Web Operating Systems

In this article we will try to give you a taste of web operating systems. What you can do with them and where to find them.

Some of the OS mentioned, require that you register an account, while others require that you have a beta invitation.


Windows4all is a Microsoft Silverlight based online virtual operating system. Windows4all.com replicates the desktop environment of a modern operating system. The user can launch applications right away without installation.
Application runs in Silverlight’s security sandbox. By default code is restricted from accessing user’s file system or doing anything that could hurt user’s machine. Besides desktop, taskbar, start menu and sidebar, currently it includes applications like:

  •  File Explorer
  •  Internet Explorer
  • Video Player
  •  Rich text editor
  •  RSS reader
  •  Chat
  •  Notepad
  •  Paint
  •  Calculator
  •  Games like Chess, Solitaire, Spider etc.

The system also supports installing program functionality. But this program should be developed in Silverlight and be available in Internet or local file system.


The G.ho.st service provides, over the Internet, a working environment that mimics the classic desktop provided by personal computer operating systems. As an internet based service, users are able to create, save and return to a working environment from different physical computers and mobile phones. G.ho.st calls itself a Virtual Computer. In July 2009 the software entered beta stage development, and as of now it remains in this stage. The beta launch near Jerusalem was attended by Quartet Representative and former UK prime minister Tony Blair. The Company’s primary investor is Benchmark Capital.
Such services are not considered operating systems in the traditional sense although they are sometimes referred to as Web Operating Systems. Whilst they can include a GUI (e.g. a desktop), a (virtual) file system, application management and security, they do not contain a kernel to interface with physical hardware. Therefore, to use the service an operating system is required, supporting at least a Web browser from which the service can be run.
The G.ho.st Virtual Computer is hosted on Amazon Web Services and can be seen as utilizing Cloud computing on the backend and delivering a consumer version of cloud computing.


eyeOS is an open source web desktop following the cloud computing concept that leverages collaboration and communication among users. It is mainly written in PHP, XML, and JavaScript. It acts as a platform for web applications written using the eyeOS Toolkit. It includes a Desktop environment with 67 applications and system utilities. It is accessible by portable devices via its mobile front end.
For developers, eyeOS provides the eyeOS Toolkit, a set of libraries and functions to develop applications for eyeOS. Using the integrated Portage-based eyeSoft system, one can create their own repository for eyeOS and distribute applications through it.
Each core part of the desktop is its own application, using javascript to send server commands as the user interacts. As actions are performed using ajax (such as launching an application), it sends event information to the server. The server then sends back tasks for the client to do in XML format, such as drawing a widget.
On the server, eyeOS uses XML files to store information. This makes it simple for a user to set up on the server, as it requires zero configuration other than the account information for the first user, making it simple to deploy. To avoid bottlenecks that flat files present, each user’s information and settings are stored in different files, preventing resource starvation from occurring.

Glide OS

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Glide OS is a Flash-based web desktop developed by Transmedia. It is notable for operating on both desktop operating systems and mobile operating systems. Glide OS is compatible with a variety of web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.
Glide features a desktop-like interface which displays the Desktop, Glide HD, and Web Portal. Glide includes several web-based applications, including an integrated office suite, media player, photo editor, calendar software and webmail.


This project requires that you have a beta invitation.

Once you’ve logged in, amoebaOS is 100% customizable. Every color, shape, button and window is generated using style information from a few Cascading Style Sheets. Applications that adhere to the styling guidelines are styled entirely by the System, and are thus configurable within System Preferences.
Like the standard desktop Operating Systems, amoebaOS includes a suite of productivity applications as well as some other useful and interesting programs pre-installed.These default apps can be replaced with any alternatives provided by the community or other developers, or even with equivalent web-based applications that expose data APIs for integration into the OS. Since none of the included suite of programs require Adobe Flash to be installed, users can easily replace these with Flash-based alternatives if they feel that technology is better suited to their work flow.
A lot of inspiration was drawn from the way Apple’s desktop Operating System manages applications, documents, windows, data and work flows. The primary areas where amoebaOS “shares common ground” with OS X are the application launcher, consistent unified menu, and the “A window is not an entire application” paradigm.
amoebaOS opens up absolutely every detail of the Operating System through various JavaScript interfaces. Without going into too much detail, you are able to control and modify your Operating System with a level of access similar to using GreaseMonkey or browser add-ons.

Online Operating System (oos)

My favorite. This web os is in my humble opinion the easiest to work with.
Every activated OOS account comes with 1 GB of disc space for your online photo album and your public homepage. Both are easily accessible for everyone via your personal domain http://<username>.oos.cc.


MyGOYA is a free online operating system. Your own personal desktop can be accessed from any Internet PC in the world and includes e-mail, chat, filesharing, calendar and an instant messenger. Manage your contacts from anywhere in the world.


Nivio is somehow a remote desktop powered by Java. So it is not so Web operating system as the others, but it is worth mentioning it here.
Access your very own customized desktop from anywhere. Nivio gives you an online version of windows which can be accessed from any web browser.

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