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You OS Web Based Operating System 223

Posted by CmdrTaco
Juergen writes "You OS comes from the MIT Labs and contains an email client, Chat Function, RSS Reader, and Text Editor. YouOS is a web operating system that lets you run diverse applications within a web browser. Small applications like sticky notes or clocks. Large applications like word processing, mp3 players, and instant messaging. Even better, it's very easy to tweak an existing application or write your own. "
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You OS Web Based Operating System

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  • Title? (Score:5, Funny)

    by porkThreeWays (895269) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:23AM (#15765811)
    From the title it looked like this was a bad "in soviet Russia" joke...
  • by cunina (986893)
    Well, breaking about two weeks after Slate had an article on it.
  • Great title (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eternauta3k (680157)
    "Your web browser text-based web browser"
    Viva la redundancy!
    Kidding, I know you os is it's name. I still don't see the point in it until there's an OS independant browser. Still, it's a step forward.
  • I will not bite! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:26AM (#15765819)
    While the idea is great, I will not bite in this case because my ISP places a limit on how much traffic can be allowed through my network interface with my current plan. Even though I can "upgrade", the costs are just prohibitive. Sorry, I will not bite.
    • As sad as it is. Windows is still more reliable than an internet connection. I can understand this as an in-house thing for secretaries or other people who don't need anything to be fast or can't handle anything too complex. So until my network connection is up with the reliability of my land line. Local apps for me only.
      • I have contracted Internet for several years now in the UK (at least 5 different providers since dialup until 8Mb broadband).

        I can really count with the fingers of one hand the times I have been left without Internet connectivity.

        In the other hand I have to reboot my office Windows machine at least once very week.

        As anecdotal as this is, I don'tthink it deviates much from the norm.

    • Not to mention if their server goes down, or out of business, or HIPAA, or any number of other things...

      Web based OS is like VRML, big on hype but short on practical implementations that are better than a traditional OS. Just my opinion.
    • by misleb (129952) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @03:05PM (#15766554)
      While the idea is great,


      Could someone please explain to me why this is a great idea? Besides the novelty. What place does YouOS have in a world where people (well, geeks, actually) debate endlessly about which desktop is the fastest/full featured/whatever? Certainly YouOS would fail to meet most anyone's criteria for a generally useful desktop.

      Come on people, this "web based OS" idea is stupid. Admit it. And it is not just because of fact that "Operating System" is a great misnomer in this case. From their FAQ:

      "Need to send or receive email or text/instant messages? We're working on providing full communication APIs."

      If that gets you excited, then I have a network stack written in BASIC to sell you. ANd it runs in a browser! Amazing, huh? Forget the fact that your current operating system already comes with a perfectly good network stack and running mine would be completely redundant and pointless.

      -matthew
      • Ever use an old computer to do something useful? Every want *your* OS on a live CD? Ever want to your own OS at a public computer? Keep thinking and the possibilities are there. I'm looking at it for something I can run on a central server (preferably that I control) and still get to my own setup easily. In that vein, it's a powerful idea.

        Also, similar to a thin client, ever want to not have to support your family/friends/not-even-working-with-you-coworkers ? Tell them to wipe their browser host OS then rei
        • Ever use an old computer to do something useful? Every want *your* OS on a live CD? Ever want to your own OS at a public computer? Keep thinking and the possibilities are there. I'm looking at it for something I can run on a central server (preferably that I control) and still get to my own setup easily. In that vein, it's a powerful idea.

          Couldn't you just install VNC on your home PC and use the Java applet client to access it whereever you go? That way you would hve EVERYTHING available to you from your

          • VNC - bandwidth issues, and this is largely what I do anyway currently. It's the potential I'm talking about, not what is best currently.

            The users who would be using this as a "thin client" approach to get tech support wouldn't know what a "shitty JS/HTML" app is if it hit them in the face. They just want to know if it works. Not to mention addressing the potential here, not the current state: shitty Java apps used to be the norm, but you've just suggested I use one in you VNC suggestion.
            • VNC - bandwidth issues, and this is largely what I do anyway currently. It's the potential I'm talking about, not what is best currently.

