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Mozilla Labs Introduces the Webian Shell

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the everything-that-rises dept.

Firefox 216

kai_hiwatari writes "Mozilla Labs has introduced its concept of a desktop replacement called Webian Shell. The Webian Shell basically consists of a browser which will replace the traditional desktop, and web applications are given more importance than the native applications. Right now, the prototype of the Webian Shell is nothing more than a full screen browser with a dock which holds the tabs and the clock." The project's blog offers more about the ideas and underpinnings; there's even more on the home page of developer Ben Francis.

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216 comments

Oh wow . . . (0, Troll)

bedouin (248624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348800)

So we've come full circle back to IE again?

Re:Oh wow . . . (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348866)

So we've come full circle back to IE again?

Sounds more like a death spiral than a circle...

Re:Oh wow . . . (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349080)

We now have the bandwidth, cpu power, OS and vision for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Chrome [wikipedia.org]
For the net desktop ... think of the malware :)

Re:Oh wow . . . (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349374)

I was thinking more like an old ISP we used to have around here about 15 years ago. I believe they called themselves 3web, and thy provided you with a dialup client that opened a remote desktop session where you would run a browser, or FTP, or IRC, or mail client on their computers with the output being streamed back to yours through the dial-up connection. They claimed it meant you didn't need a powerfull computer to run such intensive apps as netscape navigator... The catch of course being that at the time, the bottleneck was the dial-up modem, not the processing power of your computer, so this resulted in a very painful web experience...

Re:Oh wow . . . (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349082)

I bet in a decade or two we'll be seeing a flood of so-called "native" or "local" applications and UIs that run 100 times faster than regular applications. They will be called Apps 2.0. Also, entertainment content like movies will be delivered on portable, physical media that doesn't exhaust your sparse download quota. Those will be cutting edge innovations! How exciting!

Death-spiral indeed ...

Reinventing time sharing... (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349422)

The 70's called and they want their timesharing systems back.

It seems like cloud computing is just a fancy name for timesharing (although with a graphically richer frontend). Timesharing allowed you to share a large network...but they hadn't invented the cloud yet... it was just a hunk'ng mainframe (or mini).

Re:Oh wow . . . (1, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348990)

To be fair, internet connectivity is far more ubiquitous, and we spend a lot more time (proportionally) using web apps, than in the dial-up 90's. So just because this kind of thing was a bad idea back then, doesn't necessarily mean it will always be a bad idea, and it will probably keep repeating until it's time finally comes. I'd say that time hasn't yet come, but the time of the browser-based primary UI may well come eventually. Probably before the day of Linux on the desktop becoming mainstream.

Re:Oh wow . . . (2)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349056)

So we've come full circle back to IE again?

The difference this time time is it will use open, cross-platform standards that haven't been "embraced and extended" into a proprietary system by Microsoft. It may also have something resembling a security model.

The alternative, in a world where productivity apps (at least) will increasingly be expected to offer tablet & online, cloud-y versions, is to continue to need multiple incompatible codebases for application front ends.

God knows, there should be better choices than HTML/CSS/Javascript for writing GUIs, but the Real World has spoken and, for better or for worse, it is the emerging standard for platform-independent GUIs and already runs across OSX, iOS, Windows, Android and various *nix flavours.

Can't wait for someone to come out (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349068)

with a new project introducing a stream lined browser which has a small foot print and is fast.

Re:Oh wow . . . (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349126)

Actually, I thought this about Windows 8, "Design your apps in HTML and JavaScript" is secret MS code for "Design your apps to run in IE".

Re:Oh wow . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349222)

This is what happens when you abandon the tried-and-true.

If Mozilla, had only stuck with the original Mozilla Labs [opera.com] they wouldn't come up with cockamamie crap like this.

I Like it! (2)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348806)

I must say but I like the GUI more than what "Chome OS" GUI is. I did not read the article (yet) but I hope that is possible to get work on other OS's than just Linux. With that, even HURD would have a change to be successful operating system so GNU people would be happy!

