Orca - a WebOS with a difference

Orca - a WebOS with a difference

Summary: After my review of the WebOS market a couple of weeks ago, Leon Bollerup from Orca got in touch with me to tell me about his company's WebOS product. He had left a comment in my previous post to say that developing a WebOS (aka Web Desktop) is about "building the desktop [and] the interface of the future.


orca_logo.pngAfter my review of the WebOS market a couple of weeks ago, Leon Bollerup from Orca got in touch with me to tell me about his company's WebOS product. He had left a comment in my previous post to say that developing a WebOS (aka Web Desktop) is about "building the desktop [and] the interface of the future." This is the kind of big thinking that I like, so I exchanged emails with Leon and took a look at what Orca the WebOS is like.

One immediate question I had for Leon was: does he see any crossover between the webOS and the Web Office? Obviously they are linked in that they both use the Web as a platform. But the companies/startups doing webOS products don't seem to be the same ones doing Web Office. Leon replied:

"The typical WebOffice creator is focused on the functions he/she can provide the user, while the WebOS creator sees the WebOffice as 'just another application'. In Orca we try to do everything just a little different - the WebOffice module is a kernel module and replaceable with other versions (like HyperOffice, WebEX etc.)."

Orca is being developed by Danish company 4th-corner.com. The product is divided into 3 parts:

1) The actual WebOS part is named Orca@desktop and it runs on 3 different "cores" - each optimized to a specific browser/client.

2) The Linux Distribution (distro) is called Orczilla - according to Leon it "uses FF and has XUL application activated on the serverside".

3) Orca local is a server which is connected to your local network - currently in testing.

So Orca is more than just a desktop on the Web, it also has a Linux distribution and comes with a server. Leon told me that his team is currently busy integrating the core technology and apps. Orca has 32 applications "and counting" - including a Bittorrent client, a messenger (that works with all major networks), an office package, "webmce" (a MCE look-a-like interface) WebTV. More product details here.


Orca also plans to enable users to add Google modules and Microsoft gadgets onto their Orca desktop - i.e. the widgets found on google.com/ig and live.com/Windows Vista. They will invite Yahoo and Apple to develop to it as well.

So what makes Orca different from the other WebOS solutions? Leon gave me four reasons:

"1) Orca is a umbrella project, uniting all WebOS into ONE solution.

2) We are open to all development languages - e.g. XUL in OrcZilla.

3) Better use of ajax functions - ajax is a powerful enemy and ally...

4) We don't do it for the money."

He went on to give me an interesting possible use case for Orca - one in which Orca would complement the famous MIT $100 PC:

"Orca is preparing to launch at Danish schools [so] how about we put Orca on those MIT computers? With some help from Google's wifi project, we could bring western knowledge to very large amount of people - while keeping software updates on the cheap side. Not to mention the fact that students, developers, everyone -- can create their own applications with simple html or just a few clicks on a mouse."

This may be more dream than reality at the moment, but it does highlight a couple of the potential advantages of a WebOS - that it's cheap to deploy and relatively easy for people to use.

I'm currently testing out Orca, so will report back my findings in a later post. For now, go check it out yourself and please tell me what you think.

Topic: Mobile OS

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  • Umbrella project, huh?

    "Orca is a umbrella project, uniting all WebOS into ONE solution"

    I hear that you broke up with EyeOS, only they never heard of you..
    • From Team Orca: funny..

      If you take a look at www.orcaa.com/eyeos .. you will notice 3 pictures showing our RDP Client in Eyeos, along with several other applications that we supportet them with.

      Even on a meeting in Copenhagen, we meet with a man that know hardly nothing of us, a we even less about him.

      We "had" a teamwork - or thought we did with Pau from EyeOS - aparently NOT, and yes, we are a umbrealla projekt, simply because we welcome any company, any code that people wish to put in Orca.

      Sincerly with Kind regards,
      Leon Bollerup
      Team Orca - www.orcadesktop.com
      • So what happened?

