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WebOS Market Review

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the anything-good-out-there dept.

173

ReadWriteWeb writes "A number of small startups are trying their luck building a WebOS, which is a software platform that interacts with the user through a web browser and does not depend on any particular local operating system. Current WebOS contenders include XIN, YouOS, EyeOS, Orca, Goowy and Fold. There's also a bit of crossover with Ajax homepages like Netvibes, Pageflakes, Microsoft's Live.com and Google's start page. The key difference from Ajax homepages is that a WebOS is a full-on development platform. Indeed for developers, a big benefit is that a WebOS theoretically makes it easier to develop apps that work cross-platform. DHTML and Javascript are the main tools to do that, but not all developers think they are suitable."

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WHY? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189055)

This is colosally STUPID

Re:WHY? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189061)

I find your opinions very interesting. Where can I subscribe to your newsletter?

Re:WHY? (5, Interesting)

Troposphere (900433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189108)

Absolutely agree. Only people who have never used javascript and DHTML would even dream such madness. Or possibly fanatical Javascript zealots, if they exist in some cave somewhere. This is too painful to even begin thinking about. Perhaps a Web OS might have worked if the conceptual infrastructure had been put in place for it at the beginning, but instead we now have a crippled monster that has been built up by feature accretion and bastardization, all dictated by a heady mixture of spineless toady bureaucrats and greedy corporate raiders. We need a disruptive technology to fix this mess now, I'm afraid. We are not going to get there by evolution.

Re:WHY? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189340)

Spoken like someone who thinks he would still have to accomodate Netscape 4.

Re:WHY? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189503)

No, more like spoken by someone who knows he'd have to accomodate IE, Firefox, Opera, Netscape 7, Safari. At that point, it's almost easier to just write an app in Java that supports Windows/Mac/Linux. Or write an app in C++ using gtk that supports all three. I've done enough work in AJAX to know that the differences between the browsers make it a big pain to make it work in all of them. Opera doesn't have document.implementation.createDocument working correctly yet, apparently it's fixed in 9.0, which is still in beta. Not to even go off on on the CSS bugs that are present in every browser. If you want a multiplatform app, there's much easier ways to do it. The only thing that web based gives you is instant user upgrades/bug fixes.

Re:WHY? (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189910)

I think you are missing the point. If they setup an new language *HappyJoy* and write a *HappyJoy* compiler to cross platform java script. You use can then code in *HappyJoy* (which will only have features that it can implement on all supported platforms) and not care what the user's are running on. Now IMO if they setup a simple form validation / basic DHTML language this could work well for most simple apps. The problem with JavaScript is there is no separation between the cross browser hacks and the basic functional code which means that even the simplest functionality can quickly get out of hand.

PS: We have Java if you want to make an App what we need is a way to get simple form validation / DHTML working.

Re:WHY? (1, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189410)

agreed. saying that javascript and dhtml are better because they work across all platforms is like saying anal sex is better as it works across all genders...

Re:WHY? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189499)

Mis WEBOS!!

(or "My nuts" in Spanish, relatively similar to the expression "my ass").

Sorry mods, I just had to say it and did not find any relevant parent :)

Re:WHY? (1)

Serilkath_Montreal (922707) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189554)

agreed. saying that javascript and dhtml are better because they work across all platforms is like saying anal sex is better as it works across all genders...
It's not ?

If you're going to rip off bash.org quotes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189672)

at least attribute them properly: http://bash.org/?338364 [bash.org]

Re:WHY? (2, Interesting)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189759)

Aw, come on. You gotta admit that this UN*X-like OS in JavaScript [masswerk.at] thing is pretty cool. :)

Re:WHY? (1)

itsdave (105030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189189)

thank you,

thats what i was thinking.

Re:WHY? (1)

eBunny (907385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189579)

I find the idea of a whole suite of programs (i won't consider the 'OS' bit since it really makes no sense) that relies on web technology to be somewhat interesting.

If not only because my favorite browser have been putting alot of work into a crossplatform coding environment that seems promising (Opera Platform for cellphones, and Opera Widgets).

The whole idea of creating a quick'n'easy (most of the work are already done by the browser) crossplatform coding environment seems like a bad re-run of what java was supposed to be, but to me this seems like it got some more bounce to it, plus some of the bad bits left out.

Re:WHY? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189777)

I find the idea of a whole suite of programs (i won't consider the 'OS' bit since it really makes no sense) that relies on web technology to be somewhat interesting.

Interesting in the same way that 3rd degree burns are interesting to a doctor.

-matthew

Good luck with that (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189067)

I'm staying away from this stuff until AJAX stops meaning "let their damn computers do all the work".

Re:Good luck with that (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189091)

What? Don't be silly! Why, in five years time, everyone will be doing it! They'll want their Office Suite hosted in Germany, their Calender in the USA, their Webmail in Australia, their CRM in South Korea and they'll store their data in China. Everybody will trust these companies and individuals to keep their data safe and secure (Who wouldn't?!) and none of these business will go bust and take all of your data with them, oh no. It's the Web 2.0, don't you know? Who wants to use a computer these days, when you can use a client instead? It's far cooler! As long as you ignore the latency and bandwidth issues. And the disproportionate differences in functionality. And the security implications. And the costs. And the total lack of control you'll have as a user. Can't you see how much better it will be?

Re:Good luck with that (4, Insightful)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189181)

I couldn't agree more. What's the point?

If I wanted a customisable environment I could access anywhere, I'd make a custom install of a lightweight linux OS on a flash drive and carry it around with me. All my programs, anywhere - plus encrypted storage, plus no need for a network connection, plus no bandwidth usage, plus no latency issues, plus programs that I choose, customise, install and run myself, that I trust, that I can examine the source code of and compile myself if I choose OSS, plus no server downtime, plus less risk of my personal data being accessible by any one of thousands of users with read/write privaledges in an account on the same server that I use that happens to find an unpatched exploit.

The move toward a WebOS is another part of the "stupid user" school of computer education. Instead of actually promoting learning how to use a box properly, you just move all the sensitive stuff server-side. "Installing programs? We'll do that for you! Configuring system files? Leave that to us! Data storage? Backups? System Patches? Anti-virus? Malware detection? It's all on us! You don't need to know a damned thing, just sit down at your thousand dollar terminal, log in, point and click. Sports Broadcasts will resume as normal."

