The WebOS Market Review by Richard MacManus delves into the WebOS market, which is currently being played by small-timers like YouOS, eyeOS, XIN, etc. A WebOS is an OS on the Web that allows you to browse, eMail, chat, etc. Basically, the online counterpart of your desktop OS.
Ok. Stop. Let’s go back to that last one. Online counterpart of an OS? uhh, erm…
Hmm. Let’s try Wikipedia. Wikipedia defines WebOS as:
More generally, WebOS refers to a software platform that interacts with the user
through a web browser and does not depend on any particular local
What? Let’s go through this one more time, step-by-step:
I boot my desktop OS. I fire my desktop browser. I connect to the World Wide Web. I access the WebOS. I see my WebDesktop. Now what? I fire up my WebBrowser and access the Internet again?
Er, excuse me, but isn’t that where I am already? So, which one is my, ‘true’, definitive OS? The one I booted to fire the (desktop) Browser, or the one that I accessed on the web? Moreover, how would you access such an OS in the future, given this logical inconsistency?
When I put forth this question, AutomanG replied with the following:
One solution would be to have something, say…, linux embedded into a box that’s sole purpose is to fire up a browser and initiate a tunnel to a remote server (where your webOS of choice is located.) It would be a borderless browser so to you, it would look just like you booted a computer arriving at a desktop.
This sounds really weird! No offense meant, but I just want to explore this a bit further:
Currently, looking at the larger picture, we have three OSes in the Desktop Market. Windows, Linux and MacOS. With this proposal the intention to make Linux a standard (irrespective of whether all people want it or not). Or Windows or MacOS. Some OS which can be universally accepted and moulded as and when need be. Which inevitably brings us back to Linux.
Agree though, the argument that Automan provides makes some sense on some level. Okay, it doesn’t matter what boots the embedded browser as long as what they see on their screens is the same all throughout. Interesting point, I admit.
But again, then there are many options for WebOSes now. There will come a time when we will have to choose one of them as a standard, or maybe, define some standard specs for a WebOS. How do you do that, then?
And if you were to do it later, why not do it now for the desktop OSes? And if you intend to write embedded software to run the necessary hardware, it still is an OS!
I still can’t fathom the need for a WebOS. The ability to store data online, more than makes up for the inability to access my personal desktop everywhere. After all the applications that you intend to put on the Web will be run by their desktop counterparts. What is the point?
Ok, I guess, I oughtta stop. I sound almost desparate now!