        What happened, why the break?
        EyeOS seem to be a stable build from what I can gather.
        Also, 'umbrella project' seems very diffuse to me?
        Do you really mean that you are 'open source', so that any developer can read the source code?
        Not being about money, as you say, that should be the obvious choice, like with Linux and so forth.
        Otherwise, you are sending some very confused signals.
        • By Team Orca: ya.. what happend ?

          Hey amikael

          Truly, i ask the same, we showed them Hiven, we showed that our technology was open for them.. and i truly dont know.. was it something we/i said ?.. dident we help them enough... we asked to little of them (an api that would allow eyeos apps. to run within Orca.. we ended up doing it our self)

          So if Pau reads this, i hope he would give it a second thought.

          also, the umbrella thing..
          You see, every WebOS in the world, every web application got something good, and alot of something bad.. this is merely because of bad economy behind the programmers.. to bad more Venture Caps. dont see WebOS's.. anyway, we try to open orca, invite everyone to come with their "good" piece of work, and do something good for a change.. humanity can go so faar, if only we could .. or would work together.

          Leon Bollerup
          Team Orca
          • The umbrella thing again

            I still haven't figured this out, is it open source or not, or do you expect people to add to your platform without getting full access to the sourcecode they are improving on, basically developing for you, for free?
            I assume that if anyone wish to work on orcaa, that it is completely open sourced?
          • From Team Orca: Opensource..

            Lets picture orca as a warehouse, were people can join in, add their software, and maby.. just maby make some money on it the way they want.

            eg. Lets say we our standard "notepad" application.. everyone can use it for free.. but for just alittle money, they can upgrade to a "pro" eddition.. well.. who wouldent take the upgrade.. ?..

            People who chose to add their application to Orca, do it for them self, because they want to.

            The core of Orca is not going to be gnu/gpl, the but Orca minitop & OrcZilla is, thats what i call fair bizz.. dont you ?
          • Confusing..

            EyeOS was asked to share it's API with you, so that Orca could run their apps too, right?
            Why not just do the apps directly for them, since EyeOS is already up and running with ten thousands of users, far more users than you have by the way?
            For a casual observer, it seems that the 'umbrella' concept is just about transferring users from EyeOS (and others) to you.
            - Maybe that's why they backed down?
  • Orca and EyeOS

    As a response to amikaels last post:

    For a teamwork to begin, small steps have to be taken, dont forget that our application base allrady were open to them, along with the fact that we we'rnt planing to go online (eyeos made us take that descion)

    At the point of time we were talking to EyeOS, we were only targeting danish schools, so we dident realy have an interest in their users.

    Our interest in eyeOS, was and is "someone to share it with" .. doing "this" alone is very.. very hard.

    We invited EyeOS to join .. adventure .. as a equal partner, transfering leadership to Pau, and not to me (as many may think) .. trust me when i say, we are not the bad guys, we even did like 8-10 applications for EyeOS, sending them to EyeOS was the last we heard from them.

    Why should EyeOS and Orca work together:
    Well, we are both leading WebOS devleopers, both located in Europe... you figure out the rest ?

    Ok, since EyeOS is more talk than action, then what ?
    We turn to "fenestela/websilog" .. with this post, i promise, todo whatever it takes to help those guys, they realy got it going, i can only dream of a mix with Orca..

    I imagine your problem as a reader, and maby a new orca user might be something like this.

    "Are those guys for real, or just out to screw everyone"

    here is the truth.. we are a team on 2-3 guys who for the last 10 years have been working for big companies.. one day we woke up with the idear, "maby we could help danish pupils and poor africans" .. the team is located in the Kingdom of Denmark, a small.. small country, a country who give so much to help the world, this is our way of "giving" something.. we need your help doing it..

    Leon Bollerup
    Team Orca
    * * * *
    Please excuse my bad english, it is not my "normal" lang.
    • eyeOS team response

      Well, this is funny. I must be the man that Leon is referring to. I am Eduardo, from the eyeOS team. And yes, I travelled to Denmark to have a meeting with Orcaa people, to hear their proposal. Since Orcaa was "based" in the eyeOS code, and eyeOS being GPL, we assumed that Orcaa code would be GPL too ....

