Filed under: gadgets, geekery | Tags: apps, cloud computing, linux, netbook, office, os
More and more, we as computer users have our head in the clouds. We’re depending less and less on even making sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground at the same time. The elegant combination of netbooks and web apps is quickly bringing browser tech to the forefront in an unprecedented way. My most commonly used applications? Fluid-enabled versions of Facebook, Hiveminder, Flickr and Remember The Milk. And Firefox is always the first thing I open and the last thing I close. I think Mail is the only hard drive-based app I actually use anymore (besides Transmission. Shhh!).
Here’s yet another step skyward. It’s a new operating system from the makers of gOS, the Linux-based OS that powers Wal-Mart’s bargain basement Everex-brand netbooks. It’s also based on the Linux kernel, but it borrows some obvious cues from a certain Google-branded internet browser. The name of the OS is itself “Cloud,” and it boots in mere seconds. Basically, its a browser optimized for using web-apps, and not much else.
The beauty is that we no longer need much else. Even Microsoft Office, long the only real “required” piece of software on most people’s computers, is fairly easily replaced with Google apps or Zoho. There’s only one place I use Office anymore: at the actual office. And even then, in a better connected, more technologically current environment, I could probably largely avoid it if I wanted to. As a freelancer, I have little cause to ever open Microsoft’s Office suite, unless I want to see how it performs in a new OS environment.
As a MobileMe user, I’m well aware that moving to the cloud is not without its downsides. Still, I’m generally excited about the prospect. I’ve always been annoyed that so much of my notebook’s precious hard drive space is given over to applications that take up far more than their fair share of space. More and more, I can give that storage back to media, where it belongs. At least, that is, until streaming media matures to the point that it elminates the need for keeping local copies.