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In this article we’re going to take a look at another great cloud operating system, EyeOS. EyeOS differentiates itself from other solutions, such as Cloudo, by being licensed under AGPLv3. You can install EyeOS on your own server as easily as you would install WordPress. This eliminates many issues, as we’ll prove by the end of the article.
First of all, it’s very important to know a little about AGPL:
The GNU Affero General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works, specifically designed to ensure cooperation with the community in the case of network server software.[“¦] By contrast, our General Public Licenses are intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program–to make sure it remains free software for all its users. ““Free Software Foundation
The AGPL license gives you the freedom to download a copy of EyeOS, install it on your own server, modify the code to suit your needs or add new features – contribute back to the community – and use the software at no cost.
Developing applications is another advantage of EyeOS. You can use a standard WAMP/LAMP server, and code applications in PHP. There are many developers with knowledge of PHP, and PHP is a fairly potent programming language, which could mean that more applications will be available for the EyeOS platform in the long run.
The idea behind eyeOS is not to have an Operating System inside an Operating System, or a browser inside a browser. Instead, eyeOS is another step in the digital life era.
Let’s take a look at the feature set and interface:
EyeOS has a very interesting interface – combining metaphors from Linux, Mac and Windows GUIs: taskbar, applications in a dock but on the top, simple clean lines, transparency and a sort of elegance specific to Apple products. The interface was snappy – moving and switching apps, flawless. You can easily upload and download files.
You can view a complete list of available applications on the EyeOS Wiki.
The most important advantage that a platform like this offers to end-users is portability: take with you documents, applications – no need to think about compatibility between different programs and formats – no need to think about the actual computer you’re using. Your office computer, your home computer, your laptop, there would be no difference between them, no need to transfer files or maintain program versions throughout the environment.
The second most important aspect of EyeOS is the fact that you can own and manage your own server. This means you can set up a VPN connection between you and your server and enjoy complete privacy; prices for private virtual servers are low enough to be feasible even for home users. This solution finally eliminates the privacy stigma that cloud applications suffer from.
Imagine running something similar to MinWin or DamnSmallLinux – providing just the base to run Mozilla’s engine for emulating desktop apps, Prism, and inside EyeOS. That’s what the developers behind EyeOS hope will happen to personal computing: the comeback of thin clients.
The environment is clearly more advanced than Cloudo for example, with a fully featured word processor, presentation creator, calendar – everything you need to be productive. Of course there’s room for improvement, but what I saw impressed me; If only I could use Lightroom and Live Writer, I would buy a server immediately.
EyeOS was mentioned in Jeffry’s article, Five Webtop Alternatives For Cloud Computing. That too is well worth a read.
You can try EyeOS yourself at eyeos.org, then don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments.