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10 Web Operating Systems Reviewed

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the best-not-go-with-the-cheapy-isp dept.

Operating Systems 113

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

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what use? (1, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360496)

I still don't get what actual use of these can be relatively to other existing options.

Re:what use? (0)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360532)

I still don't get what actual use of these can be relatively to other existing options.

Hmmm, perhaps it's good to trade one groups selfish interests for anothers every now and then, to keep the lot of them moderately honest.

Re:what use? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360578)

You must be new... aw shit.

Re:what use? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360536)

Sure you do, but then you wouldn't get first post if you bothered to devote 10 seconds of time to saying so, would you?

Re:what use? (5, Funny)

HerrEkberg (971000) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360556)

Ever heard of those computers that come pre-loaded with a ROM containing only Microsoft Bob and a web browser?

Well... me neither, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

JAMES BROWN DEAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360666)

Sad news?

Re:what use? (2, Informative)

ixplodestuff8 (699898) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360708)

The main use is that it's a new area to explore. It's a growing application, that doesn't have many uses today, but you never know when it'll finally have a good use. As webos's develop, people might find new innovative ways to use them.

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

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

Or it might just never take off and be a flop, who knows, but the point is, it's worth a shot to see if it's any good later on.

Re:what use? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360852)

operating system whose user interface is only the web browser

The Sun Ray (I think) thin clients already come with this, but also a X client, and a Windows Remote client. Both options are better than "WebOS"es for "remote desktops".

You could probably load it up all to ROM and have no hard drive, making the boot up take all of about a second.

Then add the download time + flash start up time etc.

While "WebOSes" are a intresting toy, I don't think they will ever be any more than that

Re:what use? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361738)

I think you've hit it about as close to my feeling as you can without just calling it useless. I see the "WebOS" as a solution floundering for a problem. Right now, the technology and methods are still in the "wow" stage, and people aren't doing much more than using new tools to make copies of existing applications that end up straining to wedge themselves into relevance in areas where they're not needed. Eventually, someone will come up with the niche that rich Web applications do fill-- uniquely and adeptly-- as for now it's just tech-demos and flexing muscles.

Re:what use? (2, Interesting)

partenon (749418) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361922)

The main use is that it's a new area to explore.
Funny to read that. Some time ago, we had "dumb terminals" (in a literal translation from portuguese to english). Applications fully running on a central computer via network isn't a new idea. The "new" factor here is the internet. How cyclical our market is...

By the way, if you wonder about having a box that only boots and get everything from network, you'd be surprised to discover BootP (bootstrap protocol) and others, used for diskless workstations.

Re:what use? (1)

lowid (24) _________ (878977) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361002)

Nobody seems to be able to think of any use at all for these, which is surprising to me (although i guess it isn't useful if you never leave your house, which might explain the slashdot reaction). Lets set aside for a moment the fact that these systems are slow and may not work particularly well, and assume that we live in a perfect world and they are feature-complete and snappy and have all the programs you need and even a way to add more programs or what not. I can head down to the library and simultaneously research and work. I can pop into an internet cafe while traveling and add an idea to a project. I can visit family over the holidays and do work on their computers when i'm tired of dealing with them, and not have to worry about bringing a laptop (especially nice if one doesn't have a laptop).

Of course, pretty much every computer nowadays has internet and word processing already, and there are myriad ways to transfer your documents on the internet that are probably more convenient. WebOSes need to offer some advantage over this. If they can manage to replicate or come very close to your standard, at-home desktop experience, it'll be great. (How cool would it be if the webOS thing took off and developers could port apps like photoshop, logic, autocad, dreamweaver, etc... to webOSes in addition to regular OSes.)


Re:what use? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361758)

There is nothing new about remote access to one's computer and there have been many solutions to this problem for many years now that all perform better or no worse than the web browser approach. There is X windows for NIXes which supports remote login sessions, there is remote desktop for Windows XP and 2003 and terminal services for Windows 2000, not to mention the numerous third party products which have been available for just as long including VNC, Timbuktu, PCAnywhere, and many others. The WebOS concept really doesn't offer anything that is substantially improved over the existing solutions and it actually does some things even less well. This sounds to me like yet another solution to a problem that is already well solved searching for an audience in an already crowded marketplace. I wouldn't invest dime one of my money in a WebOS company so that pretty well sums up my sentiments about the prospects of the WebOS concept. The people here on Slashdot are right to be unimpressed by this.

