that he is getting ready for another pay day at Microsoft's expense. LOL, party at Michael's house!
    • Re:Well, maybe... (Score:4, Informative)

      by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:30PM (#20545095) Journal
      For what is worth this guy is the one that is *really* bringing linux to the masses (or users) in Mexico, by selling cheap computers (at wallmart; Elektra shops [they sell home furniture and electronics providing 2, 3 or 5 years financing]). He is the kind of people that Linux needs, and although you might not know; Lindows is now based on the same Ubuntu distribution.

      I am currently using Ubuntu 7.04. But if you askme what is the reason why I am not using Linspire, the answer is because I just got to the Linspire page *after* Installing Ubuntu in my PC. But, for my non-freedom-advocacy-crazy (similarly to almost all the PC end users) needs, Linspire seems really appealing.
      • Lots of people bash Michael Robertson for one thing or another, but I completely agree with you -- he and his Linspire team have done a good job of preparing a GNU/Linux distro for the mainstream.

        One of the biggest contributions that Michael Robertson made to the Free Software community (yes, that means all of us, including Eric S. Raymond) is that he envisioned a commercial distro which would be palatable to North Americans. I have traveled to 3 continents and five nations to shoot filmed interviews
      • I just can't stand people who think that wanting free (as freedom) software is crazy, religious or unpractical. Mostly because it is actually the opposite, open source is the most practical thing for end users, since they get the advantages from software without having to suffer the problems of proprietary software later. If end users were truly practical they would prefer the open source way.

        And if you think Linspire seems really appealing just install KDE to your ubuntu box and get a custom theme, oh g

        • by xtracto ( 837672 )
          And if you think Linspire seems really appealing just install KDE to your ubuntu box and get a custom theme, oh god... It is not like Linspire has done much more than just adding KDE and proprietary grabage to ubuntu, things you can do yourself without the hassle of dealing with patent crap from microsoft...

          And yet this "not much more than just adding KDE and propietary garbage" is what makes people buy Linspire and hence, adopt Linux! Maybe you read my comment wrongly, I have nothing against any other peop
    • FTR... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msimm ( 580077 ) was probably one of the best music sites around at the time for unsigned or self promoting artists. In fact to this day I've seen nothing nearly as good or diverse. The music scandal was the online storage they where trying to offer, which I didn't pay much attention to because I was there for the new music. AFAIR they where supposed to be allowing you "storage" for your existing CD's. I don't now how it worked or if there was any verification method but I don't honestly think it's such a bad idea.
      • I completely agree with what you are saying, and I would take it one step further. IMHO, Michael Robertson is doing as much as Richard Stallman, Steve Weber, The Pirate Bay and maybe even Che Guevara to redefine the nature of property. Each of these four guys / entities has done something to help us envision or experience "intellectual property" in a radical new way.

        Richard Stallman formalized the idea of "Free Software." Steve Weber gave Free Software a new name, calling it an "anti-rival" resource [],
  • The chutzpah they have. What cell in their brains misfired when they decided to call it ajaxWindows?

    I mean, Lindows went down for Chrissake, and these guys believe Microsoft won't go after them for trademark infringement? And rightly so. Many people may be mislead this is actually *Windows* written in ajax. And it's not. It's same poor imitation that has windows.

    "Windows" is a registered trademark for an OS. If they claim this is "Web OS" they have, then quite rightly they will be sued and lose.
    • by SLi ( 132609 )
      You remember how the judge didn't like MS's argument that Windows is a valid trademark, and they actually ended up paying Lindows?
    • That is the brilliance of Michael Robertson's strategy, and why he will win, again. Windows is far too generic a term, and Microsoft is vulnerable there, IMHO. That is probably why Microsoft paid Lindows to stop using a term that sounded like Windows. Microsoft new that it had chosen a name that is too generic. After all, a window is just the name for a frame. From Microsoft's home town newspaper [], the Seattle Times:

      Microsoft has settled its trademark-infringement lawsuit against and will p

      • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
        That is the brilliance of Michael Robertson's strategy, and why he will win, again.

        I'll accept that you call this "brilliant" only if we call patent trolls "brilliant". Because that's what his strategy is: a mutated version of patent trolling.

        If Microsoft doesn't sue, they'll lose the trademark, if they sue, they'll lose the trademark. I can think of plenty of things Microsoft can be attacked for, an picking a generic word for their well recognized Windows brand isn't one of those.

        Yea it's a pity they didn'
        • by xtracto ( 837672 )
          If Microsoft doesn't sue, they'll lose the trademark, if they sue, they'll lose the trademark. I can think of plenty of things Microsoft can be attacked for, an picking a generic word for their well recognized Windows brand isn't one of those.