Re:I Like it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348830)

Trolls on Slashdot are getting more sophisticated by the day.

The Web is Dead (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348808)

It is full of pronogrify and other immoral sleaze from Italians who pollute our minds with their radical anti-american insinuationnes, GOD BLESS AMERICA

Active Desktop (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348812)

a browser which will replace the traditional desktop

That idea is so 1990's. There is a reason the dot-com bubble burst.

Re:Active Desktop (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348836)

This kind of shit really has me concerned for the direction browsing is going in, in general. I just want a browser that is efficient and does lots of cool things that make the browsing experience more productive. I don't want social-fucking-everything, branded tabs, branded browsing applications, a dedicated interface for every dipshit hipster social service and integration with a fucking smart-phone and mood ring. Just a fucking browser.

Re:Active Desktop (0)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348844)

Lynx is your friend.

Re:Active Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348874)

No it isn't. ELinks is your real friend.

Re:Active Desktop (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348902)

Had to hunt out that one. I was expecting it to be based in Emacs. Turns out that would be Emacs/W3.

Re:Active Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348928)

I have Lynx on my smartphone.

Re:Active Desktop (4, Interesting)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348954)

I just want a browser that is efficient and does lots of cool things that make the browsing experience more productive.

IMHO, Opera seems to be the only browser nowadays walking the fine line between features and bloat without falling to either side.

Re:Active Desktop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349190)

Too bad it's proprietary and the Linux build sucks diseased moose wang. Besides, if they stay true to Firefox, this will just be one massive Mozilla-developed extension, like Chatzilla - an IRC client doesn't go into the browser (are you listening, Opera devs?) and neither does this, but that doesn't mean some crazy people can't implement it in a 200MB .xpi.

Re:Active Desktop (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349254)

Good to know Opera doesn't fall to the side of "features." ;-)

Re:Active Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349320)

IMHO, Opera seems to be the only browser nowadays walking the fine line between features and bloat without falling to either side.

IMHO, Lynx seems to be the only browser nowadays walking the fine line between features and bloat without falling to either side.

Re:Active Desktop (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349136)

You'll like Chrome OS then, I think. That's all it is. Just a browser. :P

Re:Active Desktop (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349188)

I stupidly walked into that. :)

Re:Active Desktop (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349760)

I just want a browser that is efficient and does lots of cool things that make the browsing experience more productive.

It's all really subjective opinion. I've been using Chrome because my CR-48 Chromebook is Chrome-based, and it does everything I need it to do. Before that, it was Firefox 100%. And believe it or not, some actually even find IE to be productive. There are many browsers that through congoing competition are providing more and more of what users need and want. The problem is that everyone doesn't have the same needs or wants.

Re:Active Desktop (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349004)

Yes, there were two reasons why the dot-com bubble burst:

A) Most dot-com "businesses" were started by people with lots of technical knowledge, but no business knowledge. They were funded by people with lots of business knowledge but no technical knowledge. Most of the "businesses" had no hope of ever really turning a profit, most of them were businesses that lose money on every sale, but they make up for it in volume.

B) The internet was -slow- in the 1990s. Lets face it, because of faster internet we've been able to do a lot of stuff that was impossible to do back in the 1990s.

While I do think that "the cloud" hype is backwards in its thinking, I don't think that it will be like the dot-com crash because they are two different things. Rather, the cloud will fail because consumer hardware is always getting faster, ISPs/cell phone companies are screwing their customers (bandwidth caps, throttling, etc.) and privacy issues.

Re:Active Desktop (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349226)

Those two sentences do not belong in the same paragraph and likely not even in the same comment.

Both are true but they are not connected in the slightest.

Active Desktop did not catch on because desktop widgets didn't really catch on until Vista/7. Machines and the OS they ran on were underpowered and the concept of the Active Desktop was not implemented fully.