It's just another aspect of the great computer devide that's gradually starting. On the one hand, unix geeks who run their own systems and software, spec their own hardware, believe in open source, try to make personal backups of media, won't buy DRM and want control of their own boxes. On the other, the average consumer who doesn't give a damn about anything aside from getting a system that just works with as little management and maintanence as possible. For the second group, WebOS is brilliant. All you need to remember is a URL, a login and a password. Instant system wherever you are. You've surrenedered the autonomy of your box, but in return you get an easier system to manage. It's a dream for content suppliers as well - imagine the strength of DRM if the average media player is stored on a remote server, and the user has no access to it's program files.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189734)

Wow, it's just like the automobile divide. On the one hand, mechanic geeks who install their own water pumps. On the other, the average consumer who just wants to be able to drive to work. Imagine that!

Re:Good luck with that (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189795)

Wow, it's just like the automobile divide.

could everyone please stop it with the car analogies? a computer is nothing like a car.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189901)

Gee, I don't think you understand the purpose of analogies. When I say that "engine is to car as processor is to computer," I'm not saying that "car = computer," and if you can't see the analogous relationship, you're the one with a problem. Sometimes it seems that slashdotters won't accept an analogy unless it's a 1:1 relationship, as "engine is to car as engine is to car." There's no such thing as a perfect analogy, but we mustn't let that cause us to throw out the category altogether.

The point is that most folks don't want to be bothered with maintenance -- and there's nothing wrong with that. People have plenty to master in their own particular areas of expertise without having to learn how to "make a custom install of a lightweight linux OS on a flash drive." That's a ridiculous thing to expect of any average computer user.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190082)

There's a difference between vehicle maintenance and learning how to care for a vehicle. Most people realize that they have to change their oil, clean their car, check their tire pressure, listen for weird noises, and take the car to the shop when it starts pulling too much to the left (or the right in britain, it doesn't matter unless it's pulling into traffic). With computers, people can't even be bothered to learn how to drive, let alone learn the basics of computer care.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

MartinB (51897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189988)

It's just another aspect of the great computer devide [sic] that's gradually starting.
  • On the one hand, unix geeks who run their own systems and software, spec their own hardware, believe in open source, try to make personal backups of media, won't buy DRM and want control of their own boxes.
  • On the other, the average consumer who doesn't give a damn about anything aside from getting a system that just works with as little management and maintanence as possible.

It's essentially the difference between having systems as interesting in their own right, and systems that are useful to carry out tasks (work, play, whatever). As long as the user is getting their service from someone trustworthy, then unless you actually do care about knowing what's happening for the sake of knowing (rather than the sake of it working) it doesn't matter a damn, and you can take your DRM FUD elsewhere.

But I'm not sure those are as mutually exclusive as you might think. What's strange with wanting a system that works with as little management and maintenance as possible, and yet is fully accessible? Or gives you rights over the content stored on it? It's just a different model of ASP. Think about hosting companies that offer Plesk consoles, but on a different deal, offer a root ssh login (to a virtualised server I presume).

And most geeks with their own boxes still rely on others to help them manage their systems - unless you really are (yes, yes: I'm an insensitive clod) downloading source code for all apps, patches and upgrades, inspecting it, compiling it and so on, rather than relying on package management systems, then this means you too.

Holy astroturfing Batman! (3, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189072)

Oh the humanity, a submitted link that links to a blog! This couldn't be a thinly veiled attempt to drive up page hits, could it? Lets see, a user called 'ReadWriteWeb', and its linking to a blog about 'WebOS' (stupid term, misnomer, buzzword-compliant). What's next a Roland Piquipaille story?

Re:Holy astroturfing Batman! (1, Funny)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189125)

I think your mention of this just drove up the traffic considerably. People will read your comment, then click the link.

Well, actually... (2, Funny)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189466)

Actually, I was just going to submit a link to my thoughts on my birthday party a week ago [sigg3.net] .
It was kind of lame since we had tapas, and if you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm not totally into the tapas. Not totally.
But I know it was an expression of love, and of gratitude, and for that I'm grateful. Colour me touched.
Then I saw aliens the other day. It's not my favourite (number 3 is), but I still think it's funny. Those aliens make about the same noise the darn neighbourhood cats do when they're getting it on somewhere in the vicinity. You can barely sleep in that noise. They mostly come at night. Mostly.
Today I haven't done much. I bought a ATA33 cable, this dude behind the counter was just staring at me, so, you know, I just placed my elbow on the counter and stared back at 'him and said, like: They are really hard to come by.
Since I'm here, I'd like to give a shout-out to my brothers and my sister, my mother and father, and just let you know that I miss you all and that life in the big city is not all that. And mum, I couldn't survive much longer on frozen pizza. Thanks for the food!
I still don't have enough cash for a vacuum cleaner (although I have ordered a small, USB-powered vacuum cleaner, but I don't have enough cable) so I suggest you do not come visiting just yet. My mail is down, but that's ok, just hang out on /. and we'll meet here.

Not Exactly (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189078)

1. WebOS is a misleading name. "Web Desktop" is a more appropriate term. I know that most users use the terms interchangably, but as techies we really shouldn't be encouraging them.

2. Most of these "WebOSes" are a mess. EyeOS just IFrames everything, Orca doesn't seem to work (at least not for me), YouOS is about at the XEdit and XTerm level, Fold is a fancy Portal environment, and XIN isn't available yet. These are nice starts to desktops, but they're a long way from fully featured desktop replacements. Right now, they're just fancy portals.

