Will a Web-based operating system replace the desktop OS by the year 2010? No, says ZDNet blogger Ryan Stewart. The desktop OS will still have a place, but it will become more "Web-like." It's not an either/or proposition. Finding the middle ground is what's important.
Browser-based RIAs provide a higher quality and more efficient user experience inside the browser. Desktop-based RIAs provide some of the compelling hooks of the desktop (offline, file system access, system tie-ins) but ideally with a cross platform and web-centric development model.
Stewart's disclosure statement reveals that he has signed on with Adobe's Platform Team as a rich Internet application evangelist, so he's obviously psyched about Adobe AIR, which he says "is well-suited to the evolution of both browser and web."