Re:what use? (1)

tomazos (992364) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361836)

There is nothing new about remote access to one's computer and there have been many solutions to this problem for many years

The difference is that the necessary client software (the web browser) is preinstalled and ready-to-go on every machine.

Zero deployment is a big deal.

Re:what use? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364402)

X Windows, or something like it, comes with just about every version of a NIX OS and Windows XP comes with remote desktop client. If you want to go back more than six years then you can point to Windows 2000 Pro and other 9x Microsoft OSes not having this functionality pre-installed out of the box, but most people already have the tools they need with their base OS install (they just don't know that they have them). I cannot speak about the MacOS support during this time since I mostly didn't use MacOS during the past six years, but if they had remote access then it probably came with the pre-installed bundle on your shiny new Mac. The pre-installed issue is thus, not much of an issue.

Re:what use? (1)

SageMusings (463344) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364408)

There is something that scares me.

Just like web-based applications, web-OSs seem like something that can be taken from me at any time. Let's say there is a change in subscription prices that prices me out of the game or the fact I have to keep paying for something over and over again. Let's not even bring up the specter of no standards.

I am comfortable with control over my machine. There may be some amazing uses in the future that compel me to adopt the use of a web-OS but I cannot see what those uses are at present.

Re:what use? (1)

lowid (24) _________ (878977) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362120)

The problem with current remote access solutions that in my eyes Web OSes address better than the solutions you mentioned is a problem of simplicity. Specifically, you essentially have to set up a server and keep your computer running to use these services. This isn't a problem for many people, and probably isn't much of one at all for the slashdot crowd. However, I do feel that the WebOS concept is much more appealing because you don't have to worry about the server end of things. It's just so easy to visit a website (especially on locked down computers like you might find at an internet cafe or a library) and have everything there waiting for you.

Now, I know there are still problems with the actual services, and I've tried a few of these OSes and I'll freely admit that they aren't very useful right now. However, I just think that nobody is thinking about this conceptually, and that noone can see past the (admittedly bad) products that are out there. It WOULD be a good product if it was executed well, and I think a well-done web OS would be a much better solution for the average user than the suggestions you mentioned (nothing to set up on your home computer, no need to run software on a remote computer, just pop open a web browser and type in the address).

Do I think that a web OS is a promising concept? Yes. Would I invest my money in a web OS company? No. Although I think there are uses for a web OS (that was the original question, after all), I don't have much faith that anyone is going to turn the concept into a decent product anytime soon. Agree with you there. It's pretty early in the game, though.


Re:what use? (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363532)

While these "WebOS" things do remove the need for keeping your personal machine configured to run the backend, the servers running them could just as easily be running more practical applications that are accessed remotely. Remote access to a centrally administered server is a neat (if somewhat old) idea, but the web is distinctly the wrong delivery mechanism. It's not even like these products are truely 'web based'; the overwhelming majority of the systems in the article use flash to get the job done. Why not substitute 'X server' for 'flash player' and be done with it?

Re:what use? (2, Insightful)

doctorzizmore (999192) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361590)

This might be interesting to use on the Wii, which has a browser but no real 'OS' to speak of.

MOD UP Insightful (1)

schweinhund (119060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362652)

Good point. With the new Opera for Wii this would make some interesting competition for Xbox Live and PS3 Linux.

Re:what use? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363702)

There are pros and cons to Web apps just like there are pros and cons to Desktop apps.

This article [] does a good job of explaining the pros and cons of Web & Desktop apps.

Here's the full text:

Pros and Cons to Web and Desktop Applications
by S. Housley

There has been a long running debate about web applications replacing desktop software applications. While some functions are better suited to web applications. It is my belief that security concerns and legacy systems will prevent desktop software from becoming obsolete.

Some argue that the debate between web applications and desktop applications is pointless; as their is no clear answer. While still others argue that the issue at hand is as much a business and marketing issue, as it is a technological issue.

What Defines a Web Application Vs a Desktop Application? A web application is an application delivered to users from a web server like the Internet. Some businesses run web applications on an intranet, as well. Web applications are becoming more popular due to the widespread use of the web browser as a client.

