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Red Hat Software Businesses Software Linux

Red Hat Develops Online Desktop 119

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hope-your-isp-is-reliable dept.
pete314 writes "Red Hat announced this week at their San Diego Red Hat Summit that they are planning to compete with Microsoft on the desktop by building an 'online desktop' that will integrate local data with online services. Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens argued that: 'To user the desktop metaphor is dead. We don't believe that recreating a Windows paradigm in an open source model will do anything to advance the productivity in the life of users.'"
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Red Hat Develops Online Desktop

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  • by jaavaaguru (261551) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:29PM (#19055311) Homepage
    Are they really competing with Microsoft at this point? As far as I can see Google offer replacements for an increasing amount of desktop software at the moment (Word processor, Spreadsheet, Email, Calendar, Photo management, IM, and various browser integrations such as their note-taking plugin for Firefox. That's a bit more than Microsoft has to offer at the moment.
    • Sounds more like they're competing with Apple. Which is indirectly competing with MS/G.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smilindog2000 (907665)
        I think it's nonsense for RedHat to say that the Windows desktop is dead. RedHat has always gone after the business server and workstation markets, and have done a great job taking down Sun while avoiding pissing off M$. The whole reason that Ubuntu has so much momentum is how they've made the desktop familiar and easy to use, and less buggy. RedHat could still hammer Ubuntu if they'd just ship a desktop focused OS and stop claiming that M$ is doing it all wrong.
        • by Xtravar (725372)
          This is a little off-topic, but could someone please explain to me this fascination and momentum behind Ubuntu? Mandrake/Mandriva has always been extremely user friendly... I dare say more so than Ubuntu? So what's the deal, seriously?
          • This is a little off-topic, but could someone please explain to me this fascination and momentum behind Ubuntu? Mandrake/Mandriva has always been extremely user friendly... I dare say more so than Ubuntu? So what's the deal, seriously?
            One word: apt. [debian.org]

          • by tomz16 (992375)
            Until recently, I felt the same way... WTF is up with Ubuntu, and why is everyone suddenly going gaga over it.

            Then I tried it, and I must say that it was hands down the best distro that I have ever tried (and I've used all of the other major ones out there). It was clean, consistent, downright pleasant, and everything just worked right out of the box.

            If you want linux on the desktop, you need a distro that my Mom can feel comfortable using. IMHO, Ubuntu is by far the closest we have ever been.
            • I'm not so sure about that, you are more accurately describing OpenSuSE, certainly more than Ubuntu. I think if you use them both for any serious work for any period of time you will run into the differences, some of which are showstoppers for Ubuntu, particularly for server use but also for desktops.

              I don't like what Novell is doing but like most companies the OS they are connected to is far different than the company, the same is true with Apple (Which is one of the most worthless, arrogant, controlling c
          • Random chance, if 200 butterflies had flown into a wall 3 years ago it would have been something else.....
    • Google partner? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PineHall (206441) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:05PM (#19056035)
      ... to have discussions with customers and partners and will tackle key technologies on a case by case basis.

      They may not end up competing with Google, rather they may end up partnering with Google. Google has a lot of the apps available right now.

    • by jbarr (2233) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:03PM (#19057139) Homepage
      If only they could work WITH Google to provide the offline client component.

      Google's online offerings have matured, and are quite powerful, but there's still the disconnect when going offline. Not until I can work offline and seamlessly integrate/sync when I go back online will it be really effective.
    • by killjoe (766577)
      If you are doing anything with computers you are competing with MS. If you are not competing with MS then MS will enter the market soon and compete with you.
  • I do like the aspect of some apps being hosted online versus locally as it frees up a portion of your HDD, but before I commit fully to this idea I have to bring into question data security and bandwidth on this one. I know there is more bandwidth to come and that is simply a matter of time, but implementing an online desktop could potentially bring some big security issues into play.
    • by korekrash (853240) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:42PM (#19055593)
      At about 50 cents a gig, I'll stick to speed and security rather than trying to save 500 megs of drive space.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Angostura (703910)
      I have to agree. The idea of online applications being "first class citizens with the traditional applications" to quote the story, suggests to me that online applications would need to have similar or identical security access to locally installed applications. This seems, uh... possibly problematic.
      • suggests to me that online applications would need to have similar or identical security access to locally installed applications. This seems, uh... possibly problematic.
        Oh, come on ... Microsoft's been doing that for years!