The reason the dot-com bubble burst had nothing to do with Windows9X/XP in the slightest. It had everything to do with businesses buying and "investing" in things they did not understand. (Not that this is anything new... the sub-prime loan securities people can attest to that.) Personally, I saw it coming as people continued to buy and invest in technologies and manpower that simply had no long term use or purpose. The bubble burst when ROI was extremely bad and it was plain that over-investing in IT did not yield magical results.

So I have to ask, what did Active Desktop have to do with the dot-com bubble? They were both in the 90's, but then my sons were born in the 90's... were they also responsible or connected to the dot-com bubble? I don't think so.

Re:Active Desktop (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349294)

Yes it is but it may be a not so bad idea right now.
I know a family that runs a small business. He installs tile for a living. They use QuickBooks for their accounting, Email and Google Calander to handle job. They have a full PC and they don't really need it.
Another example was an older couple that used their PC just for Facebooking with their family, email, and eTrade for investments.
There is a large segment that now really do us their computer as nothing but an internet terminal. I do question the idea of not having native apps and living in an all HTML5 and JavaScript world. Why not go back to Java then. The performance issues of Java are really a thing of the past and where mostly myth even then. Using a JIT and an ISA should be faster than JavaScript.
The real truth is that with things like GoogleDocs, Google and Amazon Music, and online services like etrade, Quicken, and others that are starting up all the time. The actual need for native apps is less and less and for a subset of the world they could function just fine with only an browser based system.
Of course we are then falling back the world that the creators fo Mutlaics dreamed of where computing was a utility and away from the micro revolution where everybody has control of their own computer.

Installation in 4 easy steps! (5, Insightful)

RagingMaxx (793220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348828)

To install Webian Shell:

1. Launch Firefox
2. F11
3. ???
4. ... oh wait there's no need to install Webian Shell.

RagingMaxx Multiple Desktop (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348942)

WOW!

I opened a couple of Firefoxes and 'F11'ed them and now I have multiple workspaces! This is INCREDIBLE!

Damn! Dude you should patent this, get some VC and go public! I see you becoming a BILLIONAIRE!

Re:RagingMaxx Multiple Desktop (TM) (2)

RagingMaxx (793220) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349096)

The VC guys and I have already cooked up a name for it: Porn Shell.

Is this a patent application yet? Where do I collect my money rake and monocle?

Webian (1)

littlefoo (704485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348834)

I was going to suggest using it to replace Unity.. so I could have Webian on Debian.

Luckily I thought better of it before posting.

Re:Webian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349302)

Good work; posting that would have been a disaster.

Oh, nice, more bloat. (3, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348860)

First was Gnome 3 using JS for scripting and now this. Wasn't this a bad idea when it was known as Active Desktop?

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348918)

Yes!

Now, if only someone could convince browser vendors that the reason it was bad was more than "computers were too slow at the time."

Although, to be fair, consider that most of Firefox (and indeed every other major Mozilla product) is made out of Javascript, CSS and XML files bundled up in a ZIP archive. It's not exactly a speedy design in the first place. So they're kind of losing the race out of the gate here.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349066)

To be fair, way back when Active Desktop was touted, everyone (those who had internet at least) were still dialing into their internet connection. And almost all web pages were static pages, hand edited by people, and not applications. People back then didn't spend all their computing time on the web browser. They spent time playing games, in their word processor, email client, IM chat client, IRC, managing finances (quickbooks, excel, or quattro pro), and writing programs. Except for writing programs, I would have to say that just about all those tasks are now done solely in the web browser for a large majority of people, and the vast majority of people will never write a program. So while it may not be the right GUI for you, there's a lot of people that never leave their browser anyway, so anything that isn't their browser just ends up getting in the way.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349162)

Except for writing programs, I would have to say that just about all those tasks are now done solely in the web browser for a large majority of people, and the vast majority of people will never write a program.

And for those that want to write a program anyway, at least at the level of introductory learning, there's

http://tryruby.org/ [tryruby.org]

http://tryhaskell.org/ [tryhaskell.org]

and probably many more....