Some applications are better suited and more likely to become successful as web applications. Web applications designed specifically for search engine optimization, have become increasingly popular. It is easy to understand why web applications that relate to the Internet would prosper, while business applications may have less appeal in a web environment.

A desktop application is a self-contained program that performs a defined set of tasks under the user control. Desktop applications run from a local drive and do not require a network or connectivity to operate or function properly, though if attached to a network desktop applications might use the resources of the network.

Pros and Cons to Desktop and Web Applications:

Easily Accessible Web applications can be easily accessed from any computer or location that has Internet access. Travelers especially benefit from the accessibility. This often means that if a traveler has access to a computer, phone or handheld with Internet connectivity they can utilize the web application.

Low Maintenance & Forced Upgrades Desktop applications need to be individually installed on each computer, while web applications require a single installation. Many web applications are hosted by a 3rd party and the maintenance fall under the applications hosts responsibility. The ability to update and maintain web applications without distributing and installing software on potentially thousands of client computers is a key reason for the popularity of web based applications. This can be a blessing and a curse as users of web applications on hosted systems are at the mercy of the host, if an upgrade does not go well, or the individual user doesn't want or need the new features the upgrade will still go forward.

Increased Security Risks There are always risks involved when dealing with working online, regardless of how secure a host might say a web application is, that fact of the matter stands that the security risk of running an application of the Internet is more significant than when running an application on a standalone desktop computer. Some applications require more security than others, playing Sudoku on a web application would cause little concern, but dealing with sensitive corporate formulas or accounting details in a web environment might be determined risky.

Cost Over the life of the software use, web applications are typically significantly more expensive over time. Desktop applications are purchased outright and rarely is their a recurring fee for the software use. Some desktop applications do have maintenance fees or fee based upgrades associated with them, but rarely is there a subscription fee associated with the software's ongoing use.

Many corporate web applications use a different model, users typically are charged monthly service fee to operate the software. Fees are considered "subscription fees". If you fail to renew your subscription you may be unable to access the data stored in the web application.

Connectivity Web applications rely on persistent and unmanaged connectivity. If you do not have an Internet connection or if your host does not have Internet connectivity you cannot access the information. Critical applications or businesses that are time sensitive cannot risk denial of service attacks or power outages to interrupt their operations and access data that is sensitive.

Slower Web applications that rely on the Internet to transfer data rather than a computer's local hard drive, may operate slower. The speed may also vary based on number of users accessing the application.

Backups & Ownership. Regardless of the platform, companies need to be sure that their data is appropriately backed up. When using a web application that are hosted by a third party, companies should clearly determine who owns the data housed in the application, and be sure that privacy policies prevent that data from being used by the web host.

Ultimately the accessibility of web based applications make them very desirable. Web applications have some fundamental limitations in their functionality, and are better suited for specific tasks. Understanding the pro's and con's to each business model, will help users determine whether a desktop application or web application will better suit their needs.

About the author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll [] software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage [] a wireless text messaging software company.

Uh, what the fuck? (0)

matt me (850665) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360514)

A "WebOS" is defined as "a set of applications running in a web browser that together mimic, replace or largely supplement a desktop OS environment."

How are you looking at this without using a browser? Or do WebOS include browsers. That would make so much sense.

Re:Uh, what the fuck? (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360560)

Who said you're not using a browser? Of course you're using a web browser to access a frigging WEB OS! Think, dammit!

Re:Uh, what the fuck? (1)

Tokimasa (1011677) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360580)

Yeah. I would even assume that if you had this, you could even use a PC that is just a browser to access a server that has the WebOS on it.

Re:Uh, what the fuck? (2, Interesting)

H3g3m0n (642800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362136)

There are also browsers in some of them :) This actually does make sense, things like bookmarks and history can be kept online without requiring any bookmark synchronizers or needing to be accessed from a special bookmarks site, other than the initial webOS connection, also you could enable access to the bookmarks through such a portal site and enable synchronizers to get the best of everything. With that said, I think that webOSes them selfs are kind of pointless. It would be much better to have a web based NX client (like the one VNC has) and just virtualize an entire trimmed down operating system. Although possible it might be useful to be able to click on files in the webos filebrowser and have them downloaded locally, although I'm sure with some basic java script hooks on the browser side and some modification to the file manager being virtualized it could be done.