3. Google is not building a WebOS. Or at least, that's my opinion. There's no inherent advantage to building a windowing system in a browser other than the possibility of Web integration. Unfortunately, if the desktop isn't actually a real desktop (i.e. the only interface you see), then it isn't in any better position to provide Web integration than the web brower itself. Desktop development APIs are best saved for regular AJAX work until an actual need for a desktop arises.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189216)

Personally, all the web services basically form an OS. Gmail, meebo, Google Calendar, and Writely allow me to plop down at any stupid Internet terminal and get some work done. I don't need a spreadsheet, or anything. I guess all the web windowing clients actually miss the point. I guess it would be sweet to abstract the AJAX into neat web APIs but there's already so much functionality using independent libraries that there would be very little value to be added through the standardization of the base libraries.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189253)

Until web services work with each other, adhering to an underpinning even stronger than JavaScript and IE/Firefox's support of JavaScript, there is no "OS." There's a humongous difference between running a cool bunch of web applications and running an operating system.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

mike3411 (558976) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189464)

The advantage I would see to integration would simply be efficiency. If I have a document on Gmail, I would have to download the attachment, open it in the word processor (Writely or whatever) for editing, save to disk, and then attach it in a new email. Obviously this is not terribly complicated, but having an online file system with applications that can be used to work with those files would be pretty nice.

NB i haven't used Writely, so I don't know what its feature set includes. Still waiting to hear when I can sign up : /

Re:Not Exactly (1)

706GL (172709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189255)

WebOS is a misleading name. "Web Desktop" is a more appropriate term. I know that most users use the terms interchangably, but as techies we really shouldn't be encouraging them.

I know, I'm sure the kernel developers out there grimace ever time they hear the term WebOS. All your doing is replacing the top layer that displays the application. The stuff that an OS does is several orders of magnitude more complex than a web rendering engine. When you and on top of that the fact that it's a stupid idea to begin with, well, blech.

more than misleading (1)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189382)

In Spanish, it pronounces as "uebos" which is too close to "huevos" (in fact 100% the same in most regions).

Means "eggs" or slang alternative to "testicles" similar to "cojones" or English "balls"

No me toqueis los Webos.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

arakon (97351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189542)

Okay so I have an idea of an OS that is based of an extremely permissioned web-server (think Apache) and all the applications on it would be standard AJAX, PHP, Perl, etc. All the user/software information could be stored in xml locally. The users desktop would be a customized Firefox browser (basically in Kiosk mode so no tool bars) with the login option that tells the apache server what level access to allow this user. From there the user has a "homepage" tha lists the systemwide menus and applications he has access to.

I've been thinking about this for a few years now, since I started using server-sided scripting on a regular basis. I just think it would make my life a lot easier to do the equivilent of "run" to test code before I post it to the www. Right now I'm using XAMMP(sp?) to sort of simulate this (at least the part where I test code locally) but its just another service running on top of a lot of other stuff I don't need running atm. Most of my work is done on web languages now anyway. This could probably be done with a highly tailored linux distribution on a pretty low-powered machine.

What would you call this model of an OS? All of the apps would be written in web scripting languages, and installing new packages/software applications would be downloading a new script. I would call it a WebOS since its based entirely on web technology, but I would hate to step on anyone's toes by using a "buzzword". Buzzwording is bad, but some of the comments are just way out of line. "Internet" and "web" have been buzzwords for a very long time now and people don't go this ape-shit when a product comes out as being "internet capable" or an "internet game". I see it simply as an apt description of what the product is trying to do. I believe I would define it as buzzwording when they make the product sound overly important by using large words that have nothing to do with the product.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189703)

Okay so I have an idea of an OS that is based of an extremely permissioned web-server

First and foremost, that is not an OS. You're talking about a type of graphical shell that uses RPC for communications. (Like most modern environments do.) If you're looking for a term for it, use "Web Desktop".

The users desktop would be a customized Firefox browser (basically in Kiosk mode so no tool bars) with the login option that tells the apache server what level access to allow this user.

Just so you're aware, this is a very easy thing to accomplish. Simply start XWindows without a Window Manager (running 'X' at the command line is sufficient), then run Mozilla or Firefox in kiosk mode, with the following command line parameters:
-geometry <WIDTH>x<HEIGHT>+0+0 http://localhost/
Replace "<WIDTH>" and "<HEIGHT>" with the screen width and height.

That should get you started on fully testing your idea. The key issue is that if the Mozilla engine opens any new browser windows, there will be no window interface. To do this "right", you'd need to find a simple Window Manager capable of keeping your "Desktop" window at the back of the screen. (Or in whatever configuration you prefer. You can do the "one window at a time" interface too.) Alternativelty, it's not that hard to build a new browser off the Gecko engine that will handle new windows in the way you specify.

Good luck!

Re:Not Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189731)

I'm using one right now and let me tell you...

This thing is pretty lame. I'm browsing slashdot through a browser in a browser...

I mean seriously...

I feel dumb for actually doing this.

Oh well, at least someone can farm away all of my contacts, browsing habbits and pretty much everything else about me. All from the comfort of my chair!

Re:Not Exactly (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190024)

You forgot 4:

4. Ajax/"live" content sites are driven not by DHTML, but (in most cases) by DOM scripting.

Overall, the "article" says almost nothing. What little it does manage to say seems to be incorrect and/or ill-informed...

Cross Platform? (5, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189079)

Indeed for developers, a big benefit is that a WebOS theoretically makes it easier to develop apps that work cross-platform.

Isn't that what Java was supposed to do? All this "Web 2.0" stuff is getting out of hand; It's trying to duplicate a technology that already exists with inferior tools. I would rather have all the effort go into improving something that already exists.

Java sucks balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189160)

Isn't that what Java was supposed to do? All this "Web 2.0" stuff is getting out of hand; It's trying to duplicate a technology that already exists with inferior tools. I would rather have all the effort go into improving something that already exists.

And we all know that Java needs a hell of a lot of improvement.

Re:Java sucks balls (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189487)



A silly statement. Java is being used to develop applications that can be deployed cross-platform right now by a vast number of developers. Nothing comes close.

Re:Cross Platform? (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189200)

Speaking of java...

Once you've shoehorned everything need into a web application development framework (or bolted together everything you need from several frameworks), you practically have an operating system's worth of functionality and complexity.

The difference is that you can't develop on it directly. Most web applications, if they were desktop applications would be dead simple. But it's not simple to do even a merely decent simple web application, for a couple of reasons. First is that you have to decide how to bolt all the services you'll need together, the effort of which surely must be highly reusable. Even if you use something like AppFuse, you still have a development model that is like the old batch days; faster to be sure, but surely it creates a kind of frictional loss that adds up over the course of a project.

