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A Free XML-Based Operating System

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the xml-versus-adam-oh-forget-it dept.

175

Dotnaught writes "For the past five years, Xcerion has been working on an XML-based Internet operating system (XIOS) that runs inside a Web browser and promises radically reduced development time. To provide developers with an incentive to write for the platform, Xcerion's back-end system is designed to route revenue, either from subscription fees or from ads served to users of free programs, to application authors. Think of it as Google AdSense, except for programmers rather than publishers. Is it absurd to think this poses a threat to Google and Microsoft?"

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Stupid (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216418)

I don't know if it's absurd or not because there is absolutely nothing to look at on that web site whatsoever. What is an XML-based operating system? XML is a container format.

Let this be the thread for all "So what?" posts, please.

Re:Stupid (5, Insightful)

BruceCage (882117) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216480)

Repeat after me "this is not stuff that matters, this is not news for nerds". I honestly can't decide between tagging it 'slashvertisment', 'vaporware' or plain simply 'bullshit'.

Just stop posting stories like this damnit, I'm looking at you Zonk!

Re:Stupid (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216514)

You can add multiple tags, separated with commas (I think spaces also work).

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216522)

The sheer concept that this is an OS is out and out wrong. It is nothing more than a UI/Shell that links to an environment on the back end. This doesn't even constitute any loose idea of virtualization or emulation because everything still falls under the sandbox/api realm. The idea of the project might not suck (once/if it's ever working), but it sure won't get very far if everybody keeps using the wrong terminology to describe it.

Re:Stupid (1, Troll)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217008)

This is the way of thinking of people who were using M$ windoze for too long.

GUI = OS.

They should try text mode unix.

Re:Stupid (4, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217380)

This is the way of thinking of people who were using Eunuchs for too long.

UNIX shell = OS.

Seriously though, UIs are not OSs. The UNIX text-based command interpreters are not operating systems any more than this is, so I don't really see your point. UNIX is an OS. "M$ windoze", or as I prefer to call it, Microsoft Windows, is an OS. I really don't see how using one over the other will magically educate users about computer science vocabulary.

Re:Stupid (1)

SporkLand (225979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217518)

Slightly trollish, but I'd say that the idea of the project and it's realization have seperate suckiness quotients. The idea sucks/rocks independently of whether or not it's implemented. You seemed to imply that if they could implement it, it wouldn't suck as much.

Re:Stupid (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217556)

But it's also "Free". It is a "Free Operating System". Based on XML. Free Operating Systems are Good. The fact that this is XML-Based is just a property of the system, used to leverage agile methodologies.

Re:Stupid (1)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217500)

Since it is an operating system, it has to boot somehow. Since it is an "Internet" OS, then by definition it has to boot from the Internet.

Boot from network (Internet) requires the local DHCP server to had out the boot info. So are we all going to have to get our ISP's to set us up to boot this OS? If we put a router in the way, that part of DHCP is lost. So our router has to hand out this boot information. I don't think that's an option on my DLink.

Reading TFA
"In a way, XIOS is an abstraction layer that sits atop a true operating system like Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows, just as does Transmedia's Flash-based Glide Next media sharing environment."

So XIOS is NOT an operating system. It's an "environment" no different that Java JVM or Flash.

So the question is WTF is the point? I still have to run Windows if I want to use Word, Outlook, Excel, or XIOS. I can already install Linux and launch a full screen TS or Citrix desktop to give me Windows at a Linux thin terminal. Again, WTF is the point? It costs exactly the same. Provisioning 100 new DELL/HP PC's with or without XP PRO is the same cost. If I go with Linux and boot to TS/Citrix then it COSTS MORE. If I did the same thing to XIOS, then it would cost the same as just have Windows on the Desktop since I get no price break by getting Linux from my vendors.

What sounds good from a technical frame of view is often not good from a financial point of view.

Not an 'Operating System' (4, Insightful)

iBod (534920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216424)

By TA's own admission, it's not an OS, just an abstraction layer on top of a real OS.

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (5, Funny)

CSLarsen (961164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216494)

No, it's an OS on top of an OS (your webbrowser) on top of an OS (your uhm OS).

