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Web services to eliminate the OS?

  1. Apr 13, 2005 #1
    Hello there;

    A recent idea that some are talking about (a lot of slashdot), is that some software companies (ie, Google, Mozilla) will start to make what used to be applications become web services. For example, instead of loading MS Word on your PC, you would go to a website that has basically MS Word as a web-app, and you would save your documents there. It would all be through the browser. This is pretty similar to web-based email, in that it would just be web-based word processing.

    The problem with it is that you coudln't edit your documents without beign on the internet. So you'd have to download like a standalone version. But using XUL or whatever the **** is called that Firefox is coded in, it could be platform independent.

    The idea of this, of course, is to make the operating system irrelevant.

    If Google's GMail could setup an area to just store files in it or whatever, like a virtual hard drive, I would have no problem going to a web-app that is a clone of MS Word (the web-apps would have to have at least the same functionality) and doing my **** there and saving it onto my internet hd. It would mean I could access any document and edit it from anywhere in the world.

    Again there is problems for when you want to work offline, so saving local copies is a neccesary thing.

    Other examples of stuff like this is del.icio.us , which is a social bookmark manager, but the point is you keep your bookmarks there and you can acecss them from any website.. And they easily integrate into Firefox.

    And, I just saw this on http://slashdot.org today: http://sproutliner.com/ which seems to be something to help keep track of todo lists, etc.

    I dunno..

    What do yall think?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2005 #2
    So what is the proposed technology: keeping the word-processing or whatever application on the web server or loading it to the client browser? If it were the latter, it would take really, really much time to load and that's too bad.
    I see few advantages with making docs online except the idea of internet virtual storage. Processing and storing documents in my local computer remains the most optimal way ever, offering me convenience, performance, and last but not least security.
     
  4. Apr 13, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    I've heard of this, but I'm just not buying it (literally or figuratively). I want my programs on my hard drive because I want to be able to access them even if I'm not online. We're nowhere near the point where we have enough connectivity to justify having everything online. Not even the cell phone network has the kind of reliability/coverage required for this.
     
  5. Apr 13, 2005 #4
    So are you saying that if the connectivity were there you think it would be more feasible?

    We already have text editing stuff like Wiki's. It seems like most basic word processing functionality is pretty easy to implement. I mean, stuff like GMail's Rich Formating for entering text isn't too far off of what most people do in word processing.

    I totally see the need for privacy. Perhaps you would only opt to store certain files online, that you may need at some point somewhere else in the world.

    As far as connectivity goes, I'm getting pretty lucky lately. In the airports I've been in, we get to go to the President's club and they have free WiFi. You could of course sit outside their doors and leach it. Every hotel I've been in the past few trips (Puerto Rico, St. Maarten [Caribbean], Ohio, etc) has had either WiFi or free LAN-Internet. And there are those cell-phone PCMCIA cards to give you internet access on the cell network.

    Of course .. All that involves having your laptop, which would already have the word processing functionality and the files stored on it..

    But that one time when you don't have your laptop, if you just were at an internet terminal it would be nice to be able to access your stuff. Perhaps just automatically keeping copies of some things on the net, like in a personal FTP archive, or the likes of that.. ??

    BTW, I'm not saying I am for or against this, or that I really know much about it. I'm actually posting to find out more info, or get more ideas on it..
     
  6. Apr 13, 2005 #5

    Pengwuino

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    I think anything beyond basis word processing or email wont work. YOu cant load and run Half Life 2 like this lol. It also opens up a huge security problem. Companies wouldnt dare go for this idea lest they want all their customers information and all company information out on the internet.
     
  7. Apr 13, 2005 #6

    chroot

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    This is not even remotely a new idea. Such an application server is called a "mainframe," and the clients are called "terminals" (or "thin clients" in newspeak). There are some situations where this kind of configuration is advantageous, but such situations are rare.

    - Warren
     
  8. Apr 13, 2005 #7

    Pengwuino

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    Yah but werent they using very simplistic operating systems with simplistic tasks? Im sure you wouldnt want to ever load windows XP Pro off a mainframe and run half life or a video editing program off it..
     
  9. Apr 13, 2005 #8
    Yeah, but no one is talking about playing video games. They are talking about simple web-apps for editing documents and what not..
     
  10. Apr 14, 2005 #9
    Even editors and simple word-processors require processing capabilities in the client side to offer the WYSIWYG for viewing the formatted text, and other options as well. If everything is done by communicating with the server a lot of bandwidth is unnecessarily consumed not to mention the performance tradeoff.
     
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