The thing that makes Microsoft's product offerings compelling in many corporate environments is that by sticking with their entire product stack in every tier, the very existence of the tiers is somewhat papered over.

I think the idea of a Web Desktop is even better. The idea is to remove as much context as possible from the programmer's brain. A web desktop would encourage programmers to think in the problem domain rather than the web domain. Next, if you can abstract IPC and distribute processes over a cluster, you have a system where "enterprise" doesn't necessarily imply "complex and error prone".

Re inventing the wheel (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189404)

if we dont keep re-inventing the wheel, ( regardless if the original wheel was good or bad - wont get into that debate here about java ) then the market slumps.. They have to keep pushing out the 'latest and greatest' re-hash every so often to sell product.

Its sort of like the corner resturant selling leftovers and calling it something new, so people come back in to eat.

Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (5, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189081)

If people wanted to use an X terminal they'd buy X terminals. People don't buy $500-$2000 computers just to handicap themselves by running some web-based operating system and using their computer as a dumb terminal. We went through similar hype years ago with the whole network computing idea of using a dumbed-down network appliance box and accessing software from an online application provider. That fell flat on its face as well. How many times do these people have to keep trying to reinvent the same concept over and over before they realize that people LIKE having a fat client on their desktop so they don't have to be connected 24/7 to a network?

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

sendtwogrey (967794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189128)

But an X-terminal doesn't give OS cross compatibility. HTTP does, a thin client with only a restricted browser = no down time due to personal e-mail, card games, msn or a the EBay denial of service attack.

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189166)

But an X-terminal doesn't give OS cross compatibility.

That is in fact exactly what it gives you. The server & client just have to talk XDCMP. Unless the large number of users who are running Exceed on WindowsXP to run UNIX applications on HP-UX & Solaris boxes are a figment of my imagination.

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

sendtwogrey (967794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189224)

I haven't many embedded Linux routers or print servers that talk XDCMP, I can't find a mobile phone that does either so I can't check the server status remotely, and if the sales rep's couldn't check their clients order status from their mobile phones before going into a meeting I'd be unemployed!.
HTTP the universal interface!!!

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189351)

So what's your point? That manufacturers don't know what they're doing and insist on re-inventing the same things even though their implementation is worse and/or badly suited to the task in hand? Or that you don't know what you're doing and insist on pointy-clicky interfaces to do every damn task even when they're badly suited for the task in hand?

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

sendtwogrey (967794) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190117)

Manufactures who don't know what they are doing go bankrupt, hence the router configuration progression from RS232 -> Telnet -> HTTP.

The reason I like pointy-clicky interfaces is that the system users these days understand them intuitively. My remit is to provide system users the tools they need to be productive and if that's a thin client running an embedded browser for data entry, team leaders running Crystal reports on XP and sales rep's pulling data from their mobile phones, so be it.

While not the most efficient use CPU cycles, it does mean that should I change the back end from Oracle running on Solaris to MySQL on Linux there is very little I have to rewrite and the client terminals don't need to be updated nor the users retrained.

The sooner all devices render HTML and POST XML the happier I'll be because all my systems will then be compatible and I will no longer need to shell out a couple of thousand on a SDK that only enables data flow in one direction keeping me tied into one system.

Do I care that accounts wanted their own Micro$oft SQL server no, in eighteen months have they realised that the only data stored on it is a set of procedures caching data from my system, no, efficient use of hardware, no, do they have the pointy-clicky reporting interface they needed to be more efficient yes!

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (3, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189132)

People dont care what lies under that cool app as long as it works and makes things easier and better. Most people would love to just use their computer and stop being their own sysadmin.

The only thing that has held network applications back is bandwidth and price. Now thats not a problem anymore.

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189368)

furthermore, I'd add it's the browser wars and the associated lack of standardization that's really slowed things down. I'd say web applications are becoming just another tool in the toolbox, and indeed powerful.

The best examples I've tried are gmail/google calendar/google chat. Privacy issues aside, I much prefer this combo to my previous solution. The reasons include accessibility, non-administration and not having the Outlook the Elephant weigh down on my memory (that program just needs to go on a diet - as well as a trip to the psychologist so it can function in everyday situations).

Anthropomorphism aside, I believe in abstractions and interfaces to simplify computing. To me, web apps and services do just that. They simplify my day so I won't have to worry whether I'll be on a Linux or a Windows machine, won't have to think about where I pop'ed that mail to, or if my main machine will crash. It's basically the economy of scale, where somebody else offers the service - and takes the hassle - for many, many people.

Of course, overextending a good idea usually leads nowhere. However, many applications can beneficially be ran on somebody else's server, provided the bandwidth is there. The requirements vary for different kinds of data, and as a result, I believe we'll see more and more interesting services and apps as bandwidths keep going up.

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190089)

The only thing that has held network applications back is bandwidth and price. Now thats not a problem anymore.

And the fact that (in this case) Javascript/DHTML/HTTP is almost completely unsuited for the task. I say "almost" because apparently some people have managed to cobble something together. At least Terminal Server/Citrix performs well. At least Sun's thin clients could actually act like they had a full local OS. People DO care what is under the hood if it performs like a tar covered pig in a room full of... more tar covered pigs. I can see it now: "Let me just ignore this local desktop with 3D accelerated menus, cool apps and games, lots of Vista/XP/OSX eye candy, and a decent looking widget set for this WebOS thing where I can get a glimpse of how graphical itnerfaces performed in the 80's. It's so retro! Yay!" Its a fucking joke is what it is.

-matthew

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189178)

This isn't even a dumb terminal, though. Most code still runs on the client, it's just a different language to write it in. If anything, the processor requirements of running every process in an interpreted language mean it actually takes more processor power.
All this allows you to get rid of is the storage requirement, although you will still need a local cache if you want to carry on working away from a net connection.

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

itsdave (105030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189203)

while you are mostly right... people are using web applications. one example that i know of is quickbooks.