              Sure, but bandwidth is becoming less and less of an issue. We'll have better bandwidth long before we have web standards suitable for a usable "web desktop." Besides, I'd much rather have access to my real home desktop anyway vs. some lame browser based imitation of a desktop. And quite frankly, that is all WebOS is.

              The users who would be using this as a "thin client" appr

      • A web-based desktop system would be perfect for the Nintendo DS with the new Opera loaded.
      • I think, in all honesty, it is a great idea/alternative for situations where a WAN is deployted for workgroups. It would be a nice alternative for situations where a VPN, Remote Access, or other Terminal Services/VNC/Remote Desktop deployments are in use.

        With enough enhancement it would be a great way to "work at home" with a controlled environment.
  • It's not an OS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:27AM (#15765820)
    It's a bunch of applications. Yes, if you're Joe Sixpack, then that's what defines an OS, but it's not a real OS. I'm not sure what it's scheduling characteristics are, it probably doesn't have peripherals (or can you plugin your USB stick or camera?), I'm not sure it has swapping, etc...

    And is there an SDK around? If so, it'd sound like the ideal computing slave. SETI here goes... (ok, maybe it has resource quotas, which would actually make it an interesting project...)
    • Re:It's not an OS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpio- (986581) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:43AM (#15765850)
      I agree - this has been bugging me since I heard about "YouOS" ages ago. It's not an OS. I'd rather refer to it as an online desktop environment.
    • Re:It's not an OS (Score:2, Insightful)

      by modir (66559)
      People often complain that the term OS is not true. I agree, but what difference does it make to a user if he/she is running the applications (the desktop) inside a browser or inside a pcAnywhere session? Or in a corporation network where all applications are running on a server with citrix software?

      If those "web-OSs" would provide a good packaging system etc. then I see it as a competitor to Citrix.

      But as long as I can't run VMware in it the term operating system is wrong :)
    • VNC (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)
      I Totally agree with you, besides, if your connection can run this stuff, it surely can give you a decent quality for a VNC session back home.

      Having good web-based apps is greate, but only if you accept that it's a web app and so design it as such (Like gmail or google calendar). But if you try to emulate the look&feel of a classical desktop, you are screwed.

      I use a lot of webapps, I have gmail and gmail for your domain for my company's website, google calendar runs my life, Pandora takes care of my mus
    • It's a bunch of applications. Yes, if you're Joe Sixpack, then that's what defines an OS...

      Cut them some slack, it's not like YouOS is from MIT or anything!

      Oh, wait.

    • Re:It's not an OS (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dacarr (562277)
      I concur. It's like saying Gnome or KDE are operating systems.
    • Re:It's not an OS (Score:3, Informative)

      by misleb (129952)

      And is there an SDK around? If so, it'd sound like the ideal computing slave. SETI here goes... (ok, maybe it has resource quotas, which would actually make it an interesting project...)

      That might work, except that the applicaitons are not actually running on a server. They are running with javascript in your browser. They merely communicate with the server for data. You'd be using yoru own CPU... with the slowness of Javascript vs. compiled.

      -matthew

      • Slowness of javascript is right -- but let's attack it for its many other more serious flaws :)

        More seriously, YouOS is important for reasons that aren't necessarily apparent at first. The demo on the site and the interest in the project leads me to believe two things: 1) People want a simple open application development platform for the web and 2) We need NEW and BETTER web standards!

        Before I get flamed:

        There will always be a need for native code -- that is obvious. However, the need for truly cross-plat
        • Re:It's not an OS (Score:3, Insightful)

          by misleb (129952)

          Slowness of javascript is right -- but let's attack it for its many other more serious flaws :)

          I was specificly refering to slowness wrt to CPU bound applications such as SETI.

          More seriously, YouOS is important for reasons that aren't necessarily apparent at first. The demo on the site and the interest in the project leads me to believe two things: 1) People want a simple open application development platform for the web and 2) We need NEW and BETTER web standards!

