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Web-Based "Cloud OS" Aims for App Developers and Users

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While the idea of an Internet-based operating system has already been explored through offerings such as YouOS and EyeOS , Xcerion, a small Swedish company, is taking an ambitious new approach to the idea. The company’s XML Internet Operating System/3 Beta (XIOS/3) is best described as a “Cloud OS” and Web 2.0 service. I’ve been testing it on a Windows machine, loading XIOS/3 in Internet Explorer (you can’t yet load it in Firefox), and it generally looks promising.

XIOS/3 has many of the properties of an operating system (though strictly speaking it is more of a Web-hosted environment), and is targeted at online application development, collaboration, and sharing of free applications. It is XML-based, and uses AJAX to connect to back-end servers. If application developers begin to collaborate using it, it could become a promising new open-source platform and a flexible way for web workers to get jobs done.

XIOS/3’s desktop looks very much like the desktop that a Windows user is familiar with, complete with a sidebar on the right that resembles Google Sidebar (a clock, a weather widget, etc.), and tabs along the left that take you to programs you can run in the environment, a search engine, an XML editor for working with applications, and more.

Xcerion is backed financially by former Microsoft executives, and reports have already surfaced that XIOS/3 may begin to compete with Google and Microsoft in delivering numerous types of Web applications and services. For the time being, I see it as more of a Web 2.0 service that allows for collaboration on sophisticated online applications and sharing of those applications. It’s also in a limited beta version right now, so you need to apply to test the beta.

XIOS/3 allows you to do work offline and then automatically synch the work up with your data and applications when you go online. If I open up, say, a simple cash flow application and start changing values in the underlying data, then I go open another browser, my changes to the data will be reflected in the view in the second browser. In this way, web workers could easily collaborate on transaction-based, database-centric applications.

XIOS/3 also allows you to save data on your own hard drives, if you wish, or it can be stored online. Also, applications execute locally, so XIOS/3 is faster to use than some of the other Internet-based operating system offerings. It also has a very clean and easy XML editor.

To a large extent, the success of XIOS/3 will depend on coders building and sharing applications with it—just as standard operating systems have always depended on developers for success. You can find many screenshots of XIOS/3 and forthcoming applications at Xcerion’s home page. There is also a video demo and other information at the company’s blog.

The business model is to offer XIOS/3 and applications for it for free. In my own use, I found it stable, intuitive and good for collaborative application development. But what Excerion absolutely needs next, as is true in the Linux world and throughout the open-source arena, is enthusiastic developers.

Would you consider using a collaborative, browser-based spin on an operating system? Have you used any of the other Web-based OS offerings?

9 Responses to “Web-Based "Cloud OS" Aims for App Developers and Users”

  1. Great post!

    Definitely agree that, if we look outside the box a little bit we might find Web OS great usage around with just as great benefits.

    Not to mention that follows the whole Cloud Computing advantages.


  2. RE: user experience –

    If you would use more than 1 computer such as students, travelers or people who cannot afford buying a computer and have to go to cafes for surfing, you would want the same desktop or virtual computer that will keep your pictures, videos, documents, bookmarks etc.

    Same goes for those who don’t want administering (backing up, updating, reinstalling, upgrading, repairing) their home computer.

    BTW, (cool but not very polished GUI, many services) and (slick GUI with only a few services :-( ) seem to me better solutions provide a better than the three the author mentions.

  3. Peter Lambert

    “The business model is to offer XIOS/3 and applications for it for free.”

    Is that a business model?

    There are about 25 web desktops under development, and yet no-one knows what to do with them. No strong use cases, no business models, no user experience that hasn’t been around for 20 years.