Re:Uh, what the fuck? (1)

Fett101 (810894) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360590)

"Or do WebOS include browsers."

Viewing web pages in a browser via WebOS running in a browser. My mind boggles.

Re:Uh, what the fuck? (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360686)

We call it iframes.

Definition (2, Insightful)

matt me (850665) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360740)

Surely we now have a Turing machine equivalent for webOS.

A sufficiently advanced webOS is able to run itself.

Re:Definition (1)

Poltras (680608) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360848)

Thus, by definition, all WebOS implementing a way to browse a page are able to run themselves. I don't see it mind blogging, since the machine (browser) needed to interpret the language (HTML) is the same (client browser...) and as such is as powerful.

Re:Definition (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363538)

I dunno, how many of these "WebOSs" have Flash support? These aren't exactly web pages, or even flashy Javascript.

Completely pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17361946)

These "web OSes" remind me of the "Fisher Price My First OSes" I used to write to amuse myself when I was eight years old. They have no practical purpose. The platform has changed, but these "Look ma, I wrote an OS!" projects are still just a bunch of unknowledgable programmers masturbating.

Re:Uh... (1)

dickens (31040) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361978)

I think they really meant "supplant" rather than "supplement", for one thing.

What browsers do they work with ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360526)

Shame that he didn't say what environment he was using to test. OK: I know that they are based on flash, but it would have been nice to know what browsers/... it ran under.

Re:What browsers do they work with ? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360786)

Most are probably based upon Ajax, I would think.

Re:What browsers do they work with ? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360958)

He pointed out that one of them didn't work with Firefox, so presumably he did test under that.

Average Users (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360548)

I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for "the call".

Yeah joe ?
Uhhh, I registered for a Web OS, you know so I don't have to use Windows, then I deleted Windows, how do I get my new Web OS to connect to the internet ?

Re:Average Users (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363836)

Re:Average Users (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363880)

After the herculean effort to control your laughter, tell them that if they send you $5 + shipping, you will send them a wondrous CDROM called "Knoppix".

You could get richer than spammers!

Why I succombed to using these things... (2, Informative)

dino213b (949816) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360572)

One simple answer: shared documents. Sure, I have five+ computers at home and one of them is a dedicated linux machine that I use for file storage and whatnot. The problem is, it is a multi-step process for anyone living in my house to access these files at work. While I have no problem of whatsoever establishing file shares and so forth, not everyone is as comfortable with the idea.

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

Re:Why I succombed to using these things... (3, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360916)

take a look at []

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

It uses 9p []

and appears as a shared drive in Windows

Re:Why I succombed to using these things... (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361390)

Geez. Are you one of the people that actually uses Plan 9!?

Re:Why I succombed to using these things... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362366)

Congratulations, you found Glenda

Business model? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363596)

I don't get it. They're basically offering huge steaming gobs of bandwidth so that lazy people don't have to deal with routing and VPN issues. What's the catch?

Don't call it "Web OS", then. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363608)

Google Spreadsheets is just a spreadsheet. Gmail is just email. Do one job and do it well.

Last time I looked at a "WebOS", I saw something horrible. Someone was collecting a bunch of worthless AJAX apps and wrapping them in an AJAX windowing system.

You know what? If I want to use Google Maps and Yahoo Mail, that's my choice. No way I'm getting all of my apps from one place, just so someone can implement a windowing system in the browser (which sucks donkey balls), instead of using the existing windowing system provided by my real OS! If I want to look at gmail and spreadsheets side-by-side, I'll open two browser windows!

Argh. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360618)

It's a desktop environment or, at the very least, an application suite. Not an operating system. Until some website is handling process and memory management, it's no OS.

But I guess "Online Desktop Environment" doesn't quite sound as cool does it?

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360712)

KDE and Gnome are never referred to as operating systems; neither should this stuff. It's really just a large web application; nothing more nothing less.

Re:Argh. (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360758)

Aye. Ye cannae do interrupt handling with AJAX.

O-D-E (1)

lamona (743288) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361520)

Online Desktop Environment = ODE. Surely someone can make marketing hay with THAT one.

The Road Ahead (-1, Troll)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360630)

You're living in the 1990s if you're not thinking about virtualizing your WebOSs. I can't wait until Intel's Stockton CPU, which will enable multibooting WebOS environments running virtualized Javascript kernels.