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217820)

No, it's an OS on top of an OS (your webbrowser) on top of an OS (your uhm OS).

So where does emacs fit in there?

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (2, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216498)

Not to mention XIOS is already a term in CP/M for "Extended I/O System" (comparable with the DOS BIOS in io.sys/ibmbio.com).

If it NEEDS AN OS TO RUN, it is not an OS!

-uso.

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216684)

A web-based runtime environment? Wouldn't that imply it's as secure as your browser and your other OS?

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (3, Insightful)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217062)

The Xcerion web site nevertheless refers to it as an "Internet OS". I suppose "application framework" is passé as a buzzword now.

Re:Not an 'Operating System' (3, Interesting)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217138)

And by the looks of the company site, it's vapourware. They have a "sign up to beta test" button on the home page, but when you fill in the form (*after you fill in the form*) they tell you you've been added to their list of people to send news about the thing.

Short answer (5, Insightful)

zmotula (663798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216426)

"Is it absurd to think this poses a threat to Google and Microsoft?"

Yes.

Au Contraire -- Sort of (5, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216520)

Does this represent a threat to Google or Microsoft? Not any time Soon

But then, it's not that long ago that Google was just two guys doodling on scrap paper.

A few problems have to be overcome including internet latency and the tendancy of everyone to cache stuff they should not be putting in caches (If your PC's memory cache worked like Internet caches do, you'd be lucky to get a Solitaire hand dealt before the PC crashed.)

And I doubt this is a threat to Google because they will do the same thing it if it works out.

My impression is that what's good about this specific scheme is that only data is sent over the network, so the annoying latency issues many of us have with Google spreadsheets and Writely should be less of a problem.

What's bad is that the data is stored on someone's servers. Security will be an issue. So will availability. And loss of data. And ...

Another problem is that networked "OS"es may not be acceptable for a lot of users because they are just plain too damn slow. A few years ago I slapped together a networked application running on a server here at home for keeping notes together. Worked, sorta. But even though I owned the network and the application was built into server code, not run via CGI, it was too slow to be usable. The problem looked to be latency, not slow processing.

The few serious attempts I've seen at using HTTP/browsers to do real jobs varied from awful to marginal. IMHO even things like SAIL suck. I'd rather update the /etc files directly. Hell, even ed/EDLINE would be faster and more satisfactory.

Maybe the problems can be overcome with brains, technology, and money. Maybe they can't.

Back on topic. Is this stuff a threat to Microsoft? You just bet it is. MS makes most of its money off OK, but overpriced, products that do way more than most customers need (Exception--Xbox which may eventually be a real, money making operation with a bright future). Furthermore, adding more features and charging more for new versions of Windows/Office is probably an unsustainable strategy. We're already seeing geeks and a few organizations walking away from Microsoft. I think that is only going to become more common and some of them may well go to schemes like this.

Re:Au Contraire -- Sort of (3, Informative)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217454)

And I doubt this is a threat to Google because they will do the same thing it if it works out.

Google is already doing something in this vein... They have Google Apps [google.com] , which can tie into your enterprise systems and offers your mobile workforce word processing and spreadsheets, email, IM, a start page with RSS--it isn't an operating system, not remotely, but the idea is that it represents an integrated, comprehensive application environment for our students to embrace from home, campus, or the Australian outback.

XIOS isn't really an OS, I certainly agree. But they're hardly unique. They're presenting an integrated suite of applications with an extensible API, sort of like what Google is doing. And really, it doesn't need to be an OS to make it useful and usable.

command line (5, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216438)

The command line is very friendly:

<command><command-name>grep</command-name><args><a rg>stuff</arg><arg>*</arg></args></command>

Bad XML (5, Informative)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216538)

It also shows very poor use of XML, sadly. For instance, wouldn't it make more sense to have <cmd name="grep"><args><regex>stuff</regex><filespec>*< /filespec></cmd>? It's not only shorter, but more future-proof, and more clear.

Still not short enough for me though. XML is OK for interchange, but it sucks as a human-readable markup language, even when used with forethought.