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189331)

the 2000 $ computer will crash if too many windows are open
dumb terminal indeed

Re:Reinventing the wheel again and again and again (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190000)

To be fair to previous thin client ideas, they weren't trying to sell to home users. They were trying to sell to businesses and schools. Businesses want a lot more control over desktops and thin clients are a good way to go about it. Sure, they mostly failed, but not necessarily because thin clients are a bad idea. I think eventually (tho not soon) admins will just get sick and tired of tryign to manage fat clients and make a push back to thin clients. Most corporate users are connected to the network 24/7 anyway. And if the network goes down, they often can't get any work done as it is (server based roaming desktops). The reason Sun failed with the thin client was because, well, it was Sun (and Java).

-matthew

Don't Get It. (2, Interesting)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189082)

I don't get it. It seems the article points several times to this:

"applications will be written for the WebOS and won't be specific to Windows, OS X, or Linux."

Someone enlighten me because I thought that is what all the languages used on the web do right now. PHP, Perl, Javascript, etc. It doesn't seem to me that a WebOS will provide any greater benefit that coding in Perl (or pick one). They are completely platform independant.

The article then quotes a couple users who says that Java and DHTML + Javascript is a mess. Well, yeah, but what language isn't? All programming languages have problems that why there are so many of them. What am I missing?

Re:Don't Get It. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189323)

Having coded in Perl in AIX, Linux and windows, I can say Perl is NOT platform independant.

WIndows Perl is different then Linux Perl is different then AIX perl. The basics are the same but unless you are doign somethign VERY basic and relative to the current directory, you can not just copy adn run the code.

Re:Don't Get It. (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189490)

How about any of the others? Python? Ruby?

Also, do any of the GUI toolkits work well across platforms? GTK? QT? Wxwindows?

(I know nothing about it, I just wrote my first hello world app in Ruby/GTK, I want to write for Slackware and WinXP, so far my app runs fine in both environments, and I want to know if I can/should continue down this path).

Thanks in advance

Re:Don't Get It. (1)

biz0r (656300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189361)

Ok well first of all you need to get your terms correct, PHP and Perl are server side scripting languages...something this 'WebOS' crap doesn't even touch. Javascript, HTML, XHTML, DHTML, WHATEVER is what this is building on - client side technologies. And there are many different languages because each was created out of an apparent 'need', not that some languages necessarily have 'problems' (which may in fact be called features, depending on who you speak to).

Javascript + DHTML IS a mess, and far moreso than any other language in my opinion (having worked with most modern languages, including web based ones). Compared to C, C++, PHP, Java, hell even Perl it (Javascript) is a complete mess. The way it is implemented, the way it is written, the way it is invoked - a mess. What we really need, is something COMPLETELY new, written from the ground up for what we know is needed. Something which cuts through all the bullshit, something truly cross platform and written to a frickin standard....a man can dream, can't he?

Re:Don't Get It. (1)

BodhiCat (925309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189657)

...I thought that is what all the languages used on the web do right now. PHP, Perl, Javascript, etc.

One should differentiate between CGI languages and browser languages. Most CGI languages (Perl, PHP, etc.) are able to do anything a language can do and use the browser as an interface. The main drawback is that there is a lag time, particularly if you are on a slow connection. Javascript is faster, since it runs in the browser, but it is a limited language. Until we have everyone connected to broadband running 24/7 we are not going to see thin-clients in widespread use. Java is great, but it still takes a while to get an app running in a browser. So for now its Word and Photoshop on my computer, Safari or Firefox for web surfing and OS X Mail or webbased interfaces for e-mails. For the time being I don't see any other way around it.

Antivirus? (2, Insightful)

dybdahl (80720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189083)

How do I install antivirus on this OS?

Links (5, Informative)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189095)

Links to the various sites mentioned:
Xin [naltabyte.se]
YouOS [youos.com]
eyeOS [eyeos.org]
goowy [goowy.com]
Fold [fold.com]
Orca [orcaa.com]

Re:Links (2, Funny)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189263)

and let's not forget

Karma Whore [wikipedia.org]

eyeOS Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189491)

eyeOS public server is in eyeOS.info [eyeos.info] . It's Open Source, also.

Covered in a previous Slashdot story... (2, Interesting)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189102)

...but I can't find the story. Anyway, I like JS/UIX [masswerk.at] . Wish I could be talented enough to do that.

Re:Covered in a previous Slashdot story... (1)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189192)

Yes, JS/UIX is pretty cool. It actually isn't a real WebOS, but how neat would it be to come up with a *nix WebOS?

My point of view: (1)

Lolaine (262966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189120)

I think that mixing the concept of a Web based desktop and a programable PIM could be the right thing, where programable PIM means that you could program yourself custom node types that appear on the web Desktop as icons and windows, and of course, share them

Re:My point of view: (1)

israel_zayas (206156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189191)

Actually, from a non-technical point of view... I am in favor of a modern and separate web base terminal with USB, Fire wire and/or a CD/DVD writer for home use. Memory sticks, CF cards and USB 2.0 hard drives are selling faster than lumber jacks eats hot cakes. So it would not be too much of a burden if I purchased a Linux terminal for surfing and keep my primary PC for work then that would make me happy. At this time I have a dedicated PC for web browsing and a dedicated PC for projects. This sucks, but this is what I have to do to keep the spy ware and viruses to a minimum.

Re:My point of view: (1)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189977)

I think that mixing the concept of a Web based desktop and a programable PIM could be the right thing, where programable PIM means that you could program yourself custom node types that appear on the web Desktop as icons and windows, and of course, share them

Hmmm... I, on the other hand, think that a web browser should be used for, oh, I don't know, browsing HTML documents off HTTP servers. And JavaScript should be used on that web browser for calculations that are A) simple enough to be done easily on the client side and B) insecure and unimportant enough to trust any arbitrary client to calculate them. And an FTP client should be used for transferring files to and from FTP servers. And a gopher client should be used for navigating hierarchically-organized files on multiple network servers. And a file browser should be used for browsing mounted filesystems. And an office suite should be used for viewing and editing formatted documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows. And a display manager protocol like XDMCP or RDP should be used for displaying a graphical desktop on a workstation.

I guess I'm a luddite that way, you know? Actually wanting tools to be used in the domain for which they were designed.

Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189201)

You mean there is a market for this rubbish?

People actually sell it?

Tools To Build With (1)

MikeyTheK (873329) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189223)

Now that http://www.morfik.com/ [morfik.com] is in public beta, and Atlas is about to do the same, we are finally starting to get some IDE/RAD tools to build WebOS apps. It's pretty exciting to see where AJAX has gone in 14 months. I can't wait for things to get a bit further so I can start seriously selling clients on going this route.