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349414)

The operative word being "try". If you want to try out a language for the first time, those are probably good solutions, as they let you try out the language without installing anything, which can sometimes be more difficult than it should be. I have yet to see an online IDE that comes anywhere close to being as productive as working on your own actual machine. Although I'm sure upon mentioning this, that someone will point me towards something that is at least passably good.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349192)

active desktops however gave you a way to do desktop widgets. long before dedicated programs for running js programs were all the rage.
however, long before that, application developers were free to do widget look apps in windows, winamp is a perfect example.

basically all these javascript+html based os's are always perfect for "other people", these mysterious other people. and computers are still slow and cumbersome so taking pixel access and native code away from developers will hurt what's possible on your platform and it _will_ matter sooner or later.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349590)

Yes! Now, if only someone could convince browser vendors that the reason it was bad was more than "computers were too slow at the time."

...exactly...it was MS doing something nobody wanted in order to make the case to regulators that their browser was an "integral" part of the OS. Seriously...are browser developers the only ones who haven't figured this out?? Given that they're also the only people with any interest in launching other applications within the browser, I'd say so.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349024)

And what do you think QT (thus KDE) and Windows 8 use ? Again webtechnologies like HTML/CSS/JS.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349040)

And what do you think QT (thus KDE) and Windows 8 use ? Again webtechnologies like HTML/CSS/JS.

Which explains quite a bit regarding KDEs performance lately...

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349300)

So is CSS/HTML5/JS the new XML?

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (2)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349634)

No JSON is the new XML.

Re:Oh, nice, more bloat. (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349338)

Wasn't this a bad idea when it was known as Active Desktop?

No, it was fantastic. I was quite annoyed when it was removed from later windows, only to come back in the form of "widgets" that waste far more space and are less customizable.

Air Supply (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348876)

Does Microsoft know about this? Isn't this the same strategy that led MS to cut off Netscape's "air supply", and then led to the dominance of IE way back in the day?

Netscape Constellation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348878)

Sounds like Netscape's aborted Constellation project:
http://www.archive.org/details/CC1417_best_of_comdex
segment starts at 11:30

Is this a joke ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348882)

Useless !

Re:Is this a joke ? (3, Informative)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348994)

Your delivery and punch line needs some work.

You have to create a situation in the audience's mind - the set-up - then you deliver the punch line. Certain pauses throughout the joke will add to the hilarity.

Q&A jokes are the bread and butter of many a stand up comedian, but it is often the comedian people are laughing at, not the joke. Everyday events work well. Puns are funny, but not cool. Topical subjects must be delivered shortly after the event. Racist jokes can be funny in front of the correct audience and the same can be said for making fun of the handicapped.

Your punch line "Useless!" failed in every way, although it had potential.

Re:Is this a joke ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349444)

You must be an absolute scream at parties..







Not!

This takes me back (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348892)

I am sure Netscape had this in 1999.

Re:This takes me back (1)

x0n (120596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348912)

Internet Explorer had it in 1995.

Netscape Constellation ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348934)

They have reinvented Netscape Constellation!

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netscape_Navigator

  Netscape began to experiment with prototypes of a web-based system, known internally as "Constellation", which would allow a user to access and edit his or her files anywhere across a network no matter what computer or operating system he or she happened to be using.

Didn't work out for MS (4, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348936)

Computer is not for web only, I know, it's amazing to think otherwise, but some of us actually work on them, and most of the work is not happening on the web, though reading /. you won't be able to deduce this fact.

Anyway, I always wanted my shell to take all of my RAM, overbook the CPU, run the fans on full throttle just to refresh the clock on the background.

Re:Didn't work out for MS (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349064)

Computer is not for web only, I know, it's amazing to think otherwise, but some of us actually work on them, and most of the work is not happening on the web

The introductory video in the article agrees with you. It calls Webian a shell for computers which don't need a desktop. The narrator then goes on to say "If you're anything like me, you'll find that most of the stuff you do on your PC these days happens in a web browser".