Furthermore, I'm not sure it makes ANY sense to have commands in XML. That's what programming languages are for -- it's the one thing they excel at. What's wrong with cmd(argname="val") or cmd(arg1, { a, b, c="10" })? It's complex to parse, sure, but that's why you make a parser once -- the point is, it IS parseable, without a human correcting the syntax before the computer can understand it.

Re:Bad XML (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216634)

Your isn't closed :P

Re:Bad XML (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217088)

XML is OK for interchange ...
I don't agree. I think XML is pretty sucky for interchange. JSON [wikipedia.org] or YAML [wikipedia.org] are much better (and more compact) data encodings than XML.

It's looking like JSON is becoming its own industry [google.com] standard [yahoo.com] .

And, of course, JSON and YAML are almost the same thing [hobix.com] .


Re:Bad XML (2, Interesting)

thogard (43403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217374)

But XML is a great interchange format for all those coders who couldn't pass Comp Sci 201. There are plenty of great papers on why XML style parsing was bad and some of them even have mathematical proofs and predate any *ML implementation. D. Knuth and A. Perlis both had nasty things to say about that type of parsing long before it existed but I guess their books aren't fashionable for modern coders.

Re:Bad XML (3, Informative)

bogomipz (807251) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217108)

Still not short enough for me though. [...] Furthermore, I'm not sure it makes ANY sense to have commands in XML.

I bet you'll find this article at least a little bit interesting; http://www.defmacro.org/ramblings/lisp.html [defmacro.org]

Actually, the very first thought I had after the first sentence of the summary was that Lisp would be a much better match than XML for something like this. The moment you try to treat code as data, you can be sure Lisp is what you want, although I believe Rebol (http://www.rebol.com/ [rebol.com] ) tries to do something similar.

Re:Bad XML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217806)

That article from defmacro you posted is really awesome.

Thanks.

Re:Bad XML (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217514)

Future-proof? Not nearly! You are assuming that commands will <em>always</em> be represented as simple strings! A much more comprehensive format would be something along the lines of:

<commandline><command><executable><shellpath>grep< /shellpath></executable></command><args><regex>stu ff</regex><filespec>*< /filespec></commandline>

This way, not only are you prepared for handling commands that are not defined by simple executables, but you can also use multiple ways of defining the location of an executable, such by a simple shell path, an absolute path, an URL for a remote host, a torrent source, and so on!

Re:Bad XML (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217852)

I have an awesome idea! You could space delimit it so that the formatting is more terse. You could even have quotes to include paramaters with spaces in them!

--
Evan

Re:Bad XML (1)

dotdash (944083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217594)

XML is OK for interchange, but it sucks as a human-readable markup language
I think the problem with XML in this context is not readability; the problem is typability. XML is simply too verbose for this application. But then, an XML "OS" need not have an XML command line interface.

Re:command line (0, Troll)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216574)

The command line is very friendly:
<command><command-name>grep</command-name><args><a rg>stuff</arg><arg>*</arg></args></command>


That's nothing.

Add a requirement for path statements to be defined with a prefixed combination of alphanumerics, colons and escape characters, throw in some voodoo quoting mechanisms, require a regedit for tab command-completion, etc., implement everything (the documentation, included) on an ad hoc basis while dismissing the notion of terminal as something that's quaint or needs reinventing, and you'll really feel like you're being kicked in the monads [wikipedia.org] .

I kid, of course. It's probably worse.

> Get Wmi-Object Win32_Bios
> Cancel or Allow?
>

Ahhh. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216444)

If XML doesn't solve the problem, use more XML.

Re:Ahhh. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216556)

If XML doesn't solve the problem, use more XML.


I'm already developing a XML parser on this new platform.

Re:Ahhh. (1)

manastungare (596862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217148)

It's a little bit like violence in that regard. Keep adding more until it all falls apart.

Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216446)

Considering they use javascript for the basic hyperlinks on their website, it seems they lack technical knowledge. That doesn't bode well for a company doing a web OS and if they're doing it using XML why does the W3C validator throw 103 errors on their (non-XML) home page?

Personally, I don't see these guys as a threat to anyone except themselves and their investors.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216690)

if they're doing it using XML why does the W3C validator throw 103 errors on their (non-XML) home page?