          Oh but nobody is to blame here except for Microsoft, for calling their product as a very generic name used in the industry. The truth is that they should not have a Trademark on such a word. And if they have been able to hold it until now is because of the fear they pu
        • Robertson is not a patent troll. He has actual businesses, and they are selling actual products, and actually making money. He has spotted a weakness in the business model of a ruthless monopolist (Microsoft) and he has the courage to attack that weakness.

          That is the brilliance of Michael Robertson's strategy, and why he will win, again.

          I'll accept that you call this "brilliant" only if we call patent trolls "brilliant". Because that's what his strategy is: a mutated version of patent trolling.


  • For FlexOS. This idea that you can do an ajaxOS is nonsense. The mere fact that you can't feasibly do sorts on large tables using javascript tells us that.
  • isBroke() (Score:3, Funny)

    by joeslugg ( 8092 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:36PM (#20544375)
    returned '1'
  • google (Score:2, Informative)

    by Cyko_01 ( 1092499 )
    according to the video [] it's already integrated with most of google's web apps. It's only a matter of time until they buy it out. Hopefully they will put it on some better servers as well
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by quantum bit ( 225091 )
      I was able to get to the site and tried the demo. "Integrated" means that when you click on 'Browser' or 'eMail', it simply opens a new (native, not one of its ajax-pseudo-windows) browser window pointing to or
  • Now, I use firefox like any self respecting geek, but the whole point of this is supposed to run on anyone ELSE's computer. The unfortunate reality is I can't count on firefox being on other people's computers. If I want to borrow a computer (say a computer in a library) to run my stuff over the web, and then am required to download and install either firefox or an activeX thing to use it, you've sort of defeated the purpose, haven't you?
    • by AusIV ( 950840 )
      I keep a portable version of firefox on my flash drive. In fact, I think I keep equivalents of all of the apps offered by AjaxWindows on my flash drive. I'll pass.
  • Practical? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VonSkippy ( 892467 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @04:42PM (#20544471) Homepage
    So I get a computer, then I load a OS, then I need a Web Browser, and I need to get a Internet Connection, THEN I can connect to a Web Service that provides me with ANOTHER desktop so that I can store stuff. Wow, compared to a $30 dollar thumb drive, that IS convenient.
    • by xtracto ( 837672 )
      I think they should name these things more like "Online Desktop". They could really exploit all the marketing singergy of the "desktop" branding and it will be a more appropiate name for the program. I think the main [useful] idea of these things is to have a set of tools and documents available on any computer independently of operating system.

      So yeah, as Online Desktop I think it might be something nice, of course I personally *hate* JavaScript bloated Apps, in part because the same nature of javascript
  • Sure, you can also let people open a browser-based VNC session to whatever server OS. This will at least give them instant responsiveness and rich user interface rather than whatever can be cobbled together in Javascript. The question is, who guarantees security and backups of your data? What happens if the company goes belly up? What if you don't like the latest upgrade of their web app and would rather use the previous version? What if they start to charge for the "webOS" access or increase the existing s
  • There is a web browser inside the web browser!
    • by stm2 ( 141831 )
      This could be useful when you are using a insecure browser at a public place and want to use the net with firefox, without install it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quantum bit ( 225091 )

      There is a web browser inside the web browser!
      That's what I thought at first until I tried actually clicking on it and it just popped open a new firefox window. Lame.
  • I checked out the bankruptcy auction a few years back. The stuff they had in there was a mind-blowing waste of money. Tons of the best new equipment, hideously expensive (and ugly) interior decorating including an honest to god bordello for visiting musicians. In one of the oak-paneled developer conference rooms with 360-degree white boards and projectors and other gadgets galore, somebody had written the note: "Robertson + $$ = stupidity"
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:06PM (#20544843) Homepage

    I'm sitting at a Sun Ultra 40 running Windows XP 64-bit edition. 4 CPU cores. 8GB RAM. NVIDIA QuadroFX 3450 graphics. I'm on a gigabit connection to a major internet link (major financial news and data company). Even so, ajaxWindows recreates that, sticky, gummy, nasty feeling of running X-Windows when the machine isn't really powerful enough and dragging solid windows around is still a reckless waste of horsepower.

    The early 90s called, they want their SPARCstation 5s back.

  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:06PM (#20544849)
    This sucks worse than most similar sites I've looked at.

    The server running slowly showed up some serious cracks in their design. First off, they're calling this AJAX? It _pauses_ while downloading stuff. Some core code is _not_ asynchronous.

    There are a number of problems with the user interface. At one point I was prompted with a browser window about trusting the site without any comment that this would happen. When I said I didn't trust it, I ended up with a box on the screen that obscured other windows, even when they were supposedly in front of it in z-order. Assuming the content would have been implemented with Java, I don't see how this is ever going to be different, even if I had decided to trust it (Java applet components cannot have HTML-rendered components in front of them; basic browser limitation).