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Apart from that, they also need near-local response time (which IP's best-effort paradigm isn't really suited for) and availability (if you're blocked from the internet that's one thing, but if you're blocked from all your office suites and productivity apps that's an entirely different one).


        I think that the desktop paradigm is only dead to people who are so Web 2.0 that they round the corners on theior paper documents. For pretty much every single real end user the desktop paradigm is going to stay aliv
  • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:32PM (#19055377) Journal
    "To user the desktop metaphor is dead. We don't believe that recreating a Windows paradigm in an open source model will do anything to advance the productivity in the life of users," Stevens added.

    And therefore they're reimplementing the Windows 98 Active Desktop...?

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:57PM (#19055885)

      Maybe the Windows 98 Active Desktop has a chance of being successful now that always-on Internet connections are vastly more common. There was another technology built into Internet Explorer 4.0 that also died from lack of use. It was called "channels", and was very similar to RSS. Yet today, RSS and Atom are wildly popular. Sometimes the technology doesn't need to change if the world does.

      • I think that Active Desktop and Channels failed not from the lack of always-on internet, but because it was so badly implemented. Every demonstration I saw of those features looked like pre-installed crapware that was a waste of screen space.
        • by nschubach (922175)
          I always tied it to the lack of standards as far as Channels/RSS. I guess they could be the same though. A poor/overly complicated standard is just as bad as a bad implementation.
      • by LoudMusic (199347)

        There was another technology built into Internet Explorer 4.0 that also died from lack of use. It was called "channels", and was very similar to RSS.
        Whoa ... I thought I had dreamed that. Good to know I was having memories of reality instead of reoccurring dreams.
  • by deragon (112986) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:35PM (#19055427) Homepage Journal
    Often I use my laptop in the subway. Guess what? No internet access. So how would I perform my work with such a paradigm? What about when you go to your country house, in the woods? To user the desktop metaphor is not dead when offline.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by moore.dustin (942289)
      While I agree, I think they know of these issues. They will probably store many of the files used to generate vital and productivity pages locally. You can save offline maybe and it will auto sync the next time you have access? Who knows... I do not, but to assume they are that shortsighted is not giving them nearly enough credit.
      • by i7dude (473077)
        so, why store the "vital" parts of the application locally, doesn't that defeat the purpose of a network based application?

        dude.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Gospodin (547743)

          Not at all. It just introduces a synchronization step when you go back online. Windows does this already with its file servers - if you go offline and have some shared files open, you can still use them normally, save them, etc. But when you go online, the files get synchronized back to the server so they can be backed up, opened from other workstations, etc. It's supposed to be the best of both worlds.

        • They are going to cache files for bandwidth savings alone. They will have to have locally stored files for connectivity to these modules at the very least. Now pulling the files from a network still requires them to be somewhere and you need the software to receive and process them, no? What... You think they are going to make a 100% online OS? That is impossible as far as I can tell given our current technology.

          An online OS most likely means you have a base framework that allows you to connect and inter
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:54PM (#19055823)

      Often I use my laptop in the subway. Guess what? No internet access. So how would I perform my work with such a paradigm?

      The mozilla team has already talked about Firefox 3's upcoming support for running online apps while offline, as a sort of hybrid, but still within the browser. Just do a search for "web applications offline' and you'll find dozens of articles including how-to sites from tool providers for making Web apps that will function offline right now.

      To user the desktop metaphor is not dead when offline.

      I'm not sold on Web applications. I'm not sold on a strategy of bypassing MS by building everything on top of them. I'd rather see cross platform applications with internet capabilities, or hybrid solutions, that still allow me to take advantage of the benefits of the OS. From a practical standpoint, however, my automatic bibliography formatting service allows me to automatically format bibliography references right now using Google Docs, but I can't use the same functionality in Wordpad or in MSWord for that matter; so in some ways online apps are already allowing me to bypass the limitations of Microsoft's OS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by crush (19364)
        And Adobe's Project Apollo [com.com] and to some extent Sun's announcement of JavaFX [slashdot.org] are more the competitors in this area than MS.
      • by gnuman99 (746007)
        A "web application" isn't if it does not require remote for processing and storing. It is just a local application run in a browser.