WTF?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216706)

How it validates [w3.org]
They have more errors than they do lines of HTML.

Re:Well... (1)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216900)

Come on... if any browser goes into panic mode when it doesn't find a DOC tag, I won't be using it. You don't always need to compile "-Wall", especially if you want working code.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217064)

Google's main page doesn't validate, and we all know how simple it is:
http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .google.com [w3.org]

Yahoo!'s main page doesn't validate, either:
http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .yahoo.com [w3.org]

Unexpectedly, MSN's front page is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict:
http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .msn.com [w3.org]

Validation for the website (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216454)

http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .xcerion.com%2F [w3.org]

Those guys can't even put down proper HTML, I'm not sure i'd trust them to write a whole web-based "OS" in XML

Re:Validation for the website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216530)

Especially since he's using XHTML, which literally 'breaks' if its invalid. Bloody sloppy.

Re:Validation for the website (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216582)

Not only can they not write valid html, but they can't write html that render correctly in Safari, one of the most compliant browsers out there.

Re:Validation for the website (3, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216614)

***Those guys can't even put down proper HTML, I'm not sure i'd trust them to write a whole web-based "OS" in XML***

In their defense:

  • The guy doing their web page is probably not one of the folks doing the applications.

  • It appears that a LOT of Web Page developers are totally unaware of standards -- or don't care. My guess is that seriously non-compliant web pages probably outnumber those that are valid on major web sites. Hell, many of them don't even have a DOCTYPE spec and can't be validated.

  • Last time I looked, the Google home page threw about 50 HTML errors when fed to the W3C validator.

That said, if I were these guys, I'd fix the HTML.

Re:Validation for the website (1)

BigLug (411125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216996)

In the real world, validation doesn't overly matter. However as the site doesn't even *work* in FireFox on linux, I'm not holding my breath for anything from these people.

I don't care who made the site, if you're writing an "OS" (or if you claim to be even if you're not) then you at least check the most popular browsers on existing operating systems.

Re:Validation for the website (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217936)

However as the site doesn't even *work* in FireFox on linux, I'm not holding my breath for anything from these people.
Seems to work fine here, if rather ugly, slow to load, and devoid of content. What in particular do you think isn't working?

Re:Validation for the website (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217218)

http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww .xcerion.com%2F Those guys can't even put down proper HTML, I'm not sure i'd trust them to write a whole web-based "OS" in XML

I highly doubt that the score listed there is truly indicative of anyone's coding prowess. FFS, Google's [w3.org] score still sucks. But I will say one thing: Both sites look fine.

Would rock if it didn't need a full OS and browser (5, Insightful)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216456)

As subject. How is this meant to change the world or "threaten" Google or Microsoft when you need an OS (probably from Microsoft) and a browser (probably with Google as the homepage, both if we take the most popular)?

Once you wanna do something in this "internet OS" you'll fullscreen your $179 copy of Internet Explorer on Windows Vista, and fire up an app which probably uses some Google API internally. World changing? Or just another layer between you and them that serves yet more adverts?

Re:Would rock if it didn't need a full OS and brow (3, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216500)

How is this meant to change the world or "threaten" Google or Microsoft when you need an OS (probably from Microsoft) and a browser

Presumably becuase that OS could be Ubuntu, and that browser could be Firefox. Or OSX/Safari, or Suse/Konqueror, or.....

Re:Would rock if it didn't need a full OS and brow (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216708)

Presumably becuase that OS could be Ubuntu, and that browser could be Firefox. Or OSX/Safari, or Suse/Konqueror, or....

OK, but it's still an OS inside another OS inside...

It all sounds like a spot on a lump on a log in a whole in the bottom of the sea.

Re:Would rock if it didn't need a full OS and brow (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216760)

and that browser could be Firefox. Or OSX/Safari, or Suse/Konqueror, or.....

Not until their own webpage fails the validation checks.

Re:Would rock if it didn't need a full OS and brow (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217870)

Mmmm... I think you meant "Not as long as "...

OTOH, since you posted a little earlier than me, then pardon my nitpicking. The issue has already been fixed...