I really hate the idea of Webian because like you I'm not a browser addict, but this really seems to be selling itself as a system for specific circumstances, not something to totally replace the desktop of old.

Re:Didn't work out for MS (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349150)

I do webdevelopment and network- and Linux/Unix system administration. It is that I've not had time yet to it up and try it out but I think I could actually move over all my work into a webbrowser if I wanted to. I've actually been wanting to try it out as an experiment:

http://www.cloud9ide.com/ [cloud9ide.com] (open source webbased programmers editor with git version control and offline support is almost ready)
http://code.google.com/p/shellinabox/ [google.com]

And the rest is already online, because it is the same as a lot of people are already using, like webmail and fora like slashdot.

I'm not an Office user however and I don't know if Google Docs or similair open source webapplication would be good enough for me, I do know I would want to have one that atleast supports HTML5-offline use. But as I understand it a lot of people already use it, so it probably satisfies their needs.

Re:Didn't work out for MS (2)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349484)

I do webdevelopment and network- and Linux/Unix system administration. It is that I've not had time yet to it up and try it out but I think I could actually move over all my work into a webbrowser if I wanted to. I've actually been wanting to try it out as an experiment:

You're not a real web developer or admin or you'd have very specific requirements of your terminal and editor. Either that your you greatly underestimte your requirements to get real work down. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself "what is the point?" I mean, just because you could theoretically move your work into the web browser, that doesn't mean you should. Is there any benefit? It looks like that terminal you linked to requires that you run a local server..??? So it isn't like you could use that anywhere.

http://www.cloud9ide.com/ [cloud9ide.com] (open source webbased programmers editor with git version control and offline support is almost ready)

So.. um.. how do you actually build/preview your project? Do you have to deploy your changes every time you want to see the results??? I can't see how this could possibly work. I'm a web developer and I have a specialized Ruby on Rails development environment including local daemons like memcache, mysql, activemq, etc. A "cloud" based editor woudl be totally useless to me.

I'm not an Office user however and I don't know if Google Docs or similair open source webapplication would be good enough for me, I do know I would want to have one that atleast supports HTML5-offline use. But as I understand it a lot of people already use it, so it probably satisfies their needs.

Google Docs are good for sharing documents and allowing multiple people to edit simultaneously, but I can't imagine using it as my primary Office program.

Re:Didn't work out for MS (1)

mscman (1102471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349668)

"Shell In A Box implements a web server that can export arbitrary command line tools to a web based terminal emulator. This emulator is accessible to any JavaScript and CSS enabled web browser and does not require any additional browser plugins. Most typically, login shells would be exported this way:" No thank you! As a network/linux admin, you're seriously going to trust your root prompt to a web service?!?! Please, stay off my machines. Seriously though, as an admin, it's very difficult to see moving all of this stuff to the web. What happens when the border routers to my site go down? I don't have any way to bring them up, because my OS keeps telling me "Page not found"?

Are you "feeling lucky" yet? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348952)

Oh, how great it will be - Google text ads scrolling past you, as you are trying to find that damn file. Anytime you try to open your word processor, there will be an appearing/disappearing link to Google web-based office, anytime you try to edit a picture, there will be a bunch of ads about various photo-studio and album offerings, every attempt at typing find . -name somefilename will bring up the Google page with 'Are You Feeling Lucky' button pressed already for you.

It's going to be great.

Re:Are you "feeling lucky" yet? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349572)

The worst part for me would be when I'm trying to click on an mp3 or video and because the mouse moves over the wrong part of the screen, some fucking box pops up from addthis.com, asking if I want to like this on Facebook or something. A box that doesn't go away when I move the mouse away from it. Like you just have to click on it and let them know you saw it, just to get it to go away. Although I do like being connected to the internet all of the time, I don't want my whole computer acting like websites do.

