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friday :: july 28, 2006
YouOS, web operating system

There is a glaring weakness to all traditional operating systems. They are, at the root, designed to run on one computer. Extensions like NFS and remote desktop alleviate this weakness to some extent, but they do nothing to enable collaboration on a larger scale between users on different computers. Imagine what you could do if every one in the world could work and play on the same "virtual computer".

Enter the web - what hasn't been said about the web's ability to allow people to share, connect, and collaborate? The web is already halfway there to the virtual computer idea.

YouOS strives to bring the web and traditional operating systems together to form a shared virtual computer. To you, it's one giant computer that you and your friends can work on. To us, it's all the servers, routers, software, bandwidth, and engineers to keep this grand experiment in collaborative computing running.

YouOS and its applications run entirely within a web browser, but have the look and feel of desktop applications. An application's code and data reside remotely but are executed and modified locally. This model allows for a great deal of freedom. You can edit a document at home in a text editor and then go to school or work and instantly access the same text editor and document.

It's a liberation. Software is no longer tied down to one computer.

In fact, you don't really even need to own a computer; you just need to borrow one on occasion. Working out of internet cafes or libraries? Your desktop, applications, and data travel with you from cafe to cafe, session to session. And tedious things like data backups and archiving? We'll take care of them for you.

Let's dwell on this concept of liberation. YouOS is a shared computer that houses your data and applications, but you are the owner of this data and applications. If you wish to export, backup, or completely erase your property, we will provide the means to do this. We do not ground you. You are free, as the old saying goes, to come and go as you please.

Application development should be easy. Tweaking an existing app to suit your needs should be trivial. Tinkering, experimenting, and learning should be central. At the same time, users should be able to develop the next great spreadsheet application. YouOS strives for the best of both worlds.

To this end, we've made app development and management central to YouOS. It's baked right into the system. Anyone can click on the "develop apps" button and start coding or tweaking away. Developing apps requires a knowledge of html and javascript, and that's it. If that's not good enough, we're looking into making even simpler languages users can work in.

Need to tweak an app slightly to fit your needs? Pick that app and clone it. You now have your very own copy to modify as you wish.

YouOS was born as a result of the following questions we asked ourselves:

* Wouldn't it be sweet if open source development was more like a multiplayer game, complete with rankings and all?
* What are the implications of being able to share windows through a buddy list when we're working?
* Is it even possible to build an OS that is built on sharing from the ground up? Like Kindergarten?
* What if the OS itself was the community? Discuss.

Started on the idea of collaboration, YouOS is an experiment to incorporate it from the ground up. Don't be scared off by the word "experiment", and know that we will keep your data safe. What we really mean is that YouOS is an evolving answer to these questions, and your answer is as good as ours. We're nowhere close to our grand vision yet, but day by day, user by user, we're getting there. >from *YouOS site*.

related context
democracy: the free and open source internet tv platform. march 17, 2006
> ourmedia: do-it-yourself media. march 25, 2005
> flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing. march 19, 2004
> skype: p2p telephony. october 29, 2003
> wiki wiki: communicating asynchronously across the net. july 9, 2002
> weblog, a new flow of information. may 15, 2002

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