Why require a browser (5, Interesting)

broothal (186066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216458)

Back in the late 80's when I got on the net we all had a pretty good idea what "the internet" was. Now, 20 years later, the internet is almost synonymous with WWW. I'd like to see good solutions taking advantage of the internet, but why does it always have to require a web browser?

Re:Why require a browser (5, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216508)

Because a web browser is the only piece of software that fulfills the following criteria:

- Installed on most machines by default (many policies prohibit the installation of new s/w)
- Has the capability to be extended to provided an OS-like environment.

Re:Why require a browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216740)

Criterion 1 isn't really important, as you can easily install portable platforms such as Python, Ruby, Java.

C2 simply doesn't work for browsers. Browsers CAN'T use threads (unless JavaScript is extended, but then you have all those problems with different JS-implementations again!).

Re:Why require a browser (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217456)

So you go up to the airport kiosk, install these platforms (which takes a few hours since you have to hack in first to get admin access and download speed is molasses slow). Then you're good to go. Easy.

Second, there are work arounds for incompatible browsers. Namely, you create low level libraries for each browser so that everything delivers a base level of functionality. For example, these guys, Team Tibet [technicalpursuit.com] did just that. They created a library that enables smalltalk-style object oriented programming for javascript on a variety of platforms. In the process they had to solve the very problem you mention with all the different javascript implementations out there.

Balls! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216762)

Users can run software from their local account without installation and more OS installs have a telnet client than web browser.

What a web browser provides is a convenient way to do a GUI. We could hook common layout engines to different software entirely - and this would make more sense than current hacks atop HTTP **cough** AJAX **cough**

Re:Why require a browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217046)

> Installed on most machines by default (many policies prohibit the installation of new s/w)

Doesn't matter for a corporate environment and even not for a normal user if the client would be freely available, like, say, a web browser

> Has the capability to be extended to provided an OS-like environment.

As opposed to going directly through the GUI and network layers, how would this be *more* extensible?

Re:Why require a browser (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217412)

If the client isn't installed and can't be installed, which is a common occurance for public access machines, then it doesn't matter if it's freely available. The web browser is almost always available and just as important, it will continue to be that way. Second, the original poster wasn't claiming that the browser is "more" extensible, but merely that it is extensible. In other words, we have a client which might not be particularly functional, but it's functional enough and is the most common client out there now and in the foreseeable future.

Re:Why require a browser (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217954)

- Installed on most machines by default (many policies prohibit the installation of new s/w)
And if web apps ever get beyond the "cool but impractical demo" phase they're in at the moment, you can bet your life those policies will be updated to restrict their use as well. So, again, what's the advantage?

Because it's idiot safe? Even for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217152)

Because most people can surf on a URL to the Browser, but very few can use the icons on the desk which are "programs" and is not "internet".

I hope you understood me.

I will go back the the support guy to ask why the printer on the grey thing on top of the paper I'm writing is gone. I wish every program was as simple as google.

A what? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216462)

How the hell did this make it on Slashdot?

system requirements (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216466)

So the requirements of this new hot XML based operating system are at least to have a operating system and a heavy weight web browser.
Why do I need an operating system to run an operating system?
Oh... you mean it's nothing more than an application framework (just like the millions of others around there).

Stack Dump (3, Funny)

ZX3 Junglist (643835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216474)

Internet Explorer 7 has experienced and error while running script:
XIOS
Would you like to send an error report to Microsoft?
Send Don't Send

Front Page (5, Funny)

falzer (224563) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216518)

I like their front page message: Software should be free(TM)
Wow, it's like they snuck into Slashdot's secret headquarters and stole the root password... to our hearts!

Re:Front Page (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216700)

This is why they released their software into the public domain... Oh wait, that wasn't them.
And look, they even trademarked "Software should be free". How kind of them.

Software should be free(TM)... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217608)

...but obviously not slogans(TM)

Re:Front Page (1)

OldBus (596183) | more than 7 years ago | (#18218006)

And in a strange coincidence, it's also the combination to my luggage!