Squirts Ballboy recently talked to analysts about upcoming service packs for Windohs Vistula. "You can't talk about WebOS technology without mentioning the best-of-breed MS Internet Exposer," he said. "Internet Exposer 7 (service pack 4) will be the best browser for running all the payload-based applications that are the foundation of the modern software ecosphere."

intriguing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360790)

thanks for these importants facts you jave emaled

Why? (4, Informative)

strags (209606) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360632)

I can see one reason for a Web OS, and that's that it makes it easy to access your desktop from anywhere. However, from a technological point of view, the web browser has to be pretty much the worst choice of interface - the only compelling reason for using it is that it's ubiquitous.

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

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

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

MoogMan (442253) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361152)

A "WebOS" is really just an expensive implementation of a Thin client.

This is a joke, right? (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360696)

How is this an operating system?

I guess "WebOS" sounds a lot sexier than "crappy useless Flash programs that just barely work".

Re:This is a joke, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360960)

Well Microsoft got away with calling Windows 3.x an OS.... so you never no.

Re:This is a joke, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360988)

How is this an operating system?
My thoughts exactly. And I'm sick and tired of hearing about "GoogleOS". The company has publicly stated that they're NOT interested in making an OS - so for fucks sake get over it. I like using the search engine as much as the nexts guy but I wish Slashdot would just get over it's obsessive compulsive disorder regarding Google and not act as the company's own personal PR department. For those of us that just want to search; it's damn near thorment to constantly be bombarded with these company obsessed articles. The occasional article is okay IMO but these days not a single day goes by without Google hype on the front page.

Please folks, cut us some slack and find more interesting things to submit.

Re:This is a joke, right? (1)

e.colli (630500) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361610)

They are missing the point, another windowing system is useless, but file sharing and placeless files has some uses. If we don't talk about hardware interfacing, the OS give to the average user just file storage, networking. A large number of people spend 100% of they computer time on email and browser, if they have an connected hardware and a browser they will don't want to know if there are an OS inside the computer. Thus, in this sense I think Google already have an 'GoogleOS' with email and an "office suite" which dismisses the need of file storaging and some office apps.

Re:This is a joke, right? (1)

rs79 (71822) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360998)

"I guess "WebOS" sounds a lot sexier than "crappy useless Flash programs that just barely work"."

What he said. It's nice to see people working in this area and I can see they've put some thought into it.

But the first two I tried didn't work at all and the third was mildly interesting.

I think they've all missed the boat (or maybe I have) though in that moving your desktop out there to the net is not I think what's going to happen. Rather than use some server out there I think your desktop will be the server.

Re:This is a joke, right? (4, Insightful)

NotFamousYet (937650) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361062)

Again, like "Web 2.0", this is just a term coined by bloggers to hype a new kind of feature.

For most people, an OS is nothing more than a collection of software which comes with a computer. So a WebOS is basically the equivalent of these apps, but online.

A better fitting name would probably be Online Desktop, but since those failed in the previous bubble ( anyone?), I doubt people will be calling them that :)

It is deadly serious (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363412)

It is not a joke. Drug abuse does horrible things. Say no to letting tech journos write when they are on drugs.

WebOS (4, Funny)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360702)

Sounds like the spanish word for testicles...

Re:WebOS (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360856)

You're thinking of "huevos", which is actually translated to "eggs".
"Testículos" is testicles.

So, "Don't put all your WebOS in one basket" would have worked better.

Re:WebOS (1)

Andyman1134 (854184) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360938)

"huevos" does literally mean "eggs" but in slang it is the testicles.

Re:WebOS (1)

moco (222985) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361324)

It is the same as "balls". It can be used as slang for testicles. In spanish you can use huevos (eggs), pelotas (balls), tanates (???), gumaros (???) and, my guess is, many more words to refer to the testicles. Any other spanish speaking slashdotters care to complete this list?

Re:WebOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17361752)


Isn't this a step backwards? (3, Interesting)

cunamara (937584) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360714)

Back in the day, one of the arguments for the "personal computer revolution" was to free computer users from central control. The idea was for the user to own their own basically self-sufficient computer, rather than sharing that stuff. But as time has gone on the the Internet has become ubiquitous, computer users are voluntarily being re-centralized with things like GMail, IMAP, web-based applications, etc. Are we voluntarily surrendering the freedom of personal computer ownership?