          Why limit oneself to the web browser? W

          • I'm not suggesting we limit ourselves to the "web browser" that relies on a "on a stateless protocol". I was suggesting that as the needs of web users have changed, so NEW standards need to be developed -- this includes protocols, formats, languages, even the "application player" you mention (which, BTW, could easily be launched by a brower, inside a browser, or implemented as part of a native format). That is, it's time we begin to abandon the old web and start BUILDING the new web!

            We're goign to be put

            • I'm not suggesting we limit ourselves to the "web browser" that relies on a "on a stateless protocol". I was suggesting that as the needs of web users have changed, so NEW standards need to be developed -- this includes protocols, formats, languages, even the "application player" you mention (which, BTW, could easily be launched by a brower, inside a browser, or implemented as part of a native format). That is, it's time we begin to abandon the old web and start BUILDING the new web!

              If you are not attache

              • I give up -- you're incapable of understanding my point.

                1) I did not imply that internet=web (that was your random interpretation)
                2) I never said ajax was 'unique' (read the sentence again)
                3) 'look beyond the browser' is exactly what I'm doing!

                This isn't difficult -- I think you're arguing for the sake of arguing.

                • 1) I did not imply that internet=web (that was your random interpretation)

                  You did. Every sentences referenced teh "web" as if it IS the internet.

                  2) I never said ajax was 'unique' (read the sentence again)

                  And I never said you said AJAX was unique. I challenged the idea that "permission" to use AJAX has allowed people to make unique applications. What popular AJAX applicaiton out there couldn't be done with more traditional development styles? Sure, AJAX makes some things better and perhaps easier, but what i

          • What if someone came up with an open, client/server oriented application "player" that was cross platform? You know, something that DOESN'T rely on a stateless protocol which was originally designed to deliver documents and maybe process a form or two.

            You mean something like X11?
            • Yeah, something like X11, I suppose, but make the application run on the client and store the state on the server. Problem with X11 is that a server (I guess it would actually be the X client) could never support internet style loads. Also, there are problems with utilizing local resources like printers and files.

              -matthew
    • It makes me very sad your comment didn't begin with "It's a space station!"
    • Actually, it's not a collection of apps. It's a set of APIs that include I/O, a filesystem, application and file management, user permissions, resource monitoring, process control, sockets, message queueing and inter-component communication along with the UI stuff most people focus on when they first see it.

      It's implemented in high-level languages, and from a developer standpoint its "native" code is Javascript, but IMO it performs the services of an OS and has the interfaces of an OS, so I'm fine with call
  • How deep can it go? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AdamBomb8705 (966960) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#15765823)
    Upon seeing this, I immediately wondered whether the OS's web browser could run itself. I'm posting this comment from inside YouBrowser, which is running on YouOS inside of another YouBrowser inside of YouOS in Firefox. So looks like it's possible. I wonder how many levels you could go down...
  • EyeOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Randomskk (990494) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:32AM (#15765827) Homepage
    This is pretty similar to EyeOS ( http://eyeos.org/ [eyeos.org] ), which runs on any web server and lets you use apps (IM, RSS, web browser, games, etc) in it, change the background etc. I've got this running on my web server, and if nothing else it's great when I want to check the /. RSS while away from home :P
    • Perhaps they could merge the two and form the UI OS. Jef Raskin could help.
    • Since eyeOs takes 30 seconds [revis.co.uk] to install I can't see why any geek would want a hosted version. Running on your own webserver you have much greater protection in terms of who can and cannot see the data.

      Still, I can see how it would appeal to non-geeks away from home - and it's not much different to placing your trust in online mail, online shopping or online tax return services - all of which have a healthy take up and get a splodge of your personal data.
      • It's also worth noting that eyeOS supports Lemmings. But installing it isn't a good idea.

        On Noes!

        *kaboom*

        Apache terminated.
      • Still, I can see how it would appeal to non-geeks away from home - and it's not much different to placing your trust in online mail, online shopping or online tax return services - all of which have a healthy take up and get a splodge of your personal data.

