Web Browser as the OS?

June 12, 2010 at 11:39 am (Cloud Computing, Evil, Free Software, Google, Linux, Open Web, Opensource, Personal, Programming, Rant, Technology)

This idea always struck me as kind of odd because no matter how you slice it the browser is not smart enough nor is meant to control the hardware etc. I like to think about it as though the actual windows are more intelligent, or connected. Sort of the same abstraction that is given by the X/Windows environment on Unix/Linux type systems. The browser application becomes the window manager in a way.

When the browser begins to handle such tasks as hardware and process management, it no longer is considered only a browser. It is an operating system running a single application, a web browser. The idea of the web operating system in it’s most real sense would be a WAN connected server taking over some tasks that our operating systems are handling locally now. Forgive me for feeling like this is taking a step back. I believe the ideal future will be very capable hardware on the client working in a more networked-by-design, distributed sense. There are certain tasks that I believe should not involve network latency etc. We already are dealing with applications being slow and ultimately using a great deal of resources. The only difference will be taking the latency from the local bus of the PC and transferring it to the network. That doesn’t fix anything, or move us ahead technologically. What happens is that someone gets to monetize everything about our communications, even more then is happening now. I believe there are applications that are better left handling things locally. Not to mention with most “free” web applications there is someone monetizing your personal data without you being aware. Even if you do not store your data on their servers, your keystrokes and network communications etc are mined, without your permission in most cases. I know the the 5 page license mentioned that they will be mining your data and communications “to better serve the customers needs”, but most users would not agree to half of the license agreements that they unknowingly agree to by clicking through windows to get to their work. You know how it is, check here, click here to start using etc.

Please people think about the ramifications. There is a reason we moved from mainframe type computing to local processing and storage. I like the idea of all homes running their own servers with their data and such. Now the business model changes but there are still ways of taking the complexity away from the common users. With so much added complexity with servers and the like being at user’s homes, there would be a need for subscription support services and the like. Which could be handled remotely, not adding distraction or inconvenience to the customer’s experience.

Linux would be a perfect fit for such a scenario.

While I am on the subject of web operating systems. The fact that Google takes advantage of the fact that users must pay for Windows or other proprietary operating systems makers but can use ChromeOS for free is a bit disingenuous. You are paying for it just not when you buy your PC or when you buy the CD from Best Buy. If things go the way Google likes you no longer need Windows Mac or anything else. Just a dumb terminal connected to Google’s non-evil monopoly. They want to give you your phone, your OS, your office applications, your email application, your navigation/GPS device application. Is there anything I’m leaving out. Think about the power that comes from that level of integration. Everything about you, where you are at any given time, all your personal information, your communications, likes, dislikes, secrets etc, stored on Google’s servers. Welcome to cloud computing.

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