Online Operating Systems – Moving towards Hard Disk free computers?

A few days back, while browsing the net, I came across an ZNet article on StartForce, an online operating system. Though I have heard of such online desktops before, this time I decided to make a post on it. A quick search on Google led me to several such venture including Open Source versions too. Below are some of the services that I liked the most. I also posting the demo login details so that you can also checkout these online desktops. I recommend you to view these services in full screen (Press F11).

Demo account details are provided with each  service. Since the details are public, please do not upload sensitive files and details. Also, since the accounts are accessed and customized by many people, I recommend you to create your own account and try out these program.

This is the first online desktop that I visited. The service provides each user 1 GB space for storing your documents and files. The desktop and OS looked very much similar to Windows XP. There are web browser, web messenger, image viewer,  audio and video players, feed reader, text editor, office document editors, PDF viewer and games like chess available within your account. StartForce uses Zoho Office Suite for viewing and editing Office documents. There are many desktop themes and screensavers available in the desktop settings section. The interface, especially opening and dragging windows, was a little slow.
Read a more detailed review of StartForce at Arun’s blog.

Demo Login :
Username – demo
Password – demo

YouOS is another online desktop which won the seventh position in PC Magazine’s 20 most innovative products of 2007 award. The GUI of YouOS was very fast but was not as advanced or attractive as StartForce. YouOS is more or less similar to Linux. There is also a terminal shell application called YouShell. The number of applications available by default is also limited, compared to StartForce. But unlike StartForce, YouOS contains an Add / Remove apps option to install / uninstall programs. The client JavaScript code of YouOS is OpenSource and is available under a modified BSD license. YouOS is still is alpha stage.
Read a more detailed YouOS review at Pete’s blog.
Demo Login

Glide OS
Glide OS is a fully Adobe Flash based operating system and requires Flash 9 support, while YouOS and StartForce are Ajax based. Glide provides both free accounts (2 GB space & up to 4 Users) and premium accounts (10 GB space & up to 24 Users). The premium account costs $4.95 per month ($49.5 annually). In addition to the Desktop version, Glide also provides a mobile version of the account. Actually, GlideOs is very much different from a Desktop Operating System in look and feel. Glide allows opening and editing your Microsoft Office Word documents from your iPhone. GlideOS is Windows, Mac and Linux compatible.
Read more about Glide Os at TMCnet.

Demo Login :
Username – demouser
Password – demopass

Online Operating System
Online Operating System is also a Windows based operating system. Infact, when the Window XP theme was loaded, it was exactly similar to the Desktop OS. The number of applications available is less compared to Startforce. Some of the available programs are Web Browser, text editor, PDF Viewer, The first time loading of the different applications are very slow. But from the second time onwards, they load very quickly. OOS provides 10 MB space which is increased to 1 GB on verification of email address used. OOS also provides web publishing for your personal homepage and photo album at http://<username> OOS made my browser crash twice.
Demo Login :
Username – demo
Password – demo

There are several others too. I will post about them later. Now document editing has also gone online with programs like Google Docs and Spreadsheets that allows online collaborative editing of documents. Recently Adobe created an application called Adobe Premiere Express for YouTube Remixer, an online application for editing and adding transitions and other effects to videos. The program is nearly identical to Photobucket’s Remix tool.  There are also several online PDF editors, image editors(1, 2, 3) and audio / video players available.

For developers, moving from desktop edition to online edition has an extra advantage that software piracy and illegal distribution of their products will be no longer possible. For end users, the advantage is that they no longer need systems with very large processing power since the actual processing will be done at the server.

Now the big question is, are we moving to a new era where computers require more RAM and less hard disk space and the only program required is a web browser for accessing the service? A new world where software licensing is replaced by subscription services?

Categorized as Review

By Joyce

I am a co-founder and director of Ennexa Technologies. To know more about me, visit my about page. You can find a list of websites maintained by our company at the links page.


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