Minimalist trend (3, Interesting)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348960)

This is not fully on topic, but I'm worried about the minimalist trend going on in GUIs these days, such as the disappearing of the URL bar in browsers, hiding things behind clicks instead of immediately visible, removing the minimize and maximize buttons from windows, etc...

I like having status bars, lots of indicators, toolbar buttons, menus with many options and customizations, having as much mouse buttons with a useful feature as possible, etc...

Do you think the minimalist trend is temporary? Or should I really be worried?

Thanks!

Re:Minimalist trend (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349000)

Do you think the minimalist trend is temporary? Or should I really be worried?

Now that user interfaces have pretty much been done, developers have to justify their existence by breaking their product, and fixing it again. Don't worry, the buttons will be back; Bigger and better than ever.

Re:Minimalist trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349378)

Why have big buttons when you can have ButtonsHD(TM). They take up far more screen real estate, use a gig of ram per button, and feature embedded videos with full volume sound to annoy the most people the most efficiently. Remember the multimedia PC? This is the future of the multimedia PC! Start up noises will last for 15 long minutes, an info dialog will take 2 minutes to pop up while it does a little song and dance routine, and Clippy will be projected directly into your nightmares.

Re:Minimalist trend (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349116)

Do you think the minimalist trend is temporary?

Three societal / cultural trends / beliefs / needs across all areas of human endeavor:

1) Talk down to the noobs. "Hay n00b U R dum so ur UI will B 1 button". Its a public display of profound intellectual arrogance. "The average gutter dwelling noob could never understand the rarefied nobility and intellectual challenge of the maximize button, so I, as their superior, as a shining example of Nietzsche's overman, will take away that dangerous option from them for their own good"

2) Everyone gets a participation trophy, so we must drag everyone down to the noob level. There must not be a learning curve or the people at the bottom of it might have hurt feelings. If that means the entire population must only be given tools equivalent to lincoln logs and playdough, the frustration of almost everyone is inferior to the feelings of one individual.

3) Eternal September has finally sunk in, around a decade too late, and now completely obsolete, and its going to take a long time to get rid of it. People that have not already had their "eternal september" moment years or decades ago are either about 5 years old or are socially and economically irrelevant so there is no need to pander to them, unfortunately people still insist that "everyone knows" that 99% of the population has never clicked a mouse. Its an meme thats obsolete and just won't die. Maybe when the Gen-Xers have all died of old age and the Gen-Y finally get it pounded into their heads that there's no one alive on the planet that was born before facebook... but that could take decades...

In other words, expect to be held back for quite awhile.

Re:Minimalist trend (1)

Serpents (1831432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349558)

well, as someone said

Build a system that even an idiot could use, and only an idiot will use it

Re:Minimalist trend (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349324)

They must think we use cell phones to browse or something, full time...

Re:Minimalist trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349340)

This is my problem with Chrome, the minimalist browser extraordinary. If I'm just tooling around on the Internet a minimal browser works just fine. But I actually use my computers to work, as such the minimalist trend is aggravating (I'm talking about you Unity), and Webian looks like Unity on speed... if that were possible.

Re:Minimalist trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349534)

Minimalist interfaces are easier and better when done properly, so we should hope for the trend not to disappear.

Re:Minimalist trend (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349566)

I, for one, am glad the Mac uses the toolbar for the application menubar. That means that Firefox and other apps can't hide it in a misguided attempt to be minimal. Don't hide the menubar, I still use it, dammit!

Re:Minimalist trend (4, Insightful)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349624)

It's just a fad. It's very similar although not exactly the same as "Not Invented Here" syndrome caused by developer inexperience and naivety.

Although this has happened countless times the primary example I like to take out is Java. Java tried to be minimalistic and "simple" by leaving out all sorts of useful functionality (eg. generics, etc). Now look at it, everything they left out in the beginning is shoehorned into the current versions and it sucks because they failed to account for the functionality in the original design.

