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YouOS alpha - a review

Date/Time Permalink: 07/08/06 04:28:54 pm
Category: Reviews

YouOS screenshot 1

Alternative operating systems being my passion, I enthusiastically jumped on YouOS. And I wasn't disappointed! I got an account right away and logged into my desktop. YouOS is an experimental web-based operating system. So for the record, I was running it from Firefox 1.0.7 on Mandriva 10.1. Click the screenshots for full-size images.

YouOS screenshot 2

The second screenshot shows bitty browser running in YouOS, whereupon I accessed YouOS from inside the bitty browser and got my desktop recursively opened and running bitty browser yet again, all from my Firefox running on Mandriva. Which reminds me, I really should try running VMware one of these days. I could have gone on, but didn't want to create a rift in the space-time continuum...

YouOS screenshot 3

The third shot, I changed the wallpaper to one from the latest module in my gallery. It's easy, just right-click on the desktop and pick it off the menu, then copy the URL into the box on top if you don't dig on any of the choices provided. Feel free to use any of the ones from my gallery, as they are creative commons-licensed for just that reason.

YouOS is a pretty nifty idea. Within minutes, I was chatting away in the bustling chat server they have going. It just got Dugg, so expect some high server load. YouOS comes with a file explorer, shell, chat client, IM buddy client, a sticky note app and a rich-text editor. But there's much more: Pick add/remove programs and install dozens more apps. You can even demo them before you install them.

Since the whole show is written in Javascript, it should be portable to nearly any platform. It's license is currently stated as open-source, with a hint that that could change in the future for some third-party apps. They invite more development and even show tutorials on how to start - if you know Javascript, this should be a breeze. My only nit is that when running the chat app, I noticed some lag, but everything was still usable - I'm running it in the next tab over from my blog right now, after all! Considering the circumstances, I've seen plain old IRC servers lag from a console, so this might not even be YouOS's fault.

Right now, I see YouOS as more of an interesting curiosity. I'm still playing with it, however, and it's a VERY cool toy! Does the future lie in this direction? YouOS is very promising. Now, we start counting down to the first attack against it by Microsoft...

UPDATE: I've been running around like mad testing this thing in every web browser I could find, which turned out to be a lot. I'll take Internet Exporer user's words for it that it goes alright in there. Meanwhile, I can verify Firefox (the nested browser trick worked in *my* FF 1.0.7, other Firefox users have said it didn't do that trick in their version?).
I am also pleased to report that plain old Mozilla 1.7.2 runs YouOS nicely. The SHOCKER is that none other than Epiphany (the Gnome web-browser) 1.2.8 has also passed the YouOS test!

MIA is Konqueror, Dillo, and Opera. Konqueror and Dillo just refused to try, and Opera I actually got going as far as the desktop, then it died with Javascript console errors. And in the category of I-know-better-than-to-try is of course lynx, links, w3m, and other text or console-based browsers.

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