        And what do people do away from home? Check email? Practially all mail services have a web based client these days. What else? IM? Try http://www.meebo.com/ [meebo.com] . And anyone with more elaborate needs will most likely have a notebook computer with them when

    • Re:EyeOS (Score:3, Informative)

      by jbarr (2233)
      EyeOS is quite cool, and yes, it is very easy to set up and host yourself, but YouOS also has a nice development screen that lets you easily create simple add-on applications. The YouOS users can easily generate new apps or tweak existing ones. Most apps currently are simple "Web site frames" while others are more complex. It'll be interesting to see just what new apps surface.

      To me, the really exciting aspect of YouOS is its persistance. Open apps, logout, login again (on the same a different PC ans your
  • Online mp3 player (Score:3, Informative)

    by cyp43r (945301) <cyp43r@gmail.com> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:39AM (#15765844)
    Wow, this is innovative. Oh yes, I'll just stream my music up and YouOS will stream back the sound. If you have any even moderate amounts of music, this is sort of ridiculous on a limit. If I play 14 CD's, that's my entire months limit gone almost (10GB). Unless, of course, it compresses it or plays at a low bitrate, which rather belies the point of having one. What's wrong with Winamp?
  • by lonesometrainer (138112) <vanlilNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:47AM (#15765863)
    Ever had that message with your local workstation?

    This is just another playground for the next gen. of Dot-Com-Companies, nothing serious.

    a.) web-applications rely on high-speed-always-on internet connections (I'll be in an airplane this afternoon, no text processing for me then?)

    b.) Will always offer less features and a bad UI compared to classical desktop applications, because restricted by web browser capablilites

    c.) are currently much harder to code than classical desktop apps (e.g. editable drop down boxes anyone? Easy thing in NetBeans/VS .NET, very tough in webapps or server-pushing information to the client, requires long-lasting GET requests filtered by many firewalls)

    d.) collaborative features are easily added to classical desktop apps

    Conclusion: less possibilities, harder to code (you'll always be tricking, hacking to get a nice effect), bad UI (restricted by browsers)

    The only competition to desktop apps I do currently see is MS XAML.

    Bye!
    • by LS (57954) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @11:59AM (#15766059) Homepage
      I believe that your points are flawed:

      a.) web-applications rely on high-speed-always-on internet connections (I'll be in an airplane this afternoon, no text processing for me then?)

      That may be the case now, but give a few years or so (3-7 years maybe), and high speed wireless internet will be ubiquitous. Also, the final forms of these applications will probably involve some kind a hybrid between desktop and web applications, with some kind of caching mechanism for when no connectivity is available.

      b.) Will always offer less features and a bad UI compared to classical desktop applications, because restricted by web browser capablilites

      Current browser companies/groups, standards organizations, and OS vendors are all well aware of the current browser's limitations and are working feverishly to create full-fledged networked baeed application frameworks. You can already see bits and pieces with XAML, XUL, SVG, AJAX, etc. Yes, we're not there yet, but it's inevitable.

      c.) are currently much harder to code than classical desktop apps (e.g. editable drop down boxes anyone? Easy thing in NetBeans/VS .NET, very tough in webapps or server-pushing information to the client, requires long-lasting GET requests filtered by many firewalls)

      long-lasting GET requests? I'm not sure what you are talking about here - is this something that is utilized with AJAX? Regarding the rest of this bulletpoint, see my response to (b). Also, I'm sure as web apps become more critical to businesses, firewall software as well as their admistrators' configuration preferences will adapt.

      d.) collaborative features are easily added to classical desktop apps

      You are kidding right? This is the big *advantage* of web-based apps. Have you tried using Google's spreadsheets yet? Contacting a user through g-mail and sharing the same spreadsheet... it doesn't get any more collaborative than that.

      LS
      • I love Google Spreadsheet...except one little thing.

        In Excel, I can "drag" a formula across multiple cells with my mouse. I can't seem to figure out how to do that in Google Spreadsheets. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone know how to do it?
      • That may be the case now, but give a few years or so (3-7 years maybe), and high speed wireless internet will be ubiquitous. Also, the final forms of these applications will probably involve some kind a hybrid between desktop and web applications, with some kind of caching mechanism for when no connectivity is available.

