Two Web-based operating systems were slated to be demonstrated at the D6 conference: G.ho.st and Glide.
We first covered G.ho.st a little more than a year ago, and I interviewed CEO Zvi Schreiber in June 2007. The company is an Israeli/Palestinian collaboration that produces a "virtual computer." Webware writer Rafe Needleman says:
You get a file system (with 5GB of storage for free), a media player, and links to some apps... The fact that Ghost doesn't come with a bunch of its own apps is the key to this product, and what makes it more like an actual OS than many other Web-based OS experiments I've seen. The design goal of Ghost is that it acts as the clearinghouse for all your Web app accounts, letting you shuffle data between them.
He notes that although G.ho.st is more like today's operating system and more interesting than any other Webtop, it's a "long bet." It won't work yet, he says. There are no offline capabilities, and the marketing ploy that users don't need their own computers doesn't quite fly. Check out G.ho.st's D6 demo here.
Until today, I hadn't heard of Glide, but it is touted as "the first complete online operating system." And Needleman says it is more mature than G.ho.st and better suited to work in today's computing environment.
First, he points out that it's more complete. Glide has a word processor, presentation and spreadsheet applications, media players, a built-in rights management system and an offline version with a sync engine. He also notes that Glide has a clearer goal and direction in that it is marketed as an app suite -- a competitor to Microsoft Office, perhaps. The clincher? Needleman says:
Microsoft could not do Glide today. It wouldn't work for its business.
For that matter, Redmond couldn't do G.ho.st either, he says. But both illustrate where Microsoft should at least be looking.