Try Creating An Account There...AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! (1)

1mck (861167) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216532)

I thought it would be kind of neat to check it out, but the only way that I could access the button to send my information to sign up was to view it in another window. I thought it was because I was using Firefox, but the same thing on IE, and on the page that has their "Internet Services Strategy" there is a line that goes through 2 paragraphs!LOL Not very professional, and if this is the level of service that they are going to be providing, then what can we expect from them for their OS??? And they stumbled right out of the gate!lol

I've got another idea (5, Funny)

pfortuny (857713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216544)

How about developing an OS on top of TeX?

This way we would live in the best of the worlds, would we not?

Moreover, this would threaten Google, Microsoft and the great scientific publishers.

Actually, we could make it work on top of an emacs session. Pity that you need another OS to run emacs, but
**it is emacs**, you know! and TeX, of course.

Anyone joining the project?

Re:I've got another idea (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216652)

Anyone joining the project?
I need to do something today, and joining this sounds a little better than cleaning the litter boxes.

I'll volunteer with the condition that if I don't make it back someone else cleans up after the cats.

Re:I've got another idea (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217790)

Well, we have something pretty close to an operating system based on a text manipulation system: namely the first version of Emacs was built on TECO. Back in the day before GUIs, plenty of people went right for emacs after logging in. It not only provided a wide variety of utlities of its own, it provided a way to run and interact with programs, through a kind of multi-tasking user shell. Back in the era of the VT100 terminal, this gave you virtual terminals even if your OS didn't provide it.

People joke that Emacs was an operating system, but add a kernel and a file system, and throw in a few basic utilities, and it would qualify.

XML People are still using that? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216546)

For a while it was this huge buzzword about the wonders of XML. Then when people look into it they realize it is not a programming language or scripting or formatting language (per say) that everyone was touting it to be. But just a Text File standard for holding data, like Comma separated values or fixed space delimited. Granted it handles treed information much better then the previous types but in reality it is not that big of a deal. Oddly enough I have never found an XML Parser that I am happy with either and I never really prioritized myself to make my own.

Re:XML People are still using that? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216868)

It's far from being a good format for treed data as well. It's enormously verbose, wasteful of keystrokes and hard to read. If you really want to represent tree structures, what's wrong with just typing out the AST -- hell, it worked for Lisp!

Re:XML People are still using that? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216984)

Sure XML is just a generic container format, but it's still very useful:

- Beats designing/implementing a custom format/API to manipulate every different type of text based data file
- Easy to extend XML-based schemas in backwards compatible way
- Cross platform
- Cross language
- Extensive tool support
- Supported by browsers (parser, xslt)

I agree that the standard parsers are crap - horrible APIs - so I did write my own, including a higher level table based API for reading/writing C/C++ data structures to/from XML. The high level API is very cool, though I say so myself... For example you can read a repeated nested XML structure into a std::list of C++ structures in a single line of code, using tables of initialized data (using some preprocessor and RTTI magic) to desribe the mapping. The same table also lets you go in the opposite direction and generate the XML from the C++ data structure. It supports arbitrarily nested combinations of C/C++ arrays/lists/vectors, structures and basic types (incl. std::string). Sadly I wrote this for the company I work for, so I can't open source it.

Re:XML People are still using that? (1)

hr.wien (986516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217590)

Sadly I wrote this for the company I work for, so I can't open source it.

No need [boost.org]

Re:XML People are still using that? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217940)

Nice library (Boost in general is amazing), but it does serve a different purpose. With the Boost library the XML format is dictated by the needs of the serialization archive, and is essentially a black box (one that you could modify, but only within the constraints of the archive representation requirements). My library OTOH is meant for reading/writing XML rather than serailization, and therefore gives you total control over the XML which in this case is very much not a constrained black box, but rather the directly controlled input/output of the library.

WTF? (1)

prince hal (583343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216594)

Man, it sounds both stupid and brilliant, which is to say "uselessly novel."

Nevertheless, I decided to sign up just to see what the fuss was about, but immediately I was told my email address, my perfectly-valid-been-using-it-for-years email address, was invalid. My guess is they have snippet of bad javascript regex code they use to "validate" email adresses, but they either nabbed it off the internet without bothering to see if it worked or they just don't know what they're doing.