Re:Isn't this a step backwards? (2, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360832)

No, we are exercising that freedom by running different things in different ways to best suit our needs.

Re:Isn't this a step backwards? (1)

moco (222985) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361360)

Centralized, distributed and personal computing each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The advances in technology make either of them "cheaper" at times and the market adjusts.

Umm... promising? (1)

Klaidas (981300) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360728)

I just don't understand how this is promising. To use the OS, you must already have an OS. You can't install it yourself either... And you also need a browser to access it. How is this an OPERATING SYSTEM at all?

Re:Umm... promising? (1)

adolfojp (730818) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360744)

I am sorry, but these are not operating systems. These are nothing more than pretty user interfaces running on top of a web browser that is running on top of an operating system. The use of operating system in this context is a retarded misnomer and we should stop doing it.

Re:Umm... promising? (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360840)

How is this an OPERATING SYSTEM at all?

It isn't of course, I'd call it a Web Desktop Environment but that's wordier. There's also some wiggle room when deciding where an OS ends and "Applications" begin. KDE, Gnome, Explorer, etc. are technically applications, but I'd still consider them parts of the OS. Konquerer/Nautilus are a little tougher to draw the line at whereas OpenOffice/KOffice are pretty definately applications in their own right.

Re:Umm... promising? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360932)

Well, because Windows and OS X users rarely if ever have needed to separate between the OS and Desktop Environment, if they at all understand what Windows is then it's as an operating system. So when you make an online desktop environment, you call it WebOS people actually think right even though it's technically wrong. It's the same way people think a 10/100 Mbit Ethernet connection would be "broadband", when it's technically not. But in their minds they get the right idea of "fast internet". Still, if I wanted anything like a WebOS, I'd much rather have a remote login to a real desktop.

But . . but . . . (-1, Redundant)

code shady (637051) | more than 6 years ago | (#17360734)

What am I going to be using to run the computer that runs the browser that my WebOS runs inside?

Better name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360748)

We need a better name for these things, as many others have pointed out they are *not* operating systems by any stretch of the imagination. How about "Web Desktop"?

(plus one In7ormative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360776)

Is this *news* or.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360834)

As far as I can tell, this so called news ain't nothing more than Blogger's own (weak) attempt to sell his relatively new blog and get some readers.

New Term: WebDesktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17360888)

A WebOS would boot, have its own file system, etc... These all depend on the host OS/browser.

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid (4, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361052)

I don't even know where to start.

First off, these aren't "operating systems." An operating system is the system of software that interacts with the hardware of the computer and provides an interface for regular application software to use and share that hardware. Most operating systems do quite bit more than that, but at it's heart, that's what an OS is for. These "Web operating systems" don't do anything like that, by any stretch of the imagination. At best these would some kind of user interface.

Second of all, they're SLOW. Way to go, guys, your "WebOS" makes my 2+ Ghz Athlon 64 and gig of memory run like a slow 386.

If that's not bad enough, there's really no use for these things. At best they're remote desktop for people who are too stupid to setup a regular remote login or VPN. I mean, shit, I can tunnel X over ssh and log in to one of my home machines from work, and get full access to a regular X session and all of Linux. It's not as fast as being logged in locally, but it's still much faster than these "Web OSes"

And finally, it's an abomination of the underlying technology. Somebody really needs to have a little talk with these people about using the right tool for the job. This isn't even like using a hammer to pound in a screw, it's more like using a jack hammer to to fix a watch.

Re:Stupid, Stupid, Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363092)

"At best they're remote desktop for people who are too stupid to setup a regular remote login or VPN"
They need to stop giving IQ tests and just ask if you can setup a remote login. That way we can find all the stupid people.

Most people, even smart people, don't know what a remote login or VPN even is. So a webOS provides a friendly familiar version of what they are used to.

Re:Stupid, Stupid, Stupid (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363290)

Most people, even smart people, don't know what a remote login or VPN even is. So a webOS provides a friendly familiar version of what they are used to.

Ignorance is no excuse to use such a bastardization. If a person badly enough needs to login or otherwise access a machine remotely, they should setup some kind of regular remote access or VPN. If they're not technically adept enough, they can have somebody else set it up for them. Creating a very poor psuedo-remote access system built over HTTP with HTML isn't the solution.