Next stop: IBM reintroduces the javastation (only now it will be a javascript station).

We'll see how long it takes to make this kind of interface really WORK on cell phones and other ultraportable devices.

Why? (4, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189228)

OK, I'm extremely sceptical about this ever taking off because:

- It relies on an internet connection
- It actually increases the processing requirements of the client
- it sticks another huge layer of abstraction and source of incompatibility between my apps and the system
- It doesn't solve a user problem.

Can anyone give me an argument for why anyone would use this instead of a USB thumbdrive, or a laptop, which are pretty cheap these days?

Because we can (4, Insightful)

barryfandango (627554) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189237)

A few years ago JavaScript was considered a toy language. Now that it's been "discovered" the pendulum has swung the other way, and people seem to think that JavaScript plus a browser is a suitable platform for writing a windowing system.

We've been able to do a remote terminal like this for years, using more appropriate network protocols and faster execution environments. If we rebuild it on a completely absurd applpication stack:

  • Actual OS (hardware interface level)
  • Fast, mature windowing system
  • Web Browser w/JavaScript
  • Slow, buggy Windowing System inside Web Browser

How does this bring any more value to the concept? The ability to hit the "Back" button and lose my entire session? Having two taskbars at the bottom of my screen?

It seems like this is an idea being pursued just becasue we can; because we're excited about JavaScript and the Web 2.0 hype machine is working overtime.

Re:Because we can (1)

cthrall (19889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189569)

Pushing new client code w/o actually pushing anything to the client is always nice. Knowing the majority of the computers out there meet the requirements for your software is also very nice. Cross-platform support is, most likely, easier than a traditional C++/.NET/Java client.

It's not for every application, but there are a lot of reasons to do it.

Re:Because we can (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190020)

What I would do with it -

I already use gmail, and now google calendar
I would have a few documents I am working on in a doc program like "writely".
I effectively have all my favorite websites grouped together using google personalized homepage.
I could save some files, etc, in a Gdrive.

I would be able to access some documents, files, information and my email and calendar - either from work, home, friends house, laptop in the lazy boy, on the road, windows, linux, mac, wherever, whenever, however. Nothing to lose if the computer crashes, nothing to forget, nothing to reinstall, NOTHING TO BUY, no contacts to lose, real handy.

Even my PARENTS and my INLAWS have high speed internet, and the both are in the STICKS. So, doing things 100% online is very feasible now, and definitely in the future.

Have I drank the google coolaid? Well, maybe... but it tastes alright so far and the IDEA is great.

Don't Mix Your Metaphors (2, Insightful)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189244)

All of these projects don't understand the medium. The web is not a desktop. The web doesn't work like a desktop, and attempts to translate the desktop metaphor to the web almost all suck hard. The web doesn't have milisecond response rates -- even with AJAX. You don't have a consistant set of APIs across browsers like you do on the desktop. You can't assume everyone has JavaScript, images, or styles on, and a smart developer will try to make sure that their users get a site that degrades gracefully through any of those cases.

You can't just shoehorn a "desktop" style experience into a system that isn't at all designed for it. The web is a unique medium from the desktop. It demands a totally different metaphor than desktop applications.

A desktop metaphor adds a lot of unnecessary cruft to the web -- trying to use drop-down menus, popup windows, crappy DHTML "controls" and the like degrade user experiences and make sites slow, frustrating, and buggy. Applications like GMail and Yahoo! Mail try to use the technologies in appropriate ways - they have some elements of desktop applications, but they're not trying to mimic a desktop application.

We have a great, if maturing, set of tools in XHTML, CSS, and the JavaScript DOM. You can do amazing things with those tools provided you understand what their limitations and appropriate uses are. Trying to use those tools to emulate the usability problems of a whole different medium is misusing and misunderstanding the technology. A smart developer looks towards what works for the web rather than trying to force the medium to match an experience that it just can't do.

Re:Don't Mix Your Metaphors (2, Insightful)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189808)

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the notion that this is a bit overboard, but at the same time, in 1992 it could have been argued that the Internet was not a graphical system. And yet, there were people trying to "shoehorn" a graphical interface onto a system not designed for it. And if that weren't enough, it wasn't long before people started shoehorning complex design techniques into web pages, to the dismay of those who thought tables were for tabular data. Really, if everyone took your idea of appropriate uses to heart, we probably wouldn't be driving cars.

Look: many of these ideas will fail, and some may well succeed. These people are pushing the limits of what these technologies can do, and I for one applaud them for it. No one is forcing you to use these systems, so cut these guys some slack already.

Chicken & Egg situation? (1)

Unski (821437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189256)

Help me out here, but what is it that supports the browser which supports the WebOS in question? Could someone tell me what software means exist to take the WebOS concept to its logical conclusion and have only a thin client viewer application? It's just that otherwise, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have said this, but what advantage is there in a whole WebOS when I still have to have a conventional OS to run the browser to connect to the WebOS?

In the current situation, where we have full-blown fat-client OS's, I could see the utility in some of the remote applications, but I think it's the need to recreate the whole OS and then require IE/Firefox to access it which is confusing me.

Duh WebOS IS a Product and has been... (1)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189260)

WebOS is a trademark, and a product, and it has been for QUITE some time.

IThey were around some 6 years or more ago and had a very nice product, albeit a little sluggish, it was some sort of Java/Ajax enabled Office suite

It looks like they got bough out by Hyperoffice, or changed their name, but WebOS is still a registered Trademak, I wouldnt be making it generic like kleenex just yet.

WEBOS! (1)

urbieta (212354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189264)

WebOS rimes with huevos in spanish, which means eggs, a slang for testicles which makes a story about egges particularly amusing for latin americans.

http://www.unapeliculadehuevos.com/ [unapeliculadehuevos.com]

you made my day ;)

A quick review of WebOS' (1)

danielk1982 (868580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189268)

They all suck.

The buzzword bee! (1)

RafaelGCPP (922041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189322)

I got stung by the buzzword bee
And what a feeling got over me
AJAX in to my eyes
WebOS into my head
'2.0 to my heart
Till I was brain-dead
I'm done! uh-hu
I got stung!!