        Remove applications or web application are software where the view and maybe part of the controller is run in the browser, locally on one's computer. The model is generally run remotely on the server. For example, gmail has a nice view run locally in the browser. Google's servers store and process and retrieve your email. gmail CANNOT be run locally. You cannot send or receive
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          A "web application" isn't if it does not require remote for processing and storing. It is just a local application run in a browser.

          True, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about applications that run via a Web browser and integrate with a Web service (Google Docs), but which also run locally without Web access, albeit with some features disabled. It is important to note, we were speaking about the desktop metaphor being dead, and when your app is running locally in a browser, that does seem to be the case to a significant extent.

          For example, gmail has a nice view run locally in the browser.

          I'm afraid I have no idea what you were trying to say with that sentence. Could you

        • gmail CANNOT be run locally. You cannot send or receive email if you are not online.
          Why can't an offline web application store downloaded messages and queue sent messages for delivery once a connection becomes available, much like current SMTP/IMAP user agents do?
      • by crush (19364)
        What bibliography formatting service are you talking about?
        • What bibliography formatting service are you talking about?

          Hmm, good question. It is an OS X system service called "BibliographyService." It may have come with BibDesk, but it does not seem to be grouped with the other services from there. It may be a stand alone service I grabbed somewhere.

    • At Java One, sun talked about the possibility of an embeddable application server, that could run locally, and dynamically sync with the server based on connectivity. That solves the problem for web-apps, but what about my development environment? I guess there are still ways to handle that. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Often I use my laptop in the subway. Guess what? No internet access.

      Actually, many of us could not work without an internet connection anyways so it is a moot point for those tied to Blackberries and live connections. Remember how many people freaked out when the Blackberry servers went down?

      I've talk to many whose company now includes a Sprint or Verizon card because they need always on connections no matter where they are with the current apps.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nytes (231372)
      No internet access while on the subway???

      But you're sitting right there, in one of the tubes!!!
    • by ergo98 (9391)

      Often I use my laptop in the subway

      This sort of comment comes up regarding every web application/internet hosted technology story -- the people who declare that because it doesn't work for them, or at least for dreamed up fringe scenarios, therefore it shouldn't exist.

      Every solution isn't for everyone.

      In essence you're the guy bitching and complaining because a Honda Civic can't pull his fifth wheel.
      • by deragon (112986)
        I agree with your comment. My comment is a rebuttal to their 'To user the desktop metaphor is dead' view which sounds like englobing everybody. The desktop is not dead for an important part of the user base that need to work offline either full time or occasionally. Beside, I like to own my data, so I have a problem having my data saved on an external server and I bet I am not alone.

        I am convinced that there is demand for their product. I am not convinced that it is THE solution for modern computing.
  • My Ubuntu console? I kid, I kid.

    Quoting Red Hat, how does this differ from my weather app I run on my desktop? Was I "first class" and not know it?

    "It will take online services and integrate them richly into a client desktop, and make them first class citizens with the traditional applications," Red Hat's chief technology officer Brian Stevens said in a keynote at the Red Hat Summit in San Diego.
  • We've been hearing that the desktop's dead as long as there have been PC's.
    • by Burz (138833)

      We've been hearing that the desktop's dead as long as there have been PC's.

      Yes, particularly from Unix types who do not understand that people will route their data on a Sneakernet in order to circumvent an inflexible mainframe culture. The typical Linux distro (or all of them) do not understand the Personal Computer or its culture, and often the most intelligent thing they have to say about it is patently untrue (that PCs cause trojans and viruses) ignoring the whole NeXT/OS X experience.

      So at least Apple

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:43PM (#19055621)

    Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens argued that: 'To user the desktop metaphor is dead. We don't believe that recreating a Windows paradigm...will do anything to advance the productivity in the life of users.'"


    Quick - someone tell Apple that they're DOOMED!
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:50PM (#19055765)
      Now way. Apple can't be doomed. It's been a whole week since someone released an "iPod killer."
    • He can't. He is only paid $100 million a year to tell people the desktop metaphor is dead.
    • Well, Apples desktop efforts ARE "doomed" in the sense that they probably won't get big market share anytime soon. They're very visible in the consumer laptop space, so it *feels* like they are doing much better than they really are. But they don't have much presence in business, or in developing countries, or even on the regular desktop market ... and these are huge quantities of machines we're talking about here. Apple/MacOS X have been around for some years now and they didn't set the world on fire. To a
  • by wiggles (30088) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:45PM (#19055639)
    I mean, they do a lot of development, and they are the OSS company most trusted by Fortune 500's, but I think they lost their leadership position to Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu. Not trying to start a flamewar here, but they seem to be fresh out of ideas at present, and this seems to be grasping at straws.

