My first account with YouOS, a MIT project on the future of OS being web-based was about 6 months back. I signed for curiosity and forgot about it quite soon. The OS an alpha build has various apps such as a text editor, RSS reader, email client, lots of other community developed apps. The support seems interesting and everyone is welcome to write apps for it.
I recently revisited the concept and had to set up a new account (forgot old username/password) and decided to explore further and bring you a few shots. Applications:
Changing wallpaper (right-click on YouOS desktop):
The main advantages:
1. They are cheaper (annual subscription fee) than buying a stand alone for your PC software
2. You can access your desktop, apps and files from any where in the world as long as there is access to the Internet.
The main disadvantages:
1. If the web server is down, you are out!
2. The web-based app may not be as fast or as robust as your desktop app
If you really want to view the YouOS as proper desktop than you need to use the -k IE switch, a tip submitted by a user at the YouOS blog:
1. Right-click your desktop and Select New. Select Shortcut and click it.
2. Enter in the Location Field C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE -k http://www.youos.com/ and click Next.
3. Give your shortcut a name and click Finish.
4. Double-click the shortcut and Internet Explorer will open as a kiosk screen.
The future being on the web, is a vision being shared by many especially Google which is developing various web based app and an MS Office alternative. There are already other web-based word processors and spreadsheets available to users now for a fee but none have been a run away success so far.
The future as some see it is having just a display, keyboard and mouse (unless these are obsolete too) with internet connection. You log-in to your desktop, the web server is your processor, your RAM and your hard disk. Your files, music, photos every thing on it. You buy and install apps online to your desktop/system.
Why? Well, to reduce system costs. You don’t have buy any motherboard, processor, RAM, hard disk, graphics cards, sound card, optical devices. Just sign-up with may be http://www.windowsonline.com or http://www.GoOS.com (Google OS may be?) or http://www.mylinux.com and pay an annual fee to get your OS and desktop.
But that still does not remove the concept of a local OS, there still has to be some kind of an OS that just runs the browser on your display, supports peripherals and networking standards for communication, and this could be embedded in an EEPROM inside the display.
No one’s going to dump their desktop for YouOS but it seems that the future is headed that way, or may be not. Time will tell.
But I do find the project interesting and fun, and if it catches up, you can at least boast that you were part of the early adopters.