I pray The Lord everyday to please keep me from this malignous insect!!

Yeah, but... (1)

bynary (827120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189347)

...can you run Windows apps on it?

Too much for too little. (1)

C.Jota (957196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189372)

A windowing system for a website utilizing AJAX to process seemlessly without reloading, thats just cool. But a full operating system that someone may depend on for file storage and work is not reliably enough given the current infrastructure. Reliability would go up if there were fiber lines installed everywhere and a wireless system as backup, but still would not provide the reliability and security many will require. I agree that for the basic user that only really uses the computer to get e-mail and talk on IM, this is a fine solution. What about traveling students, traveling employees, etc. Last time I checked VNC/Terminal Services did the trick and allows for administrators to maintain the software and security. I think the market will be too small for this to actually be a viable option. It only really serves 1 use.

Duplication != Innovation (1)

Artifex33 (932236) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189389)

WebOS's, or Web Desktops, do not accomplish anything that the paired browser/OS cannot accomplish in a more efficient way. Popping open a dhtml window, with or without XMLHttpRequest, can accomplish bypassing pop-up blockers, but in every other way, the client's OS is much better suited to handling any kind of windowing duties.

Allowing the user to manage their windows in an already-familiar OS environment, rather than having to relearn the duplicate controls of a web site is a clear usability win. In my company's usability studies, users are greatly confused by presenting them with a simple web-based tree view, let alone an entire windowing interface. In addition, the more advanced browsers that utilize tabs become crippled when the user doesn't have the option of spawning the dhtml window in a new tab.

Back in 1997 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189448)

I took some time off from college and went to work for a company called Inergy Online. They made something called IOS 2000, (for Internet Operating System...sorry Cisco). It was a complete web-based suite of applications complete with Email, Word Processing (Yes, we did in 1997 with Fast CGI what in many ways was far beyond anything I've seen today), a home page builder (I was the one responsible for the perl scripts to manage the thousands of user directories of a special html-markup of html...regex hell), a calendar, file manager, etc.

We had a deal where every purchase of WebTV from either Sony or Philips came with a free year of Inergy's WebDesk (which ran on IOS 2000). There were no ads and the system could be completely private-labeled for companies (hence the reason why Hotmail got purchased and we didn't, even though we had many more users at the time, and definitely a better product even though it was all integrated)

Here's what I learned both from this experience, and from following the progress of many, many companies who came after trying to do the same thing. In order to succeed with this type of idea, you ABSOLUTELY UNEQUIVOCALLY *MUST* create the analog of the PC "hard drive" in order for something like this to fly. The only reason why Microsoft is vulnerable at all to something like this, is that they are going in the opposite direction from the personal computer, where they are the big mainframe in the sky (Viruses...Spyware....Hailstorm....Microsoft Passport...what irony to the US gov't that MS issued their own passport system around the same time as the DOJ trial). Google is the same, just trying to suck you in like a moth to the flame.

As I heard the CEO of Inergy spout about how we are all going back to the mainframe era, I thought to myself, NO FRIGGING THANKS!!!! I like my personal computer, thank you very much. I like my own space that I can control where I reign supreme. It might just be an illusion, but it's the closest thing we have by far to personal empowerment from technology. Linux is the natural successor to the PC, and will beat MS for the same reason MS beat the Mac. It is simply more open. The Mac has always been prettier, easier to use, and more polished. People suffered through win.ini the same way they suffer today through /etc, but the writing is clearly on the wall that Linux will overtake MS for exactly the same reason it beat out the Mac platform.

So my conclusion is that in order for this WebOS idea to fly, it would have to offer the same (or better) level of truly personal space. A good enough encryption algorithm *might* cut it, but even then it wouldn't be the same as having it close to your person. The best thing I've found so far is a "dedicated server". Google that term and see how many companies are doing that. Compare the # of hits for that, compared to shared hosting on a "virtual private server". It just shows that most people's natural inclination is to have something private.

Ideally, you could create your own personal grid composed of a few dedicated servers at once, with automatic backup, clustering, failover, with 100% encrypted traffic. That way, I could federate all my devices against this personal cluster. It would be neat to be able to explore synergies between all of my personal data, so that even voice mails could be delivered to my own personal server.

Sure, there are ways to approximate this for the very technical, but nothing delivers on it with a polished, end-user focused experience. Just my 2 cents. All web applications and ASP-style applications are going very hard against the grain when it comes to control and storage of data.

The one place I can really see this used... (2, Informative)

biz0r (656300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189469)

...is in a corporate environment.

I mean think about it, you have a ton of desktops that must be kept up to date, must keep running for someone to be productive, and shouldn't really be used for personal purposes. Boot them all off of bootable CD's (or maybe even RW's so boot CD's can be cycled and some money saved when doing 'updates'), have them login to a central thin-client 'server'. This has several benefits:
1) Users are 'sandboxed'.
2) Easily control what someone can and cannot do.
3) Only 1 central machine (or cluster, depending) to manage and keep up-to-date.
4) Far less likely that someone will fsck their box.
5) If someone DOES end up messing up their box, just reboot and re-login.
6) Big brother can even more easily track you (good for company, albeit bad for you).
7) Whats that you say, no HD's to purchase or fail?
8) IT staff reduced as some of the support required drops.

Thats just a few off the top of my head...

Re:The one place I can really see this used... (1)

upside (574799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189835)

Why not use a dedicated remote protocol like X or RDP that allow you to run a fully fledged desktop and all the applications you're used to? You can boot an RDP-enabled Linux system from a CD or PXE and access a Windows desktop if you like.

Re:The one place I can really see this used... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189928)

Because you are then tied to a platform.

Re:The one place I can really see this used... (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189997)

You hit the nail on the head. Many posters are thinking of these desktops in terms of home use in which I agree it is not applicable and will fail. But in the Corporate environment where thousands of desktops and application instances must be managed on a daily basis these technologies can be a god sent. They allow IT departments to manage a client side, platform independent, single install from a single location. Upgrades for 10K users are instantaneous; problems do not arise from different configurations on the client. For corporate application such as accounting systems this is one of the most promising developments in usability and manageability.

