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A Free XML-Based Operating System 175

Posted by Zonk
from the xml-versus-adam-oh-forget-it dept.
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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A Free XML-Based Operating System

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  • Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:40AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BruceCage (882117) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:01AM (#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!
      • by doti (966971)
        You can add multiple tags, separated with commas (I think spaces also work).
      • Re:Stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Speed Pour (1051122) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:18AM (#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: (Score:1, Troll)

          by harry666t (1062422)
          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 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:30AM (#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.
            • by causality (777677)

              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.

              He probably wasn't saying that the unix shell is any mo

    • -- I don't see any of these mentioned in the comments, aren't they important anymore?
      My documents on someone else's computer.

      My documents at the mercy of someone else's employee.

      No Physical Security.

      Didn't pay your data rent this month? No resume for you!

      "Sorry we had an employee who was acting badly, he sold your
      'checkbook database' to the highest bidder"
    • 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.

      There's a 'trend' running amock that inflicts people with this odd kind of insanity. Apparently they want a Visio like UI to build networks and virtual farms with.

      Anything that gets released that helps keep track of containers with meaningful text descriptors in containers that hav

  • by iBod (534920) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:41AM (#18216424)
    By TA's own admission, it's not an OS, just an abstraction layer on top of a real OS.
    • by CSLarsen (961164) * on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:07AM (#18216494) Homepage
      No, it's an OS on top of an OS (your webbrowser) on top of an OS (your uhm OS).
      • 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?
        • by kv9 (697238)

          >> 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?

          emacs runs them all?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dosius (230542)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lorkki (863577)
      The Xcerion web site nevertheless refers to it as an "Internet OS". I suppose "application framework" is passé as a buzzword now.
    • by julesh (229690) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:47AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmotula (663798) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:41AM (#18216426) Homepage
    "Is it absurd to think this poses a threat to Google and Microsoft?"

    Yes.
    • by vtcodger (957785) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:18AM (#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.

      • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle AT hotmail DOT com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:42AM (#18217454) Homepage

        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.
        • by spasm (79260)
          "it represents an integrated, comprehensive application environment for our students to embrace from home, campus, or the Australian outback."

          I visited my parents recently. They live in the Australia outback. Their internet connection was 33k dialup, and that's all that was commercially available to them. Believe me, even checking a gmail account was slow and painful, let alone writing replies in an environment where you lose everything if the connection dropped (which it did with annoying regularity).
      • But then, it's not that long ago that Google was just two guys doodling on scrap paper.
        ...after which they came out with a very useful and innovative search engine, which people needed and therefore use. Not an "OS" on top of a browser on top of an OS, which is just about the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.

        Don't people use C anymore?
  • by hey (83763) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:46AM (#18216438) Journal
    The command line is very friendly:

    <command><command-name>grep</command-name><args><a rg>stuff</arg><arg>*</arg></args></command>
    • Bad XML (Score:5, Informative)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:25AM (#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.
      • by cibyr (898667)
        Your isn't closed :P
      • by smcdow (114828)

        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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by thogard (43403)
          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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bogomipz (807251)

        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]

      • by Goaway (82658)
        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 e
        • 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: (Score:1, Troll)

      by value_added (719364)
      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 dismis

  • Ahhh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:48AM (#18216444)
    If XML doesn't solve the problem, use more XML.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:48AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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]
      • I believe all the validation errors on the Google front page are there on purpose. It lacks some elements that are required by the spec but aren't necessary in practice. It uses unencoded ampersands to save a few bytes.

        It seems to me like the front page is the minimal amount of bytes that will make the page render correctly in all major browsers, without any regard for standards compliance.
    • I just glanced at their homepage and just about puked. I'm making a list:

      • Claims to be XML, but doesn't validate.
      • Uses AJAX to render the homepage, for no good reason -- apparently just to keep their little Flash animation from reloading.
      • Has a chunk of Flash to display their logo, for no good reason.
      • Trademarked "Software should be free," or claimed to. Bonus is they seem to be talking about price, but are hijacking a software libre term.
      • Background is a picture of a forest... that's obviously some sort o
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:53AM (#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
    • by beelsebob (529313) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:42AM (#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.
      • by mgiuca (1040724)
        Doesn't render correctly (no scrollbars, and weird nested frames which makes me think a link targeted the wrong frame or something) on Firefox either (at least, FF 1.5).

        So maybe this is an "operating system that runs on any computer (that runs Internet Explorer (that runs Microsoft Windows))".
    • by vtcodger (957785) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:54AM (#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.

      • by Ant P. (974313)
        Have you looked at the HTML code on Google's front page? It's not built to be valid, it's built to load fast.
        • by vtcodger (957785)
          ***Have you looked at the HTML code on Google's front page? It's not built to be valid, it's built to load fast.Have you looked at the HTML code on Google's front page? It's not built to be valid, it's built to load fast.***

          Not faulting Google. Fact is their web page is minimal and they deliver a usable search page on every browser, I've ever tried which is no small accomplishment. However, I'm not sure whether they understand standards but think other things are more important -- or whether they just h

    • by BigLug (411125)
      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.
  • by NekoXP (67564) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:53AM (#18216456) Homepage
    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?
    • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:10AM (#18216500) Homepage Journal
      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.....
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        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.
      • by l3v1 (787564)
        and that browser could be Firefox. Or OSX/Safari, or Suse/Konqueror, or.....

