Cloudo: Your Entire Operating System in the Cloud

Stefan Neagu 08-03-2009

The shift towards cloud computing is certainly gaining momentum and Cloudo is the perfect example. Can you believe the image below is actually a screenshot of an operating system running on a server half a world away?


Hakan Bilgin, System Architect, managed to bring the idea of a cloud OS from the drawing board to fruition – and it even has Paint!


The Cloudo Company is a Swedish start-up, a 5 man team, with an interesting product: a virtual operating system – like running Linux inside VMware, but their servers do all the legwork for you.  It’s got another another advantage: all of your documents are accessible from any computer connected to the internet.

Don’t worry about the price, it is supported by advertising and for those interested in developing apps for it, there’s a ‘revenue share’ program. They are also really nice about getting you started – offering free support via chat or email.

The user interface is quite modern and beautiful – with a lot of features in common with KDE – transparent menus, big icons, a built-in search tool in the Menu and one click access to frequently used apps. You can run Cloudo in full screen by selecting View> Fullscreen in Firefox or just press F11.



Cloudo is unfortunately still in its testing phase; it just opened its gates on February 19th to developers, who are invited to create new apps for Cloudo in standards based XML. Ted Persson, in charge of strategy had the following quote in the press release:

“The computers we use today are based on a set of ideas and concepts that were developed in the late 70’s, they haven’t evolved to meet the demands of today’s mobile lifestyle and the possibilities the Internet offers.  Among 20 year-olds more than 95% of the time by the computer is spent online. Cloudo is the natural next step, taking the full desktop online”.

At the moment Cloudos’ functionality is rather limited – third party developers just started using the service at the end of February. New applications will probably take at least 6 months to reach the threshold for real day-to-day work. Today, Cloudo has built-in:


  • Application Manager – a simple tool that enables you to pick apps and install them. No need for configurations or Next buttons, it’s a one click install. Installing new apps takes a little over 20 seconds.
  • Textpad – a very limited text editor, similar to Notepad.
  • CHamp – an audio player that resembles early versions of Winamp, limited to playing non-DRM music. There is no syncing with portable media players or album art. The current skin has an awkward design.
  • Media Player – a barebones video player with almost no controls or settings.
  • Also included: Calendar, Dev-Tool (an enhanced notepad), a Weather Widget and a RSS Reader.

There are a few more applications available for installation: Iceman, Gomoku, Othello, Connect Four, MineSweeper, Snake, Sudoku, Slideshow and Google Maps.

So far the service is stable – I could log in perfectly every time – my apps and documents are still there and the interface is snappy. I haven’t found a  limit on how much you can store online, which is a big plus for the digital packrats.

Their servers are running LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), which are known to be very stable and less prone to crashes and security breaches. Your browser will interpret XML, XSLT and Javascript, known to be less performance intensive than Flash or straight on Java.

I personally think Cloudo will succeed in this market driven by cheaper lower-end hardware built with mobility in mind – you guessed it, netbooks. Couple this with some of the services we reviewed earlier and you’ve got no need for software or any data at all on your computer: Google Docs, Spotify Stream Music For Free With Spotify (+ Invites) Read More , Picnik… the list goes on.


What do you guys think? Are you ready to trust Cloudo with your documents and other personal data?  My privacy genie says its a risk – but is it worth taking – that remains to be seen.

For more examples of cloud computing, check out these articles by Jeffry Five Webtop Alternatives For Cloud Computing Read More and Karl.

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  1. Adan Chou
    July 16, 2016 at 6:22 am

    It's shame that the Cloudo website is stop working nowadays, I want to find an online operating system like this :(

  2. Lon Phillips
    February 27, 2015 at 2:18 am

    I use Chrome on a Windows 7 machine and I can't get Cloudo to work at all. The Launch App function in the store doesn't do anything and neither does the icon in Google App Launcher.

  3. Hobosic
    March 22, 2009 at 3:56 am

    Can i take a one small picture from your site?

    Have a nice day

  4. Guy McDowell
    March 10, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I can definitely see applications for this in the business world - especially my industry. I think you are correct that if you have a netbook with a basic set of drivers that hooks to something like Cloudo or Ghost on startup.

    Good find Stefan. Good writing too!

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      Thanks Guy!

  5. Thomas
    March 9, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Does anyone think of privacy concern? I like the concept and usability behind cloud computing but I can not get read of an idea this would be a perfect place for owners to see our files. Much the same like Google does with our email. I would probably never store something valuable up there. So can cloud be the future?


    • Stefan Neagu
      March 10, 2009 at 12:57 am

      You, me and John C. Dvorak; Yes we all think about privacy: that's why I have a password for the smartcard which contains the password to my master password database. All my passwords are usually 12-32 characters HEX or ASCII for bank and PayPal. Which also means that I don't actually know my Google account password - just the key to unlock it.

      The point is, that if you're careful, and you don't put your SSN up there, you'll probably be fine.