    After dealing with their nightmarish support system this month after a bug caused me to lose connection to my SAN, and dealing with the scam that is RHCE certification (30% pass rate is BS -- they're just milking retakes at $750 a pop), I can say that Red hat is really going downhill fast. They're becoming more and more focused on the bottom line and less on the little guy who got them to where they are.
    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      Sounds like Novel.
    • Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

      by crush (19364) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:10PM (#19056111)
      Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu are great. They spread non-Free firmware and drivers. Awesome. That's what I call leadership. What's this deal that Canonical is doing with Linspire, Microsoft, Dell and Novell?

      Order a free CD from Ubuntu and bin it.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        No, thats wrong and you are a complete moron who hasn't even tried to read any of the wiki on this subject.

        1. The fastest way to have a project fail is to 'preach' to your audience. Re-educating the windows users and indoctrinating them into the 'unix/gnu' way is a long term prospect, on a single user by single user basis. If you spent any time in the ubuntu support channel you would know jus thow much work this is and how long it takes for the noobs to get a clue as to 'why' everything is the way it is.
    • by rayvd (155635)
      I mean, they do a lot of development, and they are the OSS company most trusted by Fortune 500's, but I think they lost their leadership position to Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu. Not trying to start a flamewar here, but they seem to be fresh out of ideas at present, and this seems to be grasping at straws.

      I'm not sure how you measure this... If you just went by /. stories and such you'd definitely think that Linux == Ubuntu. However, in the revenue generating department, large-ish companies, Ubuntu has a l
    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:40PM (#19056675) Homepage

      I mean, they do a lot of development, and they are the OSS company most trusted by Fortune 500's, but I think they lost their leadership position to Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu.
      You're joking, right? I mean, I'm using Ubuntu right now to post this, but Ubuntu are still getting action mostly with enthusiasts like me (and perhaps you). Corporate/enterprise users are virtually all using Red Hat, and Red Hat give them an excellent product (with a quite recent release full of new features).
    • Not to get off topic or anything here, but remind me again, what is Ubuntu's business model exactly? Not only is their business model non-existant or very poor (please correct me if I am missing something here), but IMO their product isn't all that great. Ubuntu hasn't even started climbing the hill AFAIC. Once there are big corporations running Ubuntu in the datacenter and on the workstations, maybe then Ubuntu will be the leader. I just don't see that happening though. Dealing with support does suck, can
      • by cerelib (903469)
        Canonical does have a business strategy with Ubuntu. They are offering paid support for the product (9x5 or 24x7). Furthermore, they seem to welcome any competition to their support by providing links to other companies offering Ubuntu support( see Canonical Marketplace ). In general it seems they have taken a slightly different approach than Red Hat. Canonical is trying to harness( or exploit, depends on how you view it ) the power of the ready and willing user, developer, and artist communities. I am
        • But how is ubuntu support going to generate any substantial revenue if their product isn't marketable to big-time corporations for big-time contracts? The website claims 'government agencies' are using it, I'd like to know which ones, and in what role(s) specifically. I just don't see Ubuntu being picked up by anyone that 'matters.' Maybe I am being too skeptical of the 'somewhat new' kid on the block. Time will tell.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan Ost (415913)
      They are shaping themselves to be exactly what their customers (Fortune 500s and the like) expect them to be. They've found their target niche and are adapting to it.

      Even if we don't use their distribution, we still benefit from their effort (lots of OSS development going on at RH), so what's the problem?
    • I really think that the 30% pass rate is BS.

      I recently took my RHCE for RHEL5. Passed the first time. I went to the ER the night before for pneumonia, and was totally doped up on cough syrup with Codeine and other goodies. I really thought that I failed it, but, surprisingly enough, I didn't.

      What I don't like about the RHCE is how you can't even talk about what's on the test, even with the guys who you're testing with. It seems a little odd that to protect the test/certification for future test takers,
    • You clearly are talking in jest. I can almost see your funny hat with bells.