      Anyway, in the meeting I asked one simple question, Leon: what can Orcaa add to the eyeOS project ? You never gave me a clear answer. Only magnificent terms, and huge potential profits if we join you, and so on.

      But just in case I am not too smart as you suggest, could you please tell all of us what exactly would Orcaa add to eyeOS ?? Or better, can you SHOW as what that would be ?? And by SHOW I don't mean more JPGs, please; I mean live apps, something that works. Stop the vaporware, please.

      You show code that runs on eyeOS and you ask us to join you ... interesting way of looking at things.
      (well, you don't really show code, but more JPGs, you never show anything that works, just photoshoped JPGs)

      eyeOS is live and 21,000 users strong at http://eyeOS.info. As far as I can see Orcaa is vaporware, you announced a "launch" on Apr 14. Well, now it is May, what can you show us ?

      We at eyeOS work too hard to have to see people with nothing in their hands say that they can do better. If you want a good Web OS, go to eyeOS.info and open a free account. Yes, it is free even for you. :)

      Oh, but please, before tell me what ten apps you transfered to us, I don't recall ...... And why you don't use them yourself ?. I really don't get it, you are showing your apps running on eyeOS (oops, sorry, the JPGs of the apps) and then you say Orcaa is a framework for eyeOS. Leon, stop this, please and SHOW what you have. I know you can talk for hours about nothing.

      And you are 26 and have been working for the last 10 years in big companies ... please, stop it .....

      And also, you want to join forces with eyeOS, which is GPL, to get a proprietary system .... and that way you are "giving" to the world ??? Really, get yourself together, you really don't make any sense. SHOW what you have !!!!
      • Team Orca Response..

        Hello my confused friend

        Let me show you a bright vision of the of the future that we "tryed" to share with you.. if you goto http://appstorage.orcaa.com .. you will notice a great deal of "out of range eyeos-apps" .. more powerfull than anything you yet have shown.

        Orca has at NO POINT been based on eyeos core, the closest we ever got to you was with VIKI.OS, based on x-desktop.

        Remember this friend, before calling us things like this, i still want to work with you, i still see a bright future for the both of us.

        Here is something you wont see everyday :

        thats the first public download link for OrcZilla, so dont you remember that our promise to people, stand with the might and pride of a man from Denmark - because WE care.

        yes, we dident make it to the 16/4, not entirely.. you see, we are only 3 small people, doing a big research job.. the public demo is Core v3.. we are now at Core "X" .. thats latin for "10" .. that means that we have build 10 versions of a Core, to find "whatever works" best, something that i notice eyeos dident do ?.. your windows seems a bit laggy?.. and where is those desktop icons.. how about a better virtual file system ?... or context menus.. windows animation.. access to gmail and hotmail accounts ?.. remote widgets/gath. support ?.. how long muse i go on ? ... for every second i spend here, is one less second slipped away from what realy matters... ONE WEBOS, and i invite the world to join .. no one is to big or to small..

        all in all....
        Here is what i think.. i think you got my friends head twisted.. Pau is a good man, and i consider him a LOST friend.. did you know that head was invited to join Camp Orca.. ?.. thats as in moving to Denmark.. just like Dev Corvin of the betaschene did ?.. i think you are keeping him away from blooming as a flower in the wind.. i think you should go back to him and think all this over one more time.. please we realy, and truly want to show you what we have done, we just few of the idears that started out between me and Pau.. late hours on MSN Messenger.

        Leon Bollerup
        Proud programmer of Team Orca
        • From team orca: ohh.. ya ?.. should we launch Minitop tonight ?

          Just one last thing.. Orca is NOT vaporware, that we allready have proven.. but just make sure you also understand this.. how about we launch a pre early demo of minitop ?.. you see.. i got my first job in the age of 13, that was fixing computers for Sejers Bogtryk in H?rve, Denmark .. the guys name is funny enough "Leon R?bild" .. he is what you would call my Mentor, the guy still owns http://www.sejersbogtryk.dk/ .. amasing you, call him and ask me if you dont believe me.. i guess thats something you spanish have a hard time with.. believing..

