One of the byproducts of the latest incarnation of Web 2.0 is the marginalization of operating systems. Personalized home pages, such as Google, Live.com, MyYahoo, Pageflakes and Netvibes; browser-based, rich Internet applications such as Zoho and ThinkFree; thousands of widgets, such as the Flash-based yourminis; even faux desktops such as G.ho.st (Global Hosted Operating SysTem--really stretching for an acronym and Web 2.0 coolness).
The desktop OS doesn't become irrelevant, but it fades into the background as Webtops and widgets lay their bits on top of it. G.ho.st, which is being previewed at the Web 2.0 Expo this week, combines OpenLaszlo, Java, and Amazon Web Services for the back end to create what the company describes as a virtual Web desktop, complete with a file system.
GetSparc is debuting a dashboard that integrates a bunch of webtop applications, including ThinkFree Office. Like many Web 2.0 companies, GetSparc has a YouTube demo. The Web site touts "multiple active windows, cross-correlated applications, the fastest remote storage solution on the planet, unlimited size on and offline file transfers, overlays Win, Mac or Linux as an Internet Operating System (IOS)."
Another Web 2.0 Expo exhibitor, ZCubes, is making claims about being the "world's first website that seamlessly integrates browsing, searching, editing, painting, freehand drawing, cursive hand-writing, audio-video media management, publishing, and much more" in a browser-based platform.
Bottom line, these hodgepodges of functionality and assertions represent a very early stage in changing the face of the desktop.