      RedHat is now one of the recognized names on IT infrastructure with the likes of Sun, MS, IBM, HP and several others.

      Geeks and nerds (same thing?) know about and use Ubuntu, but frankly is not serious to pretend that it is ready to provide for the needs RedHat is covering.

      Nice troll, I laughed, next serious comment now please.
  • by JCOTTON (775912) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:45PM (#19055653) Homepage Journal
    Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens argued that: 'To user the desktop metaphor is dead.

    I love it (ironic) when some CIO or other bigwig perports to talk for me. Actually, not only is the desktop still not "dead", but on my desktop is a Mainframe running COBOL/CICS/DB2. Still not dead. Not by a long shot.

    Hello, world.

  • 'To user the desktop metaphor is dead. We don't believe that recreating a Windows paradigm in an open source model will do anything to advance the productivity in the life of users.'


    But, then why are try to recreate what has been the Windows paradigm since Microsoft started pushing .NET as the key platform in Windows for exactly the kind of desktop/online integration that you are talking about?
    • by evil_Tak (964978)
      Surely you mean since Sun started pushing Java as the key platform for exactly that kind of desktop/online integration?
      • Surely you mean since Sun started pushing Java as the key platform for exactly that kind of desktop/online integration?


        No, I wouldn't say that it has been the key Windows paradigm since that. I meant exactly what I said.

  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:47PM (#19055689) Homepage
    Storing your own data locally on your own computer and manipulating it with local apps may be "old thinking", but at least it puts you in control. Just when a critical mass of free (as in freedom) software is emerging, Red Hat is talking about services. I suspect it's impossible to make these services free as in freedom.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      Using Linux puts you in control, too. That hasn't helped us much.

      Manual transmissions put you in more control of your car, but automatic transmissions outsell manual transmissions in the U.S. by huge margin. Many cars don't even have manual as an option.

      Remember, as sad as it seems to us, we're living in a world where people think "just reboot" is an acceptible solution to problems with your computer.

      So I agree with your sentiment, and I think most will agree with your sentiment, but I also think most peo
    • by tepples (727027)

      I suspect it's impossible to make these services free as in freedom.
      How? If the server software that runs the services is published as free software, then you are free to set up your own competing service provider. Is the business model supposed to revolve around not publishing the software at all, or just reliable hosting for the services?
    • I suspect it's impossible to make these services free as in freedom.

      Its easy to make software-as-services Free.

      First, you make the software behind the service Free Software unencumbered by patents, etc., and make it available as source to users of the service.

      Second, (though the first implies doing this in a potentially obscure, difficult to understand way), you make the interfaces to the service public, clear, and well-documented, so that tools that use or connect to the service are practical to freely imp

  • Typical Novell (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by elrous0 (869638) *
    Always showing up 2 years late to the party with old ideas and software that makes people nostalgic for the days when a hundred other better companies tried the EXACT SAME THING [wikinews.org].
  • Yet Another Attempt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @01:48PM (#19055715) Homepage Journal
    The network desktop has been tried many times in the past, by Microsoft (badly) with "ActiveDesktop" and in theory with XAML and .NET, and by Sun in various forms. All the efforts I've seen so far just don't cut it. That doesn't mean it isn't a good idea -- I think there's real promise in a distributed approach to the desktop -- just that it is hard to execute well. Stumbling blocks in the past have included: a lack of real network transparency (the "online" aspect was a thin veneer rather than being truly transparent); lack of sufficient bandwidth (all the "online" stuff was pitifully slow, and ignored); and security, security, security.

    To succeed you need a system that doesn't view the network as a bolted on thing, but integrates it at the core; Plan9 comes to mind on that front. At least X11 has network transparency, but it needs to be more efficient (think NX), and have far better security built in to really work for this. Bandwidth will slowly but surely fix itself. That leaves security -- and there's a lot required to make that happen. It is an ambitious and worthy goal, but in this case it is possibly a case of biting off more than you can chew: if it isn't transparent, efficient and secure, it isn't going anywhere, and fulfilling those requirements would require vast architectural changes.
  • Linux has a reasonably big marketshare in the server market share [ Netcraft Survey [netcraft.com]]. However it is still waiting for the day when it will be accepted in the Home PC market as a strong competitor for the Windows family of OSes. I am a strong fan of Linux and I have been trying to promote Linux in my market but people still refuse to accept it open heartedly. In spite of detailed explanations and demos people are hesitant. I even offer free linux installation assistance [zyxware.com] for people who already own computers. P
  • I've tried these "Online Desktops" before and they never really work well enough for my needs... Online desktops always seem to run in my browser and never really replace my desktop. I'm still running Windows to open a browser that just takes me to what amounts to my Google Homepage.... Plus, I still do a lot of work offline while not connected to the net...
  • Are they the new Yggdrasil?
  • by HW_Hack (1031622) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:13PM (#19056177)
    This is absolutely the right step for our increasingly connected world - but the devil is in the details as usual.

