WebOS products for quite some time. I first reviewed one of their number, EyeOS, in August 2006. Recent WebOS reviews I've done on Read/WriteWeb include DesktopOnDemand and Blake Ross of Firefox fame's Parakey. Also Emre Sokullu wrote a popular article on the still mythical GoogleOS, last November.I've had a thing for
eyeOS hails from Spain and was one of the early entries into a market that, as yet, has little evidence of profitability. However eyeOS now boasts 120,518 users (compared to 53,500 in August 2006), so it is ramping up well.
To remind you again, a WebOS is basically a browser-based virtual desktop - allowing you to have a 'desktop' environment that you can access anywhere via a browser - i.e. it isn't hosted on your computer, like Windows, MacOS or Linux are. There has been controversy about the term, because many tech purists say that you can't have an Operating System in a browser - that by definition it is on the computer. Also some people can't see the point of a WebOS. Nevertheless, the term WebOS has largely stuck and there are a lot of (mostly European) startups pushing forward in their dreams of creating one.
Changes in eyeOS 1.0
Back in August, Eduardo Perez Orue of eyeOS told me that their product was used by basically three types of people - for reasons ranging from word processing between home and office, to file sharing, to game-playing. The 3 types of users are:
- People who download the code and use it in their own server.
- People who use the miniserver (a small windows-only program that installs apache, php and eyeOS in your PC, so you can run it locally).
- The users at the Public Server at http://eyeOS.info. These are people who (like me) simply want to sign up for an eyeOS account and start using the product.
Since August eyeOS has been completely rewritten and redesigned; however eyeOS is still an Open Source project, under the GPL license. Eduardo told Read/WriteWeb today that "the importance of eyeOS 1.0 isn't in its look or in its apps, but in its core." He says they "designed it as a normal operating system, running over a microkernel, which loads services (such as virtual filesystem, global security, graphics/screen shows...) and libraries (such as support for XML, ZIP, TAR, widgets for making apps...)." The statement that eyeOS is like "a normal operating system" is sure to get under the noses of the OS purists out there, but I find it admirable that eyeOS is aiming to be a real OS and hence development platform - and not just a virtual desktop for apps such as word processing (although that it is part of it).
Eduardo told R/WW that "we've created a full toolkit to develop apps on", calling it "a new way of creating internet applications" - i.e. rich web apps fully based on ajax, and with "great control over their security and management with the eyeOS core." Indeed everything, says Eduardo, is made through the eyeOS Toolkit. Developers only need to join app "widgets" together and create funcitons for them - "eyeOS will do the rest."
eyeOS in action
Here is the screen you're confronted with when you first enter eyeOS:
The top menu looks like this (below image shows state when the "Office" icon selected):
Unfortunately my test drive tonight didn't get much further, as I ran into a problem with the test environment I was using (note this was prior to go-live). I'm sure this has been resolved in the live version, which went up just minutes ago.
eyeOS is making great progress and it seems to offer a compelling development platform for apps builders. It may even make the WebOS doubting Thomases think again! Check out eyeOS 1.0 and let us know what you think in the comments below.