What will happen is these products and projects will start out very minimalistic but will then slowly grow into a bloated, poorly designed pieces of shit as the developers realize that some features exist for a reason and are actually needed or just plain useful.

Then there will be backlash against the "idiotic" minimalist approach and we will start to get over-designed, over-complicated, inefficient, bureaucratically designed, and slow to implement bloatware which will slowly shrink into buggy poorly designed pieces of shit as the developers realize that you can't start giant designs and implement the whole thing at once.

Then there will be backlask against the "idiotic" over-complicated software so... (this is what is happening now)

Repeat ad nauseum. Einstein had it right: "Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler." You need to start with a solid flexible, possibly somewhat complicated design but with the intent and proper planning to only implement a simple subset of the design at first. Then it can grow into the full-blown design over time.

They tried it already, (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348974)

never really took off, still bumps around in the night at obscure servers and disused packages.
Same concept really, except they used a text editor back then. Emacs, they called it.

Re:They tried it already, (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348992)

Great operating system. If it had had a good text editor it might have taken over the world.

Re:They tried it already, (1)

benignbala (1157427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349038)

Great operating system. If it had had a good text editor it might have taken over the world.

Ah, So the editor wars haven't died yet. Meaning, people with maturity levels of nursery kids are on slashdot. Grow up!

Re:They tried it already, (1)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349204)

people with maturity levels of nursery kids are on slashdot

Indeed; everywhere I turn, I see people throwing tantrums and calling names in response to things clearly intended to be harmless jokes :-P

Re:They tried it already, (1)

benignbala (1157427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349336)

Indeed; everywhere I turn, I see people throwing tantrums and calling names in response to things clearly intended to be harmless jokes :-P

Not throwing tantrums. The problem is that, there are people who will eagerly take that as a flame bait and start a useless war :(. Emacs and Vi are both great editors. Let's use what ever we feel like using, but let's not throw sarcastic jokes. A few people do have attachments to editors :)

Re:They tried it already, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349712)

There are people who will take pretty much anything that's used in jest and bend it into an excuse to attack those they oppose. The underlying basis of humour is to poke fun at people or situations, and you'll always find some edge case who uses that to demonstrate why their agenda is right or why they are oppressed, etc. Take that to the logical conclusion and you'd never be able to make a joke. Saying that a browser experience based around a text editor would be good if they could build in a good text editor is simple fun, anyone who would use that to attack either side of the Vi/Emacs debate is a nutjob who should be ignored, not pandered to.

Re:They tried it already, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349532)

Great operating system. If it had had a good text editor it might have taken over the world.

Ah, So the editor wars haven't died yet. Meaning, people with maturity levels of nursery kids are on slashdot. Grow up!

Someone is an Emacs user...

So they've invented Chrome apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36348984)

TFA compares it to Chrome OS, when that's a weird comparison - Chrome/Chromium is the actual "shell" minus the operating system.

Jolicloud, is that you? (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349002)

Isn't it exactly the idea behind the Jolicloud [jolicloud.com] linux distro?

The jolicloud html5 desktop is also available as a chrome webstore app... [Insert Yo dawg joke here]

Re:Jolicloud, is that you? (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349194)

And you can watch a steady (if small) stream of Jolicloud users departing because their latest launcher fails to integrate desktop apps with web apps, so you can't launch them all from the same place. I'm subscribed to the thread about it so I get email notifications of those who actually bother to post, which you can assume to be a small slice of those who are departing.

Be interesting to see how they solve THAT problem.

Back to the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349012)

Once they get us all mainframed again it will be back to client/server.

We all know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349120)

that web technologies are flawed, insecure and generally circlejerked over for (to proper coders) no apparent reason.

How many times does this shit need to fail before browsers and web 5.0 technologies stay where they're meant to be. I like security, self-hosting my data and using non-clunky markup and languages, thank you very much.

Marc Andreessen would turn in his grave .. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349160)

.. if he wasn't still alive :-).