    The desktop isn't dead but its damn stale - what I would envision is a bi-modal operation: if you have wired or wireless access your "desktop" seamlessly includes your "on-line" resources - applications - data files - links - IM buddies - etc. all integrated into your applications - disk volumes, When offline you would have what you have right now. Of course you would need a method to mark certian files as bi-modal so they would reside in a file cache and be available offline - the OS would handle file sync'ing etc. Or a thumb drive could be a file cache

    On the flip side where the desktop is really dead (as in "Dead to You" ) --- I could see you carrying a USB thumb drive that launches a mini-linux session and then you connect to the "server in the sky" to access all your docs - email - applications - etc.

    Both ideas are step in the right direction for Linux ... just doing "XP the right way" is not a path to success for Linux. The Linux industry is very nimble compared to Microsloth ... lets see what this baby can really do !

    • While I might be missing something, this sounds kind of like Adobe's Apollo [slashdot.org] software idea.

      This would be like having a version of Google Docs [google.com] that actually was installed on your computer, but communicated with a server in order to store your data. For an organization the end user wouldn't be able to tell the difference, besides the speed of the software.

      I think the closest thing that this would resemble are Microsoft's roaming profiles, but in a way that actually worked.

      By having a copy on the machine fo

      • Please someone get cracking with this. If only so that every time i log into a machine at work i dont get a welcome to windows splash and have to re-confirm every bloody dialog with "do not ask me this again". (disclaimer: I work in an MS-laden workplace but am one of those secret amiga owners in real-life TM)

        It should just be my desktop, same shortcuts, start menu layout, installed programs etc.

        even if i'm logged in on two systems at once they'd sync and mirror across ... now here's a thought that would se
  • by evought (709897) <evought@@@pobox...com> on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:14PM (#19056197) Homepage Journal
    I have no interest whatsoever.

    When I was actively doing business travel, online collaborative apps were a supplement to applications on the desktop, given that the online apps were trustworthy (controlled by my own business). I never had any desire to get rid of local applications, especially since I had to be able to do office work, development and other tasks on the go, with no network access, expensive network access, insecure network access, or unreliable network access. If the "network applications" are downloadable and cached for off-line use, then you have nothing new, that's just semi-automated deployment and update. When it comes to that, externally controlled auto-update is a bad thing in many environments. I want to control when I upgrade, after I know the update is not going to break something. I don't want to log on, find out I can't access an old file, and have no way to restore the previous version of the application. Web services are continuously in beta.

    Currently, I have absolutely no need for remote apps. I do all of my work locally and live rurally. Why would I want my applications and/or data externally controlled and unaccessible if I don't have a connection? I have full-featured applications (which would take considerable time to download). I pay for them once (if I have to at all). I have low latency. I can pick and choose which applications I use. I can have multiple versions installed if I need to for compatibility reasons. I control encryption and backups when I need it. What advantage does a "network desktop" get me?

    Why bother?
  • by MatrixCubed (583402) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:17PM (#19056249) Homepage
    FTFA: "The Linux desktop market has been limited to single function devices such as cash registers and applications in emerging markets." I've heard this term 'emerging markets' for so long now, you'd think they'd have emerged by now...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Mathness (145187)
      My guess is that they have not looked into optimizing the build, while the following will work fine, the build time is very long

      root~$ emerge market
      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        It also doesn't help that whenever someone updated the Portage tree they immediately abort the build, apply the latest USE flags (and there are a lot of them) and remerge. Even though those new flags are usually stuff like "dotcom", "doomedtofail" and "broken".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by archen (447353)
      Maybe they're emerging using gentoo on a 486
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:22PM (#19056339)
    The network is the machine.

