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spoon virtualizationWe have seen the magic of virtualization programs, in particular, the open-source VirtualBox Test Drive Linux Operating Systems with VirtualBox Test Drive Linux Operating Systems with VirtualBox Read More , which allows you to install entire operating systems in an environment and use them in conjunction with its seamless mode VirtualBox's Seamless Mode: Combine Two Operating Systems Into One Desktop VirtualBox's Seamless Mode: Combine Two Operating Systems Into One Desktop Read More . You don’t even have to be installing other OS’s because you can, in fact, clone your current OS for virtualization purposes Create A Virtual Machine Clone of Your Existing Hard Drive [Windows] Create A Virtual Machine Clone of Your Existing Hard Drive [Windows] Read More . If installing a whole OS sounds like too much for you but you still would like to try Windows software without compromising the state of your registry, Spoon might be of interest.

We first talked about Spoon here, Spoon Runs Windows Desktop Applications From Your Browser Spoon Runs Windows Desktop Applications From Your Browser Read More but in short, Spoon is a revolutionary virtualization tool that lets you run applications that you would normally need to download to your desktop by just using your web browser and a plugin. Once you’ve created an account and downloaded the plugin, you can select from a variety of applications in its directory, which features a number of the more popular software.


While this browser-based virtualization tool isn’t available for Mac or Linux (I tried Spoon in Ubuntu with no luck), it’s a great tool to have if you’re into trying new applications but don’t want to clutter your registry with unnecessary additions from programs you may not keep later.

Let’s see what applications you can try right now even in your Windows machine after getting the plugin, which is a 2.5 MB download.

spoon virtualization

Here are the more popular applications you can find in the Spoon App Directory that we’ve mentioned in our MakeUseOf Windows Pack MakeUseOf Pack 2010: 20+ Essential Windows Apps in One Pack MakeUseOf Pack 2010: 20+ Essential Windows Apps in One Pack Read More or have made it to other must-have lists.

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Office Suites

OpenOffice and OxygenOffice Professional are both available on Spoon. OpenOffice is the office suite included in Ubuntu by default (as well as in our list of 15 must-haves Roundup: 15 Must-Have Free Software Programs for Your PC Roundup: 15 Must-Have Free Software Programs for Your PC Read More ) and probably the most popular open-source office suite 6 Free Linux-Friendly Office Suites For Getting The Job Done 6 Free Linux-Friendly Office Suites For Getting The Job Done Read More out there. OxygenOffice Professional is an enhanced OpenOffice clone, with additional templates, fonts, clip art graphics and images. Here is how the latter looks virtualized.

While the previous apps launched within 10 seconds or so, OxygenOffice took a few minutes to buffer.

virtualization spoon

There were also a few hiccups when I was testing OxygenOffice that I didn’t get while testing other Spoon apps, but considering I’m only emulating software components to stream this huge office suite, the hiccups (OpenOffice Writer froze a few times) weren’t too bad.

Browsers

It might be redundant to feature browsers when you’re running it from a browser, but there are times when you just really need to use a more established browser other than your favorite one. Say, if you’re a web or graphic designer that wants to test your projects in another browser, or maybe your online banking site or university’s online database system (a big problem for me as my school’s degree audit website doesn’t display information properly in Chrome) doesn’t support your current browser, you’ll have the options to run either Firefox 4 Beta, 3.5, 3 and 2, as well as Safari 5 and Opera 10. That might save you from having to use portable apps 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) Read More in your hard drive too.

virtualization spoon

Useful Productivity Programs

Foxit Reader

virtualization software

Launching Foxit Reader was ultra fast, and there was even a popup asking me whether to set the reader as the system’s default PDF viewer. I don’t think that’d be quite possible but it just goes to show how close to the real application you are even though you’re just using your browser to stream the application.

Abiword

virtualization software

This is a great, open-source word processor that you can use in lieu of the whole OpenOffice suite, with most features you’d expect to find in the OpenOffice Writer. It’s more feature-rich than, say, online distraction-free writing environments Free Minimalist Text Editors Free Minimalist Text Editors Read More and you can still run it from your browser only!

Notepad++

An excellent text editor 3 Windows Text Editors For Programmers 3 Windows Text Editors For Programmers Read More for programmers, Notepad++ offers a lot of features for heavy users. It’s so many steps up from Windows’ built-in Notepad that if you’re constantly taking notes using the latter, you should really consider trying Notepad++. It’s got multiple tabs, keyboard shortcuts for almost everything and more.

spoon virtualization

In my machine, it even picked up folders from my previous Notepad++ installation. Even virtualized, this app acts like the real deal.

Useful Utilities

RocketDock

You might have heard a bunch of positive things Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Docks - The 6 Best Friends of your Windows Taskbar Read More about RocketDock and now you can try it without worries! It’s been raved about in this article 5 Tools to Make Windows XP Look Like Vista 5 Tools to Make Windows XP Look Like Vista Read More on how to make WinXP look like WinVista. This one’s really just about eye candy but could also help save time, as well as navigate around folders and bookmarks in an easier way.

virtualization software

You can probably deduce that the screenshots will not contain anything new, as you’ve probably seen screenshots of the real programs elsewhere. Additional programs you can find that aren’t really geared for productivity include:

As you can see, there are many popular programs that you’ve probably always heard about supported by Spoon. If you want to try any of them, Spoon would make things much easier. You get the same features as you would with installed desktop programs but they won’t even reside on your hard drive.

What do you think of Spoon and what applications have you virtualized?

  1. Saikat Basu
    January 26, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Just the thing for a rainy day when you have the 'Cloud of apps' to help you out :) Nice review Jessica. I can think of using Spoon to try out the graphics packages instead of installing them on my desktop.

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