I really, really hope that I don't hear people herald this as innovation, because that was the Netscape vision (and the reason Microsoft had to nuke their business by giving away Internet Exploder for free).

With that vision come the flaws, and they remain still pretty much identical too: without the net there is no work (net-work, geddit? No? Sjeez..). This is sort of OK for the desktop but it doesn't really work for mobile use.

Conclusion: yawn. Anything interesting on TV?

Name sux (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349176)

Webian? Is that pronounced Web ee Ann or Weeb ee Ann ?

(Mind you I never did find out how to pronounce Debian I just thought it had a long e since there was only one cosonant between the vowels)

How to pronounce Debian (1)

vrt3 (62368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349252)

Deb ee Ann

It's easy to remember, once you know where it comes from. To cite Wikipedia:

The original "Debian Linux" distribution was released in August 1993 by developer Ian Murdock, and was named as a combination of his own given name and the given name of his girlfriend at the time, Debra Lynn.

Re:Name sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349384)

Maybe it is Web Eye Ann.

Re:Name sux (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349542)

Since when does a consonant-vowel-consonant sequence imply a long vowel?

Re:Name sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349750)

Debian is named after Debra and Ian Murdock. The Debian project even gives a pronunciation guide:

http://www.debian.org/intro/about

Aurora Revisited? (1)

Yacob (27419) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349314)

Reminds me of the early goals of Netscape's Aurora desktop in 1997 -which I never did get to use.

A web based desktop i expect has a better chance to make it in this AJAX/REST/WS era and the web based office suites to make it more interesting.

Looking back at Aurora, I'm impressed now how they project adopted RDF early on. I hope the new project goes the same route and leverages the now more viable field semantic technology and linked opendata.

Involution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349420)

Definitely the end of the world is near...
We are making everything worse, even the technology gets worse every year, more Flash crap, more colors and bubbles and definitely more adds.
We already have one thing that let's you use applications and manages your video and audio and all that, it is called operating System, who wants a browser-only computer. Maybe for public access terminals or something like that, but come on, use your time to solve real problems, don't invent new ones.
Quiting some smart guy: "The best minds in our generation are employed on getting you to click more adds"

Weabuntu (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349490)

I wonder if the Ubuntu version will be called Weabuntu. It won't have Pong but it'll come with paddles.

Why, oh why? (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349530)

What's wrong with the desktop I have now? Is it interpreted code? No. Is it slow? No (mostly). Is it unresponsive to user input? Sometimes, but that's the fault of the kernel and other processes, not the shell per se. Could the desktop metaphor be improved? Maybe... but what's wrong with just changing the existing code/resources?

WHY do I need my desktop in a Web browser? How will shoehorning my desktop into a browser actually improve any of the few problems my desktop does have? "Integration", you say? Pffft! The browser is ONE CLICK and a few seconds away. WHY do I have to have my entire desktop inside the browser just for 'integration"? Preload the damned browser code instead, for gosh sake. I already do that.

Leave my fucking desktop out of the browser, please, Mozilla. A more intelligent integration MIGHT be to merge Web and file/document browsing; they're both browsers intended to locate stuff, after all, eh? Maybe you could then integrate (Open|Libre|)Office into that integrated browser, so that it could then locate AND open both Web and other documents?

Why don't you tinker with that instead, Mozilla, and leave my freaking desktop out of it?

Convenience, economy of labour (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349742)

Having an OS with a shell like this could certainly save time in teaching new users to use the platform, as well as saving a lot of programmer time on porting over the years. A local web server is a very inefficient way to provide apps in a sense, but then so are all GUIs and that doesnt seem to limit their popularity in any meaningful way. And if you run all your apps through that, you can keep a fairly small, modular operating system codebase that isnt a nightmare to maintain, update, and port using relatively frugal resources. .

Chromium, much? (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349690)

The Webian Shell basically consists of a browser which will replace the traditional desktop, and web applications are given more importance than the native applications.

This idea seems so familiar... [chromium.org]

shite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349732)

n/c

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