My friends at Spoon just launched an interesting combination of application virtualization and cloud computing. They're calling it "Spoon Feed."
Here's how Spoon describes their new offering
Spoon, a leader in cloud computing technology, today announced the immediate availability of the world’s first free cloud hosting service for desktop applications. Spoon allows software developers to make their existing desktop applications available in the cloud, with no installs. Spoon applications can be accessed from the Spoon.net library or embedded into any website, blog, or social media service as a "Spoon Feed" with a single line of HTML.
Spoon is available now at http://spoon.net.
Spoon has partnered with leading software developers and publishers such as Autodesk® and SourceForge to provide free web-based access to their desktop application portfolios. Cloud-enabled applications on Spoon include graphically intensive CAD applications such as Autodesk® Design Review and Inventor® Fusion Technology Preview; communication tools such as PuTTY and WinSCP; educational applications such as Core Learning's Core Mind Builder Pro and Crayola® Art Studio; massively multiplayer game clients such as Second Life; hit game titles such as Namco Networks' Antiques Roadshow and Alawar Entertainment's Farm Frenzy 3; and development tools such as DrJava and Eclipse.
Unlike other forms of cloud computing, Spoon completely preserves the richness and responsiveness of traditional desktop applications. Users can save files to local folders, print, and even migrate offline to continue working while disconnected. Spoon's unique virtualization technology completely eliminates dependencies and conflicts, and seamlessly handles patches and upgrades.
Software developers can submit applications into the Spoon library at no charge. The service works with existing desktop applications and requires no code changes or development costs. Spoon includes a fully integrated digital rights management and payments system that makes it easy for customers to try, purchase, and use commercial applications.
One of the concerns I've heard about cloud software as a service offerings is performance. Spoon is addressing this issue by projecting encapsulated application code directly to the client system for local execution.
Good idea if the remote system is a Windows system, but there are challenges in a more diverse environment that includes smartphones, netbooks, Macintosh and Linux systems as well as Windows-based systems.
That being said, Spoon had to start somewhere and Windows owns the lion's share of the desktop market. So, starting with Windows-based clients makes perfect sense. I expect to see the company broaden its offerings to support a more diverse client environment.
If you are using a Windows system, you might enjoy visiting spoon.net to try out Spoon Feed for yourself.