Cloud-based operating system in the works
While it has taken longer than some anticipated, cloud computing is finally coming of age and whether you have a business, creative or gaming focus, there’s a cloud-based option for just about any application you can think of. Researchers in China are now aiming to go one step further and take the operating system (OS) to the cloud with TransOS, a cross-platform, cloud-based OS.
The advantages of cloud-based computing include automatically updated software, applications that can be run on basic hardware, location independent access, and the ability to charge customers for what they actually use. It is just these advantages that Yaoxue Zhang and Yuezhi Zhou of Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China are looking to take advantage of with TransOS.
While a minimal amount of code would be required to boot up the computer and connect it to the internet, the TransOS system code is stored on a cloud server. Featuring a graphical user interface, TransOS downloads specific pieces of code to perform the same kinds of tasks as a conventional OS, thereby allowing a bare bones terminal to perform tasks beyond the limitations of its hardware. The computer would only call on relevant TransOS code when required, ensuring that the inactive OS isn’t hogging system resources when applications are being run.
"TransOS manages all the resources to provide integrated services for users, including traditional operating systems," the researchers say. "The TransOS manages all the networked and virtualized hardware and software resources, including traditional OS, physical and virtualized underlying hardware resources, and enables users can select and run any service on demand."
The researchers add that TransOS could be adapted to platforms other than personal computers, including mobile devices, factory equipment and even domestic appliances. For such potential to be realized, the team says that a cloud system architecture and relevant interface standards need to be established.
Details of the TransOS system will appear in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Cloud Computing.
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If there are talking about having a native OS that runs some kind of remote desktop software to a machine somewhere else that technology has been around for ages. It is even natively built into Linux with network transparency in X Window System.
Any computer not powerful enough to boot an OS that minimal wouldn't be powerful enough to boot something else that goes online, pulls down the OS, and loads it in RAM or run the web apps needed. There is no way you are saving anything by downloading the operating system from the cloud each time you boot the PC and further, the computer would need some way to know how to identify which data is yours so you are going to have to either store some kind of credentials on it or log in manually in some way.
If you run a minimal OS on the PC it can still be updated easily with less bandwidth than is required for pulling down the full OS each time the machine is booted.
In this case it doesn't even save the need to have some kind of local storage media (ie, $4 flash drive) because it still needs enough intelligence to connect to the cloud through some method to pull down the rest of the OS each time and without proper storage media it would have to store everything on a RAM drive anyway (read more RAM needed) and it would likely need to cache downloaded files somewhere for performance reasons.
This seems like a really bad idea. The only possible use I could think of for this is that it gives the government slightly more control over the people.
It used to be free, wasn't anything special last time i tried it.
Like Gwin said, if its not opensource it'll never take off