        Hybrid between desktop and web applications is just begging for security problems. The only reason the web is as secure as it is (and that isn't saying very much) is because the browser is

  • Not quite new, but (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotFamousYet (937650) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @10:50AM (#15765877)
    YouOS has been around for a while, and it's part of a growing trend of online desktops (I refuse to refer to them as "Online OSes", because they're simply a desktop page that launches programs, an alternative to Explorer at best).

    If you're interested in this area, check out also:
    FlyaKiteOSX [portraitofakite.com]
    the 30Boxes Webtop [30boxes.com]
    EyeOS [eyeos.org]
    Computadora [computadora.de] (in Spanish, even though .de ?)
    Goowy [goowy.com] (it's in Flash though)

    And of course, because this is Slashdot, I couldn't go without mentionning that Google is probably preparing their own [aymnetwork.com], since their recent focus on releasing equivalents of desktop applications online (Notes, Excel, Word, Calendar, Picasa, etc) :)
  • Three articles in a row about OSs, and none of them is Linux.

    Just saying. Could use more articles about the alternative OSs on weekdays. (Well, maybe not the Windows XP stuff.)
  • Uh-Oh (Score:2, Funny)

    by psema4 (966801)

    I have spent almost a year working on a project that is nearly identical to (if less mature than) YouOS. Atomic OS [sourceforge.net] is not as advanced as YouOS due to lack of hackers and poor timing.

    This is driving me nuts. I logged into /. went through the headlines, then posted an article about Atomic OS. When I got back to the developers headlines... Boom. YouOS.

    Aaaarghh!

    • OK, you've been modded funny, but I just looked at your Sourceforge page, and your project looks very cool.

      From what I see, you're definitely going to scratch one of my itches too. If I take a USB key drive into a client site and they have a locked down version of Windows (so no Cygwin), I desperately miss my *nix command line. Good luck with it, I'll be checking back now and again - assuming the scenario I've described will be possible when it matures a bit more.

      Bob
    • LOL. I saw a similar Javascript terminal app that ran in the browser and sorta simulated an actual unix OS, but I thought it was just a sort of joke. Did you really think that such an idea would actually be useful?

      Anyway, don't worry about YouOS. It'll fail.

      -matthew
  • You are using Safari 419.

    Warning:
    Your browser will most likely not work with YouOS. See our FAQ for more information on browser compatibility.

    -

    Tell you what, I'll stick to playing MP3s and doing WP locally then.
  • by dud83 (815304)
    I never can understand the reasons for the fantastic WebOS in this Web 2.0 era. Your computer needs an operating system to communicate with the hardware and to respond to events. Frankly, without an OS your computer is just a fancy bunch of IC's and wires. For using the internet sanely your computer has to be able to: communicate fully with TCP/IP, render graphics on your screen, respond to keyboard and mouse events... And this is just a short list, you could add lots more.
    And for a fully-fledge WebOS 2.0
  • 2x OS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @11:24AM (#15765966) Homepage
    So... to run this OS, I need an OS to run the browser I can run that OS in... Doesn't sound like overkill at all
    • Re:2x OS (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TrueJim (107565)
      I think the point is that in the future one might access YouOS from something other than a conventional PC, and yet still receive a PC-desktop-like experience. For example, you might access YouOS from some lightweight client (like a gaming console, a PSP-like handheld gaming device, a wireless PDA, a smartphone, a future iPod incarnation, etc.) and still obtain the same working environment that you have on your PC.

      Admittedly, the client will need blazingly fast processors and network connections, but presu
    • nx OS (Score:3, Funny)

      by wodelltech (168047)
      Yeah...I had the same thought. Then I launced bitybrowser (within YouOS) and surfed over to www.youos.com...
  • Operating System? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 23, 2006 @11:24AM (#15765967)
    When did we start confusing a desktop "shell" application and a handfull of basic functions with an "Operating System"?