    When I told it to add a new application, it crashed. No components worked.

    Many elements of the user interface are blatant ripoffs of other people's designs. The add applications dialog uses an almost identical layout and icon set to Microsoft's similar control panel application in Windows. The icon for their "synchronize" application is a direct rip-off of Palm's HotSync icon.

    And finally, when I closed the desktop window, it crashed Firefox. I couldn't switch tabs, and couldn't set the focus to any controls. I had to kill it and restart to post this message.
    • it behaves differently on every client hardware / software combination and installed programs. and some registry stuff. and some settings. and then some more stuff.

      client side scripting = gambling
  • Never heard of youOS? [] It's a java-based web operating system. And it runs better than the Ajax one.
    • I think you mean Javascript (the 'J' in AJAX). I just went to the site and opened the demo, and there are definitely no java_vm processes running.
    • Never heard of youOS? [] [] It's a java-based web operating system. And it runs better than the Ajax one.

      Nah, that's written in Ajax too, but it just seems to work better and the web browser is from within the 'os'. ajaxWindows just has a better UI.
  • by AlanCramer ( 1132757 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @05:53PM (#20545391) Homepage
    I could swear that is something the wife told me to do whilst Ajaxing the Bathroom, and Toilet... Surely they could come up with a better name like...Windex or something like that
  • by bhmit1 ( 2270 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:19PM (#20545653) Homepage
    Let the flames begin! []

    Sorry, couldn't help it.
  • silly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:28PM (#20545743) Homepage Journal
    when I selected the option to logout, I saw a confirmation dialog: do you want to continue? Yes. Cancel.
    So I guessed that 'Yes' meant that I want to 'continue' loging out.

    Anyway, for me in FF 1.5 the right click on the 'desktop' showed to menues at the same time: on the bottom there was this 'os' context menu and on the top there was FF context menu and I could only chose items in the FF context menu.

    The windows are slow. The widgets did not execute (some error.) The 'console' didn't open (maybe for IE it will, I don't know.) What is the point of all of this?
  • Beware (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deinesh ( 770292 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:31PM (#20545793)
    IANAL, but here is what I read in their " []privacy policy":
    Second, we collect personal and personally identifiable information such as your name, email address, physical address, telephone number, credit card number and information concerning software downloaded, products and content purchased, accessed and/or downloaded through our products and services.

    Choice/Opt-Out Back to top
    We do not disclose an individual customer's personally identifiable information to third parties for third-party direct marketing purposes if we have received and processed a request from that customer not to have his or her personal information shared for this purpose. You may submit this type of opt-out request by sending an email to: with the words "Opt Out" in the subject line, or to the following mailing address: Customer Service, Ajax13, Inc., 5960 Cornerstone Court West, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121. In addition, we also allow you to decide whether you want to receive further marketing information from us. If you do not want Ajax13 to send to you announcements or special offers by email, please email us in the same manner as described above with the word "Remove" in the subject line. Please allow up to two weeks for your request to be processed.


    Looks like they can sell your info to spammers unless you opt-out. If you wan't to try them out, do not give them your "good" email address.
  • Try this:

    Hit the "start" button at the bottom. Open "Programs > Accessories > Console" (yes, this thing has a fake version of cmd.exe, limited to basic navigation and file copying)

    You start in the "root directory". Run "del Applications", "del Documents", "del Pictures", and "del System".

    Your root directory is now empty. There are no "files" on your "drive". The "desktop" doesn't crash, nor does it update in any way, nor does the start menu change, but all the shortcuts on the desktop stop working
  • YAY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by greywire ( 78262 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @06:51PM (#20546013) Homepage
    My "computer" has been slashdotted!

    No thanks.
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:30PM (#20546945) Homepage
    It's slow as hell, doesn't do anything my local desktop doesn't do already, and the interface is horrible. Other than that it's fine.

    The problem with web desktops is that these guys aren't asking the question, "What problem do people have that we can solve using Javascript?" They're asking, "How cool would it be if we could make a desktop on the web?!" It's a solution looking for a problem.

    This sort of thing could be REALLY useful, but not by emulating desktops. I'm never in the position where I say, "Hey, I wish I could click on desktop icons remotely." Emulating vi [] or emacs in Javascript, however, kicks ass, because I *always* want vi keybindings in browser text areas, and making quick changes to web sites with a decent editor in Javascript would mean I could skip the "upload the changes via ftp" step that cheap web hosts make you go through.

    I also don't know why the people who write these things can't implement a "window" with a border properly so that the border doesn't lag horribly behind the window content when you drag it. Use a div, and make it draggable. Put the content inside. Then make your empty window div a Javascript prototype so that Javascript applications can subclass it. Don't worry about shiny gradients until I can drag a window without it falling apart.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.