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I have a feeling that the desktop operating system as we know it is on its last leg. The reason I make such a bold statement is that cloud computing will replace our fat, bloated, virus-riddled, failure-prone desktop with something far more agile and elegant: A lightweight browser-based system. This sounds like good news to me. I've waited for a server-centric world for several years now and the time is almost upon us. In this brave new cloud world, you'll have access to all of your documents, music, data, pictures and applications regardless of the device in your hands.

To see my in-depth analysis of this non-desktop environment, take a look at my recent article at Linux Magazine.

It's time for the traditional desktop operating system to go away. I'm actually surprised that they've lasted this long. Cloud computing will revolutionize the way we compute on a personal and professional basis. Any application you currently use has a web-based equivalent. If you don't believe me, search for it.

The next logical step is, once all applications are transitioned to web-based ones, to transition the access method--formerly known as a desktop--to a simple access method for those applications. This is one reason why I've begun referring to a desktop operating system as a user interface.

If you don't believe in the inevitability of this transition, take a look at what's going on with traditional desktop computing at companies such as Parallels, VMware, Citrix, Virtual Bridges and others with a technology known as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
Little do most of them know but VDI, itself, is a transitional technology. VDI is transitional because current technology dictates that those virtual desktops are simply the same fat desktop you currently use placed into a file on a remote server.

The only company that is doing something that will last longer than "traditional" VDI is Parallels. They're using a technology known as containers that beats the heck out of all other competing technologies. It works on Windows as well as Linux, Solaris and others. Container technology provides the end user with the best performance available. For comparison, think Terminal Services on Windows. Even Terminal Services doesn't compete that favorably with containers. Parallel's containers offer the highest density of virtual desktops per host.

But the true future of computing is in the Common Computing Environment (CCE) that will work on your mobile phone, netbook, laptop, SmartPad or whatever gadget you decide to tap.

Do you think you'll be able to operate in a non-local desktop world? How do you think this will change computing for you? Write back and let me know.

Edited by khess: n/a

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Last Post by lrh9
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I don't think that Cloud Computing will ever completely replace regular desktops (think: professional 3D, gaming, and many, many other processor and resource-intensive tasks. Those just aren't meant to be run remotely) And also, if I want to use my netbook while on the road (read: no internet access whatsoever - and I am not buying a 3G dongle for that -) I cannot do it with a ChromeOS-like machine. With a regular OS I can do many many things without 'net. (Apart from web browsing, chatting,researching and IM'ing,i can do everything without net, really)
So my opinion? "Traditional" operating systems are here to stay. Period.

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What a horrible idea!

Should we all trust our private lives and business to some nefarious unkown and well hidden cloud in the sky? In this environment you have no control over your computing experience, no control over your content, no freedom to choose what you want or dont want. You just blindly accept whatever the cloud gods put on offer for you to consume.

I cant even believe I am reading this from Ken Hess no less. Shame!

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No thanks. I prefer to be free and keep my information and programs under my control, on my system. If you want to be a slave and put yourself under someone elses control, good for you.

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Just a suggestion, but you might want to begin your computing education with CS-001. I think that would help you to understand basics like input/output, screen, keyboard, etc. before moving onto more complex subjects? "The Cloud" is just another marketing buzzword created by senile old people like Steve Ballmer.

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An internet connection is not available all the time and everywhere one might want or need it; even if it were available, it might not be fast enough for one's needs; even if it were fast enough, there would be hardly enough space for everyone's terabytes of data; and, most importantly, even if there were space enough, only a complete fool would leave all of his or her data under the control of someone else. And the foolishness of such an idea is all the more evident as nowadays it is so easy to keep and carry huge amounts of data in small, portable devices. And as to the 'virus-riddled' thing, have you ever heard about Linux?

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I think you guys are getting this all wrong. I'm not saying that I want this to happen but I think it will happen. I think that within the next couple of years, Internet access will be everywhere that you have cell phone access, XM radio access, etc. Satellites will provide that Internet everywhere access for our gadgets.
Your "operating system" if you want to call it that, will exist in the "cloud." Yes, I know that the "cloud" is marketing but people understand the concept so I have to use it. When in Rome, you know?
And, I'm afraid, that regardless of how much we all love it, the traditional desktop operating system's days are numbered.
To see the future, check out http://g.ho.st
Sure there will be things you can do in an unconnected state using something like portableapps.com.

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I think you guys are getting this all wrong. I'm not saying that I want this to happen but I think it will happen. I think that within the next couple of years, Internet access will be everywhere that you have cell phone access, XM radio access, etc. Satellites will provide that Internet everywhere access for our gadgets.
Your "operating system" if you want to call it that, will exist in the "cloud." Yes, I know that the "cloud" is marketing but people understand the concept so I have to use it. When in Rome, you know?
And, I'm afraid, that regardless of how much we all love it, the traditional desktop operating system's days are numbered.
To see the future, check out http://g.ho.st
Sure there will be things you can do in an unconnected state using something like portableapps.com.

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> [khess:]
> I think you guys are getting this all wrong. I'm not saying that I want this > to happen but I think it will happen.

Then you have to explain why exactly you said that this imagined replacement of the desktop by cloud computing 'sounds like good news to me', and why exactly you said that 'It's time for the traditional desktop operating system to go away', and why exactly you said that 'I've waited for a server-centric world for several years now'.

You are now trying to distance yourself from a previously held stance, which is ok -- but please don't do so saying that others 'got you wrong' or distorting the meaning if your own previous words.

Others did not get you wrong -- your readers are not as stupid as you might think -- it's just that you lacked the straightforwardness either to say that your view changed or to defend it.

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@jsp722

You're right, perhaps a poor choice of words. I guess the real fallout is that by writing this some people feel that I have some responsibility in causing it to happen and I don't, of course.

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Without supporting or opposing cloud computing and cloud operating and software services, the statement that desktop computers will always exist for resource intensive applications may not be true.

The primary factor preventing centralized, networked systems from providing resource intensive services is data transfer width and rate. With modern operating systems residing in as much as two gigabytes of memory constantly at any given nanosecond, it would take at least approximately two and a half hours to transfer a single nanosecond slice of the entire operating system on a typical low end broadband connection. That assumes an ideal that the maximum bandwidth per second is used. That isn't always the case.

Now certainly redesign would reduce the amount of data transferred and how often data needed to be transferred, but the point is that tasks such as graphics rendering and bulk data processing over network are limited by data transfer rates.

However, as data transfer rates and bandwidths increase, this barrier becomes less of a factor. All ready, locally networked mainframes can provide centralized resource intensive services to node computers. If data transfer services improve sufficiently then it may be feasible in the future to provide resource intensive services over a cloud environment.

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