No offense to the developers, it's decent for what it is. I just think they're solving a problem that doesn't exist, with technology that isn't up to the challenge, and then giving it a name that doesn't make any sense.

It's been said here before. (1)

jeffbopp (319185) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361116)

SSH to a remote emacs blows all of these out of the water. All of these AJAX/flash os's are pushing a bad idea too far.

Re:It's been said here before. (0, Flamebait)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363330)

Of course, you're ignoring the fact that nobody wants to run emacs. Emacs reversed is scamE. Do you want to run a scam(E) on your computer? I DIDN'T THINK SO!

What about... (1, Funny)

jounihat (884616) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361184) personal favourite: Windows RG [] ?! You know, familiar user experience has always been a key element to success.

Re:What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17361362)

Nice one, I like it.

It doesn't have all the features yet, but it crashes less than my Windows.

This mimics an OS? (1)

martinkb (990418) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361210)

Note: for the purposes of this article, "WebOS" is defined as "a set of applications running in a web browser that together mimic, replace or largely supplement a desktop OS environment."

I don't think so... Where is memory management, where is the hardware interaction code, etc. A large part of a desktop OS is the libraries and hardware management code that no user ever hears of.

That said, all these are is stupid Flash or AJAX implementations that hardly work.

WebOS are cool (1)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361452)

They do everything a desktop can do but they they do it in a browser, do it slower and hog a lot more resources. Wow, how innovative!

What's are Weboses? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361562)

Are they some kind of expensive Internet speaker system?

"engineering to bridge" (1)

borgalicious (750617) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361616)

I used to think that X11 was a heavyweight way of moving screen data. Then I saw AJAX. On the other hand, why shouldn't we have what Scotty and Geordie have?

BS (2, Funny)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361664)

The term "Browser System" or BS suits them better, I'd say.

Wonderful (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#17361906)

Because writing an "OS" in a language designed for document markup is such a great idea.

Flash? Forget it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17362008)

Sorry - but I don't have Flash infesting my machine, nor will I ever. So note to future companies out there: If you use Flash, I won't be your customer.

Nor will any of my clients, friends, family, co-workers, or subordinates. None of us use Flash.

Too many ads, bouncy games, and other useless crap rely on Flash that we're not interested in and don't want to waste our time with.

GoogleOS already "out" under this def'n (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 6 years ago | (#17362064)

Since you already have access to common (windows) desktop app's such as spreadsheets, word doc's, and even low-time-budget games on Google Personalized Homepage, it appears GoogleOS has already been released. Though its interface is minimal, it's clean and straight-forward... without the hassle of cutesy icons that make you do what you don't want to do.

imho, whoever wrote the blog doesn't know what a real O/S looks like... that, it's not the pretty icons and "windows-gui-like" interface that makes something an o/s, but rather the function.

Re:GoogleOS already "out" under this def'n (1)

Nappa48 (1041188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362196)

I have to agree with you here
GoogleOS is already here in functionality, just not officially.
With Personalised Homepage, i have pretty much every Google service i use linked on it.
We have Docs & Spreadsheets, calenders, e-mail, chat, maps, image manipulation (to an extent).
And this is only the beginning (and this is not my words either, Google Blogs words, the official one)

The next year for Google will be getting more stuff out of beta (gmail for sure) and start to unify more of the interfaces.

Some people seem against "WebOSes", i don't think they are that bad.
Also, what if you are on a computer that doesn't have all these networking tools you need, pretty much every single OS from the past 5-10 years has a web browser.
And say you didn't have permissions to tweak networking settings either, another good reason.

I'll only say this: (1)

dannycim (442761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362242)

The day they take linux/X/fvwm/gnu away from me, they'll have to pry them from my cold dead fingers.

Sure, having your desktop run remotely from a web serve means your desktop follows you everywhere you go, but that also means you have to trust another party with your data.

And that ain't happening, not with me.

Re:I'll only say this: (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363422)

Sure, having your desktop run remotely from a web serve means your desktop follows you everywhere you go

Most people here probably already know this - but you can do that far better with X and ssh - even vnc is a half decent compromise and can work in a web browser (eg. the nice variant x11vnc).