Not so crazy (1)

hey (83763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189497)

Since all the comments are negative I thought I'd add some non-negative comments.

No they aren't OSes but they are environments / platforms.

The requirement for internet access isn't such a big deal.
Bascially I find any computer nearly useless if it doesn't have internet access these days. Try programming without doing some Google lookups for reference or
mail!

It subvert the big bad MSFT - so that's good.

Users will like it. No need to have a computer - just a virtual one.
Did people cry when answering machines were replaced with voice mail.

Re:Not so crazy (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189551)

But voicemail replaced the need for tape based machines: what does a WebOS replace?

You still need a fairly powerful computer, you still need an normal OS to load the web browser, you still need some local storage unless you want to be completely stuck if your internet connection dies or someone slashdots the server, or to avoid having to download your OS every morning. So what components can you remove?

Probably not going to happen... Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15189516)

"As for developers, a big benefit is that a WebOS theoretically makes it easier to develop apps that work cross-platform."
Just like Java! That great programming language that everybody is using nowadays because of the fact that... Oh, wait.

Funny isn't it? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189518)

Isn't it funny how quickly times change the perception people have towards things.

In 1996, I was experimenting with JavaScript, creating moving, resizable windows with live applications in them like a calculator, notepad and a place where you put bookmarks.

I was a kid, I didn't know anything, but what I knew is I was just playing around and learning. If I took myself seriously and came up with those things in 1997, I'd be quickly dismissed for being noobish and abusing web technology, right there with people that put MIDI music and lake applets in their pages.

Nowadays, however, faking Desktop interfaces using html and JavaScript is all the rage, and many geeks look to the efforts in the area as the wave of the future in interfaces and application design.

Economic logic (1)

zis000 (940783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189548)

Aside from the technological hassle/benefit hosted application have a BIG economical advantage. It eliminates all distribution costs. Ideally this would lead to more money put in development and eventually getting better applications.

2 cent (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189556)

First, the concept is pretty cool. I'd imagine pretty good usage within LAN environment with dedicated web server(s) and managed environment. Since the road block is still the netaccess with RPC or XML feed on every write, this would make offline usage more painful and hassle with trouble prone. Centralized application in replacement over terminal application would make this favorable in my opinion.

Second, desktop realestate. It's just not there. Too cluttered to be used in any useful fashion due to window frame max cap would be the limit of the browser being used. Even having the scroll bar ideally makes sense, but scroll bar themselves takes up realestate. But mostly the idea is to have a virtual desktop on top of already a Desktop makes it somewhat redudant.

Third, related to my last statement, since the realestate is limited, on Windows Active Desktop or KDE HTML background, this would make a pretty neat widget. I would think, freeware application widgets running on desktop would make this pretty favorable toward end users instead of installing adwares or toolbar or other internetwares. For instance, Yahoo! Messanger, Gmail and RSS news feed applications come to mind.

Fourth, centralized realtime data feed to workstations or one-to-many message broadcast data feed or VoIP PBX could make this very affordable and easy to implement for small to mid size business environment with HTML desktop on workstations. For instance, replacement of expensive digital phones and implement Ajax VoIP and internal paging over Acitve/HTML Desktops and let VoIP handle extensions by carriers or set up PBX internally.

Fifth, remote application (not data) access over SSL. Alternative to VPN. Why not have private data private locally but use Ajax applications to present the data locally? If desired, let the sensitive data be sensitive with file encryption, but let the remote application control the key to unlock it and present the data.

that's it...

I've commented to this effect before (1)

Bertie (87778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189637)

But I will again.

The reason why Windows Vista is a complete let-down is because all the clever stuff's being saved for Windows Live. MS see this WebOS caper as the way forward, and the main job of desktop Windows from now on will be to provide a platform to access the services they'll be offering via this medium (and, of course, to lock everybody down via DRM etc.) They've concentrated on the security and the DRM, rather than on the functionality, because those are the things that will really matter for what they want to do going forward.

Basically, certain big cheeses in Microsoft were really put out by the massive hash they were making of developing Vista, and at the same time could see that there was some pretty clever stuff going on at the MSN end of the company, which sees itself as a separate entity. Microsoft's most successful product of late has been MSN Messenger, which waded into a crowded market late and won users over partly by being included in the OS, in time-honoured fashion, but mostly by actually being good. MSN's all vibrant and innovative and forward-looking, while the rest of the company couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. So the prevailing view on high seems to be to give a freer rein to the MSN lot and do stuff over the web instead.

Or at least, that's what a certain well-placed individual told me, anyway.

Wrong Problem (3, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189667)

I don't think we need a new OS or a new Desktop, what we really need is for existing applications to be able share each others data effectively be it locally on someones home machine or from sources elsewhere and across different application groups regardless of who has developed it. Right now sharing calendar information from my website and integrating ti into my business calendars and having it available on my phone should be possible but for one reason or another isn't.

Wake me up (1)

themusicgod1 (241799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189770)

when this "WebOS" has drivers for my sound, video and crypto cards.

It has a browser! (1)

johnfink (810028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189906)

I just checked out the previously linked eyeOS [eyeos.info] , and it has a browser built into the "OS". You can actually open up eyeOS again, and log in again, and open up the browser in that "OS", and so on.

Now tell me, why would you put a browser in an application that runs in a browser? That's like giving me a scooter to get around within my car.

And BTW, it does not bypass any proxies or other workplace limitations, so far as I can tell.

WebOS != Operating System (1)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 8 years ago | (#15189987)

As observed already, "WebOS" is a complete misnomer. Last time I checked, I was not able to boot my computer with a blank hard drive using a "WebOS." An operating system allows your computer to boot and run commands, regardless of whether it's connected to a network or not.

What would be super-cool is an BIOS-embedded OS that booted from the NIC from a server available over the internet. But what these "WebOS" people are actually providing is a "WebOffice" suite. Still a useful commodity, but not an operating system.

eyeOS is the best (1)

eporue (886151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15190097)

The correct link to eyeOS is http://eyeos.info/ [eyeos.info] , where you can create a free account. Also, worth mentioning that eyeOS is the only Open Source and free WebOs here, as far as I know. And that you can download it and install in your own server. You cannot get better protection than that !!
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