Think I would trust them after they immediately screwed up something simple?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216698)

Sorry about that. Somebody made a mistake but it should now be fixed.

not an os (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216738)

It runs inside a browser, probably is a collection of javascript and dhtml script piles. It's not an OS. It's maybe an application suite, a framework, a collection of javascript application libraries, whatever, but it's not an OS. Putting the "internet" word before it doesn't help.

Re:not an os (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217102)

It runs inside a browser, probably is a collection of javascript and dhtml script piles. It's not an OS. It's maybe an application suite, a framework, a collection of javascript application libraries, whatever, but it's not an OS. Putting the "internet" word before it doesn't help.

Let's be fair to them. They may have implemented a virtual machine environment and produced an operating system that runs on it.

It doesn't sound likely to me, but if they have, this would count IMO as an operating system.

AffinityGO (2, Informative)

KeyThing (997755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216756)

A UK company, Oceanworks Ltd., already has a web based OS in place.... and even a freebie version... perhaps google should look at that company and buy them out.

Here's a link to their freebie one.

http://affinitygofree.com/ [affinitygofree.com]

Re:AffinityGO (1)

marrwinn (648923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216878)

"Sorry, your browser is currently unsupported.
Please change your browser to Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 or greater.
Your browser will now close.
Thank you."
Great software. Bah.

Re:AffinityGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217922)

IE only. That's hawt.

XML for OS configuration? (1)

l0b0 (803611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18216918)

Botherment, another web "OS". I was hoping someone had finally seen the light WRT storing OS settings in XML. That would make it easier to search for settings (no more 1000 files in 100 directories or a crappy registry editor), use non-ASCII characters (UTF rules) with only three escape characters, and avoid syntax errors.

Re:XML for OS configuration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217208)

like OS X's plists?

Software should be free (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18216968)

I love the fact they trademarked that phrase.

Sorry to be rude - but dictionary time (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217044)

This is supposed to be the site where we laugh smugly at people who use the word "internets" or who call an application in user space an operating system. What happened?

What's an OS? (1)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217082)

It's really not in my intention to troll, but has the definition of the term 'Operation System' changed recently? Have I been living under a rock?

This OS is just as much as Windows 3.1 was an OS - a graphical environment maybe, but not an OS as I still need Windows, Linux, MacOS or BeOS installed on my HDD to get on the web or to open a file.

Re:What's an OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217894)

It's really not in my intention to troll, but has the definition of the term 'Operation System' changed recently? Have I been living under a rock?

I've never heard of an Operation System either.

Real OSs have failed... (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217124)

The sad part about all those web based "OSs" is that they show that the real OSs pretty much completly failed to keep up with the demand of the users. Maintenance of a real OS has become such a huge issue that at least some people prefer to stick with a Javascript/DHTML hack of a thing that runs in a browser who never was build to be an operating system or run applications in the first place and the irony is that those apps indeed often run better, build in version tracking, easy group collaboration, fast search and other things often work out-of-the-box in those web OSs while they can be a huge pain to get up and running with a real OS and a real application.

Now of course a web OS can't replace the low-level stuff of real OS, the browser after all has to run on something but in terms of higher level functions, like GUI and such, web based OSs really do quite a good job, which really is sad, since a real OS should be able to do all those jobs a heck of a lot better, but they simply don't in practice. Real OS development has pretty much staled in the last ten years from a users point of view and everything that was broken back then still is (version tracking is non-existant, no proper undelete, manual save, no quick search, hard to clone a OS onto another machine, etc.).

Yes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217198)

Microsoft isn't going anywhere, unlike Linsux, which is going down faster than a flaming B-52

Its an OS? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217214)

Well, someone must have redefined what an OS is.

Violence (2)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217248)

This reminds me of somebody's .sig:

XML is like violence, if it doesn't solve the problem, just use more.

don't think so (3, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217278)

Xcerion is merely jumping onto the XML bandwagon and doing some nimble marketing around it.

In fact, we have an OS-independent XML-based layer, and it's called xulrunner (Firefox, Mozilla, and Thunderbird are popular applications written in it). It's getting a more powerful language with JIT support soon (ECMAScript 2.0).

Microsoft has already caught on an has been trying to develop their own, proprietary alternative, though they aren't as far along.