Min system requirements (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362362)

For SSOE 1.0a, from TFA:
SSOE might not be the biggest OS, but it eats CPU like nothing else around.
For the best experience, ensure your computer meets the following basic requirements:
# RAM: 256MB or Greater
# Hard Disk: Unimportant. Have 4KB free for all it matters.
# CPU: 2.6 GHZ absolute minimum. The faster, the better. Dual core if possible.
# Graphics Card: Have at least 64MB VRAM. Hardware T&L preferred.

Good grief. Blows Vista away.
I'll stick with some flavor of Linux and be able to use my PC when I'm *not* online, too.

Beach head for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362644)

The Linux desktop is dead. That should be pretty clear by now.

Forget about whether WebOS is a technically correct definition. From the user perspective an OS is the stuff she interacts with, all the icons and menus that she uses to manipulate her information. A WebOS then is something that allows users to interact with a Web application in the same manner they do with a desktop app but without all the updating and installation chores that most users dread and with the ability to access their data even after having lost their laptops. That's a lot more valuable than an alternative OS which gives them the same problems as the "main" OS out there.

Imagine that you can put all those Gnome and KDE apps on a Windows desktop with all the GUI functionality that users expect but without having to run those apps on Windows. Remember how MSFT used to say that their OS was their toll bridge to the user? Well, capture that bridge, get Linux apps to the user on the Windows browser they know and love and with the same usability and features that users want and you've won a beach head. Once all apps are online and delivered to the user with GUIs the local OS becomes irrelevant. By then even Knoppix may one day become the desktop OS of the future.

Some of these 'WebOSes' are Linux-based and XML-driven. By using Flash they're just getting to the user in a familiar form. But in the future an SVG-based player that uses ECMAScript 4th edition as interface programming language with all apps programmed in PHP and running from Linux servers could become the "user OS". And that's how you get end users to use Linux.

But that's never going to happen if you keep asking the user to ditch Windows and adopt a Gnome or KDE interface that will ultimately give them the same headaches as their current OS.

eyeos.. caught my eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362862)

what bothers me about other is that tehy are hosted on a webserver which can go down, and has privacy issue.. which makes most of them next to useless.. the thing i like about eyeos is that you can put the files on your own server which is ingenious, and it opensource.. i have a real ass of a time registering whcih is like dumb anyways.

Missing the Mark? (1)

ryoukosan (1043564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362988)

I've seen several posts which come close to explaining the WebOS, but think of this: Imagine having devices (TV/PDA/Cellphone/future PADD ala Star Trek) which can connect to a network (LAN/WAN/WiFi/etc). These smart devices won't need to have a full OS installed in order to function. All you need is network access. You could then have full access to your desktop 24/7 no matter where you are. In the home, you will be able to work in any room without the need of owning several computers. I realize that many of us here already have similar setups using multiple computers (I myself have at least one in every room with the exception of the bath and utility rooms). The future "non-techie" users could have a fully integrated smart home with only a couple of computers and the network running everything. Right now, there may be no need for WebOS, but this is just the beginning. Only with time will we be able to see if this will be a viable solution to questions that haven't even been asked yet.

Re:Missing the Mark? (1)

ursuspacificus (769889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363360)



1) Pandering to "non-techies" is a bad idea. There should be a barrier to entry... the whole Ian Malcom, standing on the shoulders of giants thing... People should be required to earn a little knowledge for themselves before they get to use a computer... or a gun, or a car

2) In a perfect StarTrek world, where everyone is trustworthy, I suppose being able to just call up your Desktop on a PADD is fine... It's bad enough the NSA can sniff my Internet connection... with a "WebOS" they can sniff your whole desktop session. No thanks. And before you prattle on about encryption, remember, the Enigma Machine was an unbreakable code, until is was broken.

3) What you're talking about is a "Thin Client". Rather than using some crappy hack-upon-a-hack-upon-a-hack, why not use something optimized for running a desktop across a slow network, like, oh, tightVNC. Start a vncserver session on one of your machines at home, then connect from any and all other machines everywhere in the world.

4) Oh, and "fully integrated smart home"? BestBuy's got 'em for $15K. 0&from=rss []

linux blows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363106)

whats with the negative comments about the webos.. i think they're cool, and yeah the title is false.
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