    Yeah, I know Sun came up with that one a decade or so ago, and they were spot on, but it wasn't quite there.

    The real winners will be the ones who can come up with transparent computing. By that, I mean if the machine is standalone it uses local resources, disk, cpu etc. If it's plugged into a network it automatically makes use of the best available hardware on the LAN.

    It's all so manual at the moment.
    • by snoyberg (787126)
      Throw in some clustering of resources there and I like it. Closest thing I saw to something like that was ClusterKnoppix [clusterknoppix.sw.be]. Though I never tried it out, the thought that you could start an entire cluster from a single CD is pretty cool. Take that and set up a system where the local clients cache the programs they get from the server, and it could work.
  • by devnullkac (223246) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @02:24PM (#19056367) Homepage

    If the desktop metaphor is dead, why is its replacement called the "online desktop"?

  • Wouldn't the real killer be Wi-Fi operators providing PXE? Suddenly, online desktops become truly viable.

    Until then, it'll be something that someone uses rarely because there isn't much point in it.
  • It seems not so long ago there was a bit of a rumble about google online apps being offline and /or losing setting. I for one are not so keen as to trust my carefully crafted personal settings to some mass company. If my machine crashes, It is My machine, my responsibility. (to make backups and stuff ). Now the backup, yeah that could be online... encrypted of course. the network IS the backup, now that sound reasonable. Gmail drive anyone?
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      So when the Google datacenter loses connectivity and you can't access your Google Office apps, at least you can always pull your backups from Google Mail.

      Seriously, some people are going to fail to see why the above scenario (main apps at Google, backups also at Google) is not a good way to handle backups.
      • by hcgpragt (968424)
        Well. I am completely depend on my applications for my day-to-day work. When google doesn't run I cant't do a thing (which is bad).
        I do not have to restore / backup often compared to that. If google is offline for a day I can't create a backup for that day. Acceptable risk. The chance that I need to restore && google is offline is, i Think, very, very low. and only in that case do I have to sit on my hands for a day.
        That's the difference I guess.

        Oh, and the fact that I can have my data encrypt
        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          1.) You have to do a presentation.
          2.) The data you're supposed to turn into one sits on Google's servers.
          3.) Google is down. You can't access your spreadsheet.
          4.) Well, so you just download the backups and grep out the relevant numbers. Just access your Google Mail storage and--
          5.) ...
          6.) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

          Online apps, maybe. Online backups, maybe. But please not both on the same server if the backups are of the very data the online apps produce. It's usually a good idea to avoid single p
  • Hybrid approach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I've always thought rather than having local OR remote, a hybrid approach would be nice. Something like the way exchange works. You have the desktop client; but if you are away you can log into the web client. The data is available in both places. It would seem to me that such a concept could be used for other things.

    I suppose it would require implementing clients twice. I think though, that I would prefer a more accessible system with fewer features rather than a new Office sweet every few years (or w
  • I run both Gentoo Linux and Windows XP on several PCs. Linux gives me a whole heap of nice free applications to play with and superb automation, XP gives me the ability to work in common document formats and to play games. Both OSes let me rip and burn CDs and DVDs, manipulate photos and graphics, etc. etc. Neither one fills all my needs but the pair together have about all of my needs covered.

    So if someone defines a "desktop" as being a single machine that can cope with all the tasks a user requires, the

    • by JimFive (1064958)

      So if someone defines a "desktop" as being a single machine that can cope with all the tasks a user requires

      I saw a lot of this misconception but I'm responding to this one.

      The Desktop metaphor is not about the hardware, it is about the User Interface. The metaphor is that you have a work surface (the screen), documents are in a file cabinet (filesystem). You take a document out of the file cabinet, put it on your desk, work on it, and put it away. You may also have tools on your desk like a typewriter (word processor), calculator(spreadsheet), etc.

      Of the implementations of the metaphor, Apple tried to stay t

  • To a certain point, I think he is right. I've been involved in several large projects where companies are getting really tired of managing end-points (PCs/laptops) and are just moving back to a terminal-like model.

    The projects I've been involved in are using VMware ESX in the back-end, and every user has their own private virtual machine hosted (and managed) in the datacenter. Updates, patch management, policy control, etc, all taken care of. In fact, the users can have any unmanaged end-point (even Linux,

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