    An operating system is the code that provides the operating environment in which these programs run; not the programs themselves; a layer between the hardware and the application programs that provides a uniform environment, manages resources, arbitrates contentions, provides synchronization primatives such as semaphores, schedules CPU utilization, etc. Its "users" are programs, not people; its user interfaces are APIs; not shells. Shells and other application programs provide what we traditionally think of as USER interfaces for interacting with humans.

    Along with the operating system one often finds a suite of shell programs (textual or GUI), basic applications and administrative programs to provide a user environment. These may be included in the operating system package, and are helpful or even essential in making the operating system usable but are not themselves the operating system or part of it.

    This important distinction seems to be lost on the likes of Microsoft. Perhaps as a result, this disturbing misconception seems to be spreading throughout the community.

    If the "You OS" involves somewhere an operating system, it lives on their server infrastructure and the users never see it.
  • Does that "You OS" have anything to do with "Windows Me"?
  • Here's the demo I experienced:

    ...Creating demo user...

    Too Many Users Online

    We're currently in alpha stage and are limiting the number of users who can login. There seem to be too many users already online at the moment.

    Please try again shortly.



  • let me be the first to say, "Up You OS!"
  • I liked the idea of YouOS, when it was called simple.com. Years ago when DHTML was in its infancy they were doing these 'fake OS' windowed interfaces.
  • I gave it a try, by far it's the best Web based desktop I've seen. It basically creates a GNOME like interface in your web browser.

    But I have to ask myself. WHY? My desktop already works. Why do I need this?
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @01:14PM (#15766257)
    A better web based OS could be made by allowing people to ssh into a computer running emacs. Then you'd have a full fledged OS, instead of a limited one like this. Plus, if you added vim, you would have a good text editor.
  • .. Amazon S3 as a backend,even for the website.
  • by Baloo Ursidae (29355) <dead@address.com> on Sunday July 23, 2006 @02:53PM (#15766519) Journal
    Is it really an OS if it requires a web browser? I don't know about you, but I expect my OS to do the simple things. Like boot. And manage devices.
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Sunday July 23, 2006 @03:07PM (#15766559)
    This is a great idea in the same way that Citrix, Terminal Server, and X in general is a good idea: you need next to nothing to run big, complex, perhaps very expensive software. This site doesn't have any of that, trying instead to replicate a typical desktop, but the idea is a great one and one I"m sure we'll see a lot more in the future. While X is defacto free but can't be run through a browser, Citrix and Termnial Server (both of which do have browser versions), cost a lot of money in liceneses, etc.

    Yes, technically it isn't an OS and it's performance isn't all that great, but they're not exactly promising anything; this makes for a good proof of conceptm and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody like SalesForce takes the idea and runs with it; I think we'll probably see *real* web-based desktops within ten years (where the apps are full enough featured and fast) and don't need activex or java.

  • As others have pointed out, without the ability to truly interact with the local hardware this is of limited usefulness as an actual "OS". But as has been demonstrated time and again with ActiveX, giving a remote machine that kind of access to a person's computer is rife with security problems - and that huge issue has yet to be solved (and may never be).
  • by el_jake (22335)
    It is complete nonsense to call this webpages a Operating System (OS). A more suitable term is WEBSHELL.
    You cant print from within a shell without an OS. Just like these Web shells or pages with dynamic web content..

    Remember when win 3.1 was called "OS"?? When it really was a shell on a Disk OS.

  • by nurb432 (527695)
    How is this an operating system? It looks like its a collection of web delivered applications to me.
  • does that mean i need a web OS and my desktop ? wow, that is certainly less complicated...
  • Most people have seen this coming for quite some time, but let's have a look at what this really seems to be (I cannot access it at the moment, due to to many users being logged in).

    Basically, AJAX and these "Operating Systems" have arisen from the browsers capability nudging towards that of a remote desktop client, or so it seems. The browser is still made to deliver HTML, remember that.

    What if someone made a much more powerfull client-side application that could do what the Javascript/DOM model does, but

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