I believe the future is the web, even to the extent that we’ll be putting all of our data, including the OS, up in the cloud and compute from there. eyeOS is one example of a possible implementation of this concept. As much as I’m behind cloud computing, I and many others agree we’re still far off and might never reach this utopia to the full.
‘Eye’ at the clipping from the official website:
First off, I haven’t yet taken the time to elaborate on the full technicalities of the actual server installation of eyeOS, so I can’t pitch in on how that works out. I’ve only chiefly played with the free server, which allows you to initiate your own eyeOS account. The idea of running a OS within and OS, more concretely in your browser could be chilling for some, so you’ve been warned.
When using the pre-configured free server over at eyeos.net getting started is a 2-step process. The only thing it requires is the desired username and password and you’re up and running. The simplicity is soothing to this point.
Design and user interface have been done in a simple but pleasing fashion and looks a lot like the Mac’s, which is generally a Nice Thing, yet rarely original. The sparing use of ‘eye’ candy makes the system snappy enough for real-time interaction. Windows move around swiftly, yet the system shows some inconsistencies when dealing with multiple instances.
Swift as it may be, whether this system would be eligible for use with low-speed connections is questionable.
(Any more Apple-esque design features, and I’d start to question the creativity of this project…)
Your basic toolkit
Booting to the ‘desktop’ (dare I say ‘webtop’?) takes less than a your average Joe can say “Holy baloney”. The blank workspace contains a shortcut to your home folder and the trashcan. Atop the screen sits a tiny launcher-like menu and contains a few commonly used applications. An enumeration of the
most noteworthy ones (the synchronous naming scheme is similar to Apple’s I-syndrome — really cracks me up):
- eyeFiles (X-files, anyone?): your basic file manager
- eyeDocs: a primitive word processor, contradictorily, it only manages to process ONE type of document
- eyeNav: a browser that browses, in your browser, go figure.
This brief list can be augmented with additional applications contributed by the community. Although many needs are met even with this small allotment of apps, functionality feels crippled somehow and road bumps make the trip a bit uneasy.
The file manager has adopted the XP-styled task-based sidebar to provide you with the common file operations, since the right-click thing hasn’t made it debut yet (version 1.1 ‘Dahlia’ — hmz, flowers).
All the usual suspects are present, like creating directories, deleting, renaming and copy-paste operations. I guess you could compare this thing to an online storage solution where you provide the disk space yourself. Services like Strongspace (paid) and Windows Live SkyDrive (free but limited) provide this functionality too, save the bells and whistles of an OS.
Drag-n-drop is lacking in the iteration, though, unless dragging an icon behind another one counts for deleting.