  6. Stefan Neagu
    March 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I'll try Ghost and report back.

  7. Eric Honaker
    March 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

    This looks interesting. As for the privacy concern, how easy is it to save your documents to a local USB key drive? I would not worry very much about online documents if I never have to leave them there.

    Google Docs could use that feature, actually.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 10, 2009 at 1:01 am

      You can't save files to your computer as far as I know.

  8. Aibek
    March 9, 2009 at 6:15 am

    another test!

  9. Aibek
    March 9, 2009 at 5:26 am


  10. Sameep
    March 9, 2009 at 2:53 am

    eyeOS is also a great offering . It's been around way longer.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 10, 2009 at 12:46 am

      A great find Sameep! Thanks, I'm going to review that in a later article.

  11. Francis Simisim
    March 8, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Nice cloud OS, but I wonder if people will really go for it with the recent news on Google private docs leaking to the public. It could be used for non-work materials but probably not for work stuff, what do you think?


    • Stefan Neagu
      March 9, 2009 at 12:54 am

      Privacy is a very important issue. I agree that many are not prepared to trust a third party with their sensitive documents.

  12. Rohan Jayasekera
    March 8, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    If the 20-year-olds are already spending more than 95% of their computer time online, just wait a little longer and it will be 100%, thanks to Google Docs, Picnik, etc. There is no further need for the "desktop" metaphor, especially when it doesn't work on the mobile devices where the future mostly lies.

    Yet Cloudo uses the desktop approach. It doesn't move away from the "set of ideas and concepts that were developed in the late 70’s"; it tries to preserve it.

    Incidentally, Cloudo-like products are already available elsewhere. But they're smart enough to reproduce a familiar environment like Windows or KDE rather than creating a new one.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 9, 2009 at 12:52 am

      A great comment, Rohan Jayasekera; I think Cloudo will be the Windows Explorer or Finder in this scheme; it will have your files and let you do simple tasks with them.

      • Rohan Jayasekera
        March 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

        I think user-managed files are slowly going away. Files are now automatically managed by the application, e.g. Google Docs and wikis manage their own documents, Flickr manages its photo files, etc. And nobody uses files on their mobiles. (To see a future laptop/netbook, imagine a smartphone of today but with a bigger screen and keyboard.)

        For those who do insist on managing their own files, a virtual computer like Cloudo is unnecessary. An online drive is sufficient. There are lots of online drives, e.g., and for years there have been rumours that Google will introduce a "Gdrive", the latest rumour being here). And files stored on can be accessed from an iPhone or BlackBerry, which I imagine is not true of Cloudo.

        • Stefan Neagu
          March 10, 2009 at 12:51 am

          Isn't the point to be able to do stuff like view videos, write, save files, etc without leaving the CloudOS? The whole workflow inside the Cloud OS. Not having to jump from a site to another; I can't view files in Google Docs, for example.

        • Rohan Jayasekera
          March 10, 2009 at 2:37 am

          There is no need for files at all if you just use web-based applications like Google Docs. But if you insist on managing your own set of files:

          How are you going to run anything other than a simple application? Cloudo cannot run Microsoft Office or OpenOffice; it can't run Photoshop or anything like it. Third-party developers won't port their apps to a platform that doesn't have a large number of users.

          A remote virtual desktop like Cloudo needs to give the user an established operating environment like Windows or Linux, so that apps like Microsoft Office can be used. (I have no particular interest in remote virtual desktops but I know that some products already exist, e.g. VMware View provides access to a Windows desktop that actually runs on a server.)

        • Stefan Neagu
          March 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm

          Won't that happen gradually, in time, as more applications are developed and more users sign up?

  13. Guy Cross
    March 9, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Just posted a similat (but not quite as good LOL) post on my blog, click the link above to have a look.


    • Stefan Neagu
      March 10, 2009 at 12:39 am

      You have a couple of good points in there. Keep it up!

  14. Curbob
    March 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    This type of CloudOS will be useful if I can boot my computer and it doesn't boot anyother OS but just connects wirelessly and I run the CloudOS without using another OS. (I know you need some type of OS to have wireless drivers and such to connect to "the cloud") but till we can do that, why would someone want an desktop OS within their OS they're already running?

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 9, 2009 at 12:49 am

      In the future I think you'll have a basic set of drivers for your computer - the apps and files will be all online.

  15. Aaron
    March 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Too bad you need an OS and a browser to use it. BTW, right-click the desktop and you'll see "New Solution" as an option. WTF does that mean??

    • matt
      March 9, 2009 at 8:03 am

      its a development tool, for makin scripts or small applications. pretty slick actually.

  16. Wez Pyke
    March 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Looks good I'll give it a try.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 9, 2009 at 12:47 am

      Don't forget to come back and tell us what you think about it.

  17. Gusto
    March 8, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    This is awesome. Imagine this with support for an IDE in the cloud

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 9, 2009 at 12:43 am

      There is a limited IDE integrated: Dev-Tool. Unfortunately it's nothing more than a Notepad with added syntax checking.