          Once again, excuse my realy poor english.. this dosent come easy or normal to be.

          Sincerly or as we say in danish .. Med mange venlige hilsner...

          Leon Bollerup
          Team Orca - Uniting Web 2.0
        • Familiar apps

          I like the webwords app, it's really FCKeditor of course, which is open source too by the way.
          If you mean to say that you have gathered a lot of nice stuff/apps for free from the web, you have indeed.
          • From Team Orca: your right.. we asked them :-)

            Thats not the only one, as i told you, we asked around - and people seem to want to help.. FCK editor was even in VIKI.OS .. here http://www.orcaa.com/hosted/orcaa.com/forum.php?show_posts=36&sid= .. look :-) ..

            Michael, i was told you are from another WebOS ? .. i see that as a good thing, that mean we should both be seeing this wonderfull work from Richard as a good thing ?.. how about we work together, maby you got some great idears.. maby we do ?..

            My Mobile number is 0045 3020 4160, feel free to give me a call :-)

            Leon Bollerup
            Team Orca
          • Nah..

            Sorry, as opposite to you, we are not doing open source.
            I'm looking forward to see what direction you take though.. :-)
          • From Team Orca

            How about a mix ? .. some opensource.. like minitop (check out the news at www.orcaa.com) .. and some closed.. but then again.. whats the point.. if people want to rip of either of our WebOS.. they could.. easyly.. i'ts just Javacsript ?.. people just have to believe that there is no point in doing it, because if they show, either yours .. mine.. or someelses webos just alittle support, maby they,- with a smile countinue the long and poor job of a WebOS Creator.

            Leon Bollerup

            Now, you - and the world know, that my door is allways open to you and any another WebOS ally.
          • "i'ts just Javascript"?

            Leon, I'm not exactly following..
            If it's "just javascript", it's "just clientside", and then it's also not a webOS, but a window manager running in the browser, and where are the benefits in that?
            - A window manager is a design issue.
            In my mind, a webOS is something serversided, where it's main task is to manage the apps running.
          • About that..

            I work for a project codenamed 'Xin', and we are doing not so much a webOS as a system to relieve the serverload when running multiple apps, but I and my companions have long admired the work done by EyeOS.
            We have completely different approaches, one php, the other a variant of asp, but the maturity of EyeOS system is something we aspire to.
            They really do put it out there, and they are getting away with it, earning their many users many times over, not letting anyone down.
            Respect, man.
          • Thanks

            Thanks for the support, Amikael.

            You mentioned that you don't do Open Source. But if you change your mind, remember that eyeOS is there waiting for you to work on top of it. And also, you can create propietary apps for eyeOS. You cannot make eyeOS propietary afterwards, but the apps do not have to be open source.

            If you have something to work on together we would be happy to look into it. There are several different project going on around eyeOS now, some will work, some will not.
          • Team Orca: Your from XIN.. WOW.. i should have guessed..

            If i could Michael, i would BOW, you guys are fantastic, realy.. thumbs up.

            As i said earyler, my english skills is not the best.

            Correct me if i'm totaly wrong, but there is alot of way of making an application run, eg. doing all handling on the client side (kinda like fck editor, in the end it uses a php script to finish it.

            I see now why you might see us a threat, but please dont.

            I love eyeos aswell, what did you think make do the EyeRDP ? EyeOS got it going and i wish all best to them, we are even going to launch an api for eyeos, so that orca applications can run in eyeos, please dont misunderstand me.

            Dont forget that we are early beta code, and very small compared to you, but yet we try todo a diffrence.

            Leon Bollerup
          • Ok...

            "I see now why you might see us a threat, but please dont."

            EyeOS would probably be our primary concern if we where thinking along those lines, but a market where there's no competition is probably a dead market anyway.
            The opposite signals a need/interest for the product, which is basically a good thing.
            I'm just trying to figure out if this is open source or not, since so many of it's 'parts' are, it's assumed the end product should be too.
            - What exactly is the deal here?