        Not until their own webpage fails the validation checks.

      • by NekoXP (67564)
        Who cares what OS you run it on? Microsoft won't be unseated by an XML "OS" like this. If they could be, then nobody would bother running Ubuntu, or OS X or SuSE either. Google won't be usurped.. because their main asset is a great search engine, then their mail and maps services.. all basically for locating information. Will Google suddenly die because you can use a word processor based in Javascript and XML? I doubt that.
  • by broothal (186066) <christian@fabel.dk> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:56AM (#18216458) Homepage Journal
    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?
    • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:13AM (#18216508) Homepage Journal
      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.
      • Balls! (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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**
  • 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 (Score:3, Funny)

    by ZX3 Junglist (643835) <ZX3Junglist @ h o t mail.com> on Saturday March 03, 2007 @06:59AM (#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 (Score:5, Funny)

    by falzer (224563) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:17AM (#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!
    • 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.
    • by zobier (585066)
      It seems to have changed to "Every computer is my computer(TM)" -- that totally doesn't not suck.
  • 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 stumbl
  • by pfortuny (857713) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @07:26AM (#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?
    • by hey! (33014)
      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
    • You laugh but TeX was almost the base language of the web instead of HTML. Apparently Tim Berners Lee used SGML for document typesetting unaware that the rest of the field he was developing the web for (particle physics) used LaTeX until it was too late to change....or at least that's a story I heard at CERN once.
      • More's the pity. We still don't have a good framework for typesetting mathematical formulas in HTML. I'm really beginning to dislike this Berners-Lee character.
  • 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
    • by beelsebob (529313)
      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!
    • 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
      • With the exception of supported by browsers (which not all browsers support) Comma Separated Values, with label row seem to meet all the criteria. The only reason for the browser support was when these browsers were being made everyone was saying XML is the next big thing that suppose to revolutionalize the world, so they but it in there. Al though if you are going to use a web browser to parse threw XML I can only see very small cases where that would be handy.
        • There are many different types of DIY nested tag-value formats that are functionally equivalent to XML, but you do need nesting and tag-value so as to be able to represent arbitrarily structured data... Comma separated files is just a flat file format - no structure.
          • Words in Quotes " " are strings, words without quotes are variant, The first line is the name of the field. That is the standard methodology, for CSV. Granted it is a bit more primitive then XML but it still works, and it is easier to program and parse then XML. You can more easily sort it by fields and sorted data you can search a lot faster. It is not that XML doesn't have its place but for most cases going with XML is overkill
    • XML People are still using that?

      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....

      Oddly enough I have never found an XML Parser that I am happy with either...

      XML usage is increasing remarkably.

      I myself am very happy with Firefox, which is built on XUL, which is the XML User Interface Language and does a really nice job of parsing XUL. I'm also quite happy with many of the XUL extensions to Firefox. I expect to be writing some frontends for customized web stuff in XUL by the end of the year (currently in the process of migrating from the MS world to Linux (WinXP to Kubuntu— very slick!))

    • Granted it handles treed information much better then the previous types

      How To Tell Someone Hasn't Seen Lisp, Lesson #1.

      • LISP is a language not a a Data storage format. While I guess you can save the data as a Lisp code, and run it. But the point of XML is to make it a bit more human readable.
  • 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.

    • by julesh (229690)
      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.
      • by NoMaster (142776)

        Let's be fair to them. They may have implemented a virtual machine environment and produced an operating system that runs on it.
        True. Too many people underestimate the power of JavaScript...

  • AffinityGO (Score:2, Informative)

    by KeyThing (997755)
    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]
    • by marrwinn (648923)

      "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.
  • 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.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @09:29AM (#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?
    • Parent post and a lot of other comments are taking this "OS" thing much too literally.

      When my OS calls a chunk of static ram on a USB port a hard drive, that's a good thing. When I can tell my OS to treat a file as if it were a printing device, that's a good thing. When I can redirect output from a perl filter to either a file or the screen or the printer or a serial output device, then that's a good thing. When I can have my OS host another OS in a virtual machine, that's a good thing.

      Virtualization is a good thing. Having a virtual OS running within a browser is conceptually little different from using any of the established VMs.

  • 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.
  • 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 s
  • Well, someone must have redefined what an OS is.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Well, someone must have redefined what an OS is.

      After the MS court case it's new meaning is anything that could in theory run Netscape Navigator but doesn't.

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:05AM (#18217248) Homepage
    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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:10AM (#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.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @10:43AM (#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.
  • Irony (Score:4, Funny)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Saturday March 03, 2007 @11:32AM (#18217764) Homepage Journal

    Their tagline is "Software should be free"

    Which they've trademarked...

  • This sounds like a shell to me. You can use a browser as a shell. That's essentially what MS did when it incorporated IE into the OS. At least, they re-use a lot of browser components. It's probably trivial to write a shell for Windows that uses IE itself. Haven't Gnome and others done similar browser-based shells?

    Anyway, I'm usually not into pedantry, but these people really need to learn the difference between an OS and a shell. An OS, among other things, provides a layer between hardware and soft

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