There are also some other attempts at this with slightly different perspectives on the same problem, like Konfabulator, Dashboard, Java, and .NET, but their success has been more limited in this area, although some of them have found other uses.

Two points (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217364)

As everyone's already pointed out, this is no more an operating system than it is a flight simulator.

Secondly, what does "XML-based" actually mean in this context? Last I checked, "XML-based" only makes sense when talking about documents or data. What does it mean for an "operating system" (or, more to the point, a web-based application framework) to be "XML-based"?

mod do2wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18217366)

Not even worth mentioning (3, Insightful)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217460)

I've been doing professional active content web developement since the late dot-bomb days. Looking at the site for 15 seconds tells me this is probably nothing other than a scheme to fool investors. The things people put out for 'the next big thing' when they discover that JavaScript is a PL and runs in every browser amazes me time and time again.

There are some points about RIAs one should learn as fast as possible to avoid wasting everybodys time:

1) JavaScript is nothing new. It's been around for something like 10 years. DTML/Push-Pull JavaScript/Ajax/[Fill in own buzzword of choice] is nothing new. Many people have tried it, many have given up and even the best in 'Ajax' have stepped down again from using it in anything but the most tried and true situations and use cases.

2) RIA is nothing new. Plugins are nothing new. There are entire landfills full of potential competitors to Flash and Java. Most of them failed. A few remain in niches where others can't reach. The only one I would care to mention is curl [curl.com] , and they are having a hard time and only manage by patiently working away at their tool for x-plattform RIAs.

3) The big boys Adobemedia / Sun / IBM and some promising others are currently involved in a giant hack & slay fest over the best and most prevailent rich client / server integration. Joining them with some obscure cross-funded project with bad buzzwords, a crappy website and nothing to deliver than something worse than the most half-assed Ajax kit is like showing up on a Knights tournament riding an aged donkey, armed with a cardboard kiddie helmet, a broomstick and a toothpick.

4) 'We will revolutionize ... blahblah ... the way people/the world thinks about computers/the web/whatever' is allway a dead giveaway that they don't know the troubles involved in building a good web product. There is no free lunch. Even with technologies around or around the corner like Laszlo, Adobes Flex (a Laszlo rippoff), Curl, Eclipse RIA, AMF, JSON/JDON, XUL/XUL Runner - all of which are basically free (all beer and mostly speech) and cream of the crop, building a working RIA that runs on every OS and doesn't bring your new 2 GB RAM Dual Core Turbo PC to a grinding halt is extremly hard work and a very tricky task with bucketloads of tradeoffs to evaluate. I do this every day, the possiblities are growing but the task itself isn't getting any easyer. And the pipedream of emulating a desktop in a browser has been implemented by many, and the best at it admit it's turned out more like a kind of experiment than anything usefull.

Bottom line:
This isn't news and it's not the bits worth it takes to transmit it. Move on. No one needs yet another bunch of silly goofs who try and tell the users/clients that they've discovered something new and everything will change if only you run with their buzzword ridden half-assed vision of an untested product that apes things others have finished years ago - and people don't know about for a reason.

Next step native XML processor (1)

Sam Legend (987900) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217576)

The next obvious step will of course be a XML-native processor !

Irony (3, Funny)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217764)

Their tagline is "Software should be free"

Which they've trademarked...

Web "OSes" are old news. (1)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217844)

I wrote this [ctho.ath.cx] years ago (requires trunk Gecko, e.g. Firefox 3 or SeaMonkey 1.5)... somebody else also did a much better looking one years ago here [sourceforge.net] . Granted, neither have very useful APIs...

I tried this (still am actually) (1)

Nappa48 (1041188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18217860)

Writing my own "OS" as they say.
Basically i wrote some stuff to manage files on my computer and make it alot easier to integrate files and the web.

Long-story short, i gave up due to not having much time the past few months.
And there was some issues of how to actually get it to update files automatically and so on
I'd need some program that automatically scans folders and so on...
I even tied it in with Auto Hotkey so i can pop-up menus that dealt with whatever file objects i clicked on (Photoshop with images, or paint, or whatever else and so on)

I'll